When it comes to the northern New South Wales coast, competition is fierce. But if you’re looking for something that’s a little more off the tourist beaten track, Ballina is your ideal pit stop.
From its serious surf breaks for all those adrenaline junkies, to its impressive offering of day spas and yoga retreats for the calmer-inclined, Ballina is the ideal playground for any traveller! And the best bit? You can enjoy all the northern New South Wales coast has to offer without the crowds of the more popular kid on the coast, Byron Bay.
So whether you’re looking for some R&R time with your special someone, or you’re hoping to take the kids away on a cool coastal adventure, we’ve scouted some of the best haunts in which to unwind and put your feet up.
Ramada Hotel and Suites
As part of the international hotel chain, Ramada, we knew Ballina’s Ramada Hotel and Suites was going to be good! Perched on the shores of the Richmond River, this uber-modern hotel is the ideal destination for families looking to take the kids on a seaside adventure. And the best bit? You won’t have to shirk on any of the adult luxuries.
The two-bedroom suites are stylishly appointed with contemporary furnishings, crisp linens, and a subdued colour palette of black, white, and grey. Appreciate some bubbly on the waterfront balcony while the kids entertain themselves in front of the LCD TV, which comes with Austar and the latest movies on demand.
If you’re hoping to lap it up, head to the outdoor heated swimming pool and burn off some calories while the young ones frolic in the adjoining shaded children’s pool. As tempting as it might be to head into the town centre for some grub, Ramada offers three in-house restaurants serving the likes of Indian, Italian, and modern Australian fare – accommodation has never been so easy!
Ballina Travellers Lodge
If you’re looking for the perfect balance between modest and tasteful accommodation, Ballina Travellers Lodge should absolutely be pencilled into your itinerary. Whether you’re doing it solo or coming in numbers instead, the lodge offers single, double, twin, and family rooms, making this an easy choice for accommodation.
Rooms offer all the essentials, and are perfectly embellished with quality linens, bold cushions, and papered feature walls which add a welcomed touch of pizzazz! Thanks to the fully-equipped kitchens, you can pick up some local produce from Ballina’s renowned country market, and return home to unveil your inner master chef for the night.
If you’re travelling with the tots in tow, you’ll be pleased to know that they’ll be entertained for hours in the on-site swimming pool. If that’s still not enough, you can up the adrenaline ante at the Ballina Swimming Pool and Waterslide which is just a short drive away. Before the activity gets started though be sure to fill your tummies with the complimentary continental breakfast.
For all those lovebirds out there, you can’t get much better than Grandview Ballina. As the name would suggest, this contemporary apartment complex offers panoramic ocean views of the acclaimed northern New South Wales coastline. With some bubbly, a picture-perfect sunset, and the gaze of your beau or belle, this is THE kind of place to add a sprinkling of romance to your Ballina stay.
Perched on a ridge above Shelly Beach, Grandview can be likened to a lighthouse – except with all the necessary mod cons for the savvy traveller. Apartments feature queen-sized beds, a fully-equipped kitchen with European appliances, and a dreamy spa bath to heat up in – in every sense! As night falls, nestle up with your respective other and appreciate some AUSTAR on your swanky flat-screen TV.
During the day venture a short 200 metres to Shelly Beach to lap up some waves. If you’d rather keep things simple though, make use of the complex’s swimming pool and heated spa, and float the afternoon away. Quite simply a necessary dose of luxury at your fingertips!
Northern New South Wales fits into the category of the tropics, and what better way to experience this than with a stay at Ballina Palms? True to the hotel’s name, this place is surrounded by a lush tropical garden of draping palms and ferns. For all those looking to find their inner Zen for the weekend, this is your go-to destination.
The boutique motel is small is size, but more than grand in delivery, offering a tasteful mix of studio accommodation with single and queen bedding available. Exposed brick walls and wooden flooring give way to an elegant blend of furnishings and décor. Think white-washed wooden bedside tables alongside grey and lime fluffy cushions and throws. The super luxe bathrooms with walk-in showers and freestanding basins are certain to leave you feeling about as glam as Mrs. Marylin Monroe!
As tempting as a beach stroll may be, you can truly unwind in the motel’s outdoor saltwater pool. Once all the water frolicking is done, dry out in the adjoining Balinese hut – we’d forgive you for thinking you were in Ubud for a minute!
Comfort Inn All Seasons
It’s that time of the year again, the family adventure. The car is packed, the kids have stowed their favourite books, and Ballina is the next stop. So where to stay? Comfort Inn All Seasons of course! Offering a total of 40 rooms, you and the kids will appreciate a cool décor of marine blues and coastal-themed artwork.
If you’re planning the perfect family adventure, you can’t go past the family spa suite. Equipped with a queen bed as well as pull-out sofa beds, the suite can comfortably sleep up to six. Oh and there’s a dreamy spa bath to unwind in too!
If the Ballina waves are a little much, Comfort Inn boasts a resort style swimming pool that simply beckons the little ones. Fortunately for you though, there’s a cocktail lounge so you can sip on a martini or gin and tonic, while the kids run amuck in the pool. To satisfy hungry tummies, Fleurs restaurant, which locals affectionately refer to as the ‘hidden gem’, serves a robust breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. Better yet, room service is also available if you’re feeling a tad lazy. Has the family holiday ever been so easy?
Ballina Beach Village
If the idea of hopping on a plane to Bali with the kids in tow is all a little much, the next best thing is surely Ballina Beach Village. Set on eight hectares of wilderness, this Bali-inspired eco-resort is certain to give you a taste of Indonesian culture in your very own backyard.
Both budget and superior cabins are available, as well as powered and unpowered camping and caravan sites if you’d rather bring a piece of home with you. If comfort is key, book yourselves into one of the superior bungalows which feature ensuite bathrooms, fully-equipped kitchens, and inviting outdoor decks dressed in Bali-inspired furnishings.
If you’re craving a little R&R time with your respective other, you’ll be pleased to know Ballina Beach Village offers a plethora of activities for the little ones. Think a kids’ playground and club, bike hire, and even a trapeze for all those die-hard acrobats. Once they’ve worked up an appetite, head to onsite Mermaids Café which serves a hearty menu of seafood packs and gourmet burgers. Kids meals are also available, including cheeseburgers that’ll sure give Maccas a run for its money!
As far as locals are concerned, Ballina Manor is an institution! Regarded as the old dame of Norton Street, this stately manor was built in 1925 and originally served as a Methodist Ladies College. Since then, the dame has gone through many ordeals, even narrowly escaping an approved demolition in 1999. Today she has evolved handsomely into one of the town’s most coveted hotels, Ballina Manor.
Offering 12 guest rooms, you can be guaranteed a personalised and equally elegant experience from start to finish. Original features and Edwardian period furniture adorn the rooms, creating a truly regal ambiance. Think brass beds, Persian rugs, and lavish drapes – could you get any more Queen E?
Breakfast is served in the hotel’s restaurant, and offers either continental or cooked options. If you’re hoping to kick start your morning the right way, you can’t go past ‘The Manor Morning’, which comes with two poached eggs topped on English muffins with ham, tomato, and melted brie – hello gourmet!