I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales (NSW), specifically the area bounded by the Queensland (QLD) border to the north, Ballina to the south and Lismore, Kyogle and the Mount Barney National Park to the west.
The area is around 2 hours easy ride south of Brisbane, about 200 km (120 miles) if you take the most direct route. Or if you prefer the twisties, you can go through Mt Tamborine, Beechmont, Murwillumbah and through to Ballina; It’s about 4 hours, and 250 km (155 miles).
The area within the red triangle in the map above is one of the richest areas in the region and is known locally as the golden triangle. It’s not so much the real estate value that gives it this name, rather the rich volcanic soil that can be found in the area; although I guess the two go hand in hand if you’re a farmer.
If you based yourself in the centre of the golden triangle, as The Pillion and I did, you have easy access to some beautiful national parks to the west, and some of Australia best beaches that lie between Byron Bay and Ballina to the east.
A while back The Pillion and I spent an afternoon exploring the beaches located between Lennox Head and Ballina (Google Map). About 20 to 30 minutes away from where we were staying.
During the course of the day we’d stumbled upon a take-away and decided to have fish and chips for lunch on a beach. Skennars Head was nearby so that’s where we went.
It didn’t take us long to lose ourselves in the natural beauty of the area and the peacefulness that surrounded us. The only sounds we could hear were the breaking waves and sea birds.
Skennars Head, and Lennox Head for that matter, were settled in the 1800’s and remained a timber-getting, farming and mining area right up until the 1950’s. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the area started to become more developed and urbanised, but even though there was rapid population growth between 1991 and 2006 the area didn’t break a population of 8000.
Today, growth has slowed somewhat and the area has retained its semi-rural feel. Now-a-days Skennars Head has a strong focus on tourism and is one of the Northern Rivers top family friendly holiday destinations; with surfing, fishing and generally unwinding being the main attractions.
If you continue to follow The Coast Road south to Ballina, there’s a turn off to Richmond Park which has a viewing platform offering 360° views of the surrounding area.
Shaws Bay lies at the mouth of the Richmond River and to the south of the Richmond Park viewing platform. The Ballina area has suburban feel to it. In fact there’s a pub right on Shaws Bay.
We were reliably told that the pub has a live band playing every Sunday, so we came back and paid a visit the following day. It’s a great way to kick back, enjoying some local talent and a great meal before you head off to your next destination.
There is so much to see and do in the area.
In fact, The Pillion and I are going to head down that way again over the next few months for a day… or a weekend… maybe both… several times.
We’ll play it by ear.