We had just spent close to a week in Byron Bay and were looking forward to our next adventure. The road between Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour was supposed to be glorious, with a few stops along the coast to enjoy the turquoise blue ocean combined with some inland exploration. However, due to the chilling rain, we had to skip a few destinations and made a beeline to our final destination. By the time we got to Coffs Harbour, the rain had eased and we were able to enjoy the coastal town with a little sunshine.
Ballina & Lennox Head
Ballina is a coastal town of the Northern Rivers region that sits on the mouth of the Richmond River. Our two major stops in Ballina were to see the Big Prawn and to visit some friends that we made in Cairns – Tom, Janne and Oona.
A few kilometres north is Lennox Head, a surfing mecca and popular holiday destination. This seaside village features Lake Ainsworth, a dunal freshwater lake stained with the tannins of tea trees, as well as the Pat Morton Lookout.
New Italy is a small farming community that was established by Italian immigrants in 1882. The Museum Complex is a great place to stop and stretch your legs. There’s a café, a gift shop and a museum that displays the history of the Italians that came to Australia and settled in the area. The gardens around the Pavilion feature some great statues as well. They do rely heavily on donations to maintain the museum and gardens, so make sure you give them a few dollars.
Known as the Scottish Town of Australia, Maclean is relatively small but is still worth visiting as there’s plenty to see. Atop the hill to the east of town is the Pinnacle and Maclean Lookout. Due to the inclement weather, the lookout wasn’t spectacular but we still stopped for lunch.
Throughout the town, there are over two hundred power poles painted with Scottish clan tartans, and there are tonnes of churches, which means there are plenty of great op shops. Juz was stoked to find a tartan shirt at one of them – a perfect memento of our visit.
We ducked in to Grafton for a very brief visit. The bridge over the Clarence River seemed to be the place to see and be seen as cars streamed over the connection between Grafton city centre and the southern suburbs. In town, there were plenty of beautiful historic buildings to see and we drove down Figtree Avenue on our way out.