Local's guide: Top spots between Ballina and Tweed Heads

Tweed Valley Murwillumbah
Tweed Valley Murwillumbah

If you're just driving through, or staying for a few days there are huge opportunities for nature lovers and those who are keen on the arts to have a memorable time between Ballina and Tweed Heads.

  • Lismore Lantern Parade
  • Ballina Coastal Country Music
  • Byron Bay Lighthouse
  • Koala Tours


1. Ballina. Watch the dolphins while you enjoy your breakfast at Ramada’s Point Restaurant and Bar. The waitress told us they come almost every day on cue.

2. Lismore. The cheeseburgers at the historic Mecca Café are heavenly. Then stroll around the corner for a fabulous live show at the historic Star Court Theatre.

3. Tweed Heads. Climb aboard the Catch A Crab river adventure and return for a feast of mud crab (don’t forget your bib!).

4. Tyalgum. Catch the Garden of Light Tour where you visit local gardens after morning tea and cake at Flutterbies.

5. Alstonville. Grab a Macado Salad at Summerland House Farm where staff with disabilities feel empowered and joyful.

Freebies and bargains

1. Byron Bay Lighthouse. The views are amazing but, like most things in Byron Bay, it costs to drive in. The trick is to park for free nearby and walk up the hill (groan).

2. Koala Tours. Friends of the Koala is a voluntary organisation in Lismore with tours Monday to Saturday ($5 per adult).

3. Buck’s Farm. Wander around Buck’s Farm at Chillingham. He’s an absolute legend and a real bushie.

4. The Big Prawn. Eat local king prawns from Ballina Fishermen’s Co-op under the Big Prawn. It’s a must!

5. Botanic Gardens. Lismore Rainforest Botanic Gardens has over four hectares planted with dry subtropical and riverine rainforest species.


1. Tweed Valley Banana. It features a street parade, food stalls and kids’ rides in Murwillumbah on August 27.

2. Lismore Lantern Parade. Lismore locals rave about their annual Lantern Parade showcasing art, street theatre, puppets and carnival dancers.

3. Ballina Coastal Country Music. Put on your Akubra, dust off your cowboy boots and head to the Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival.

4. Byron Bay Writers. On August 5-7, attend everything from dinners and lunches to interviews and discussions.

5. Tyalgum MusicSee six ticketed concerts and a wide range of top performances on September 9-11.

Lead image photo credit: Destination NSW

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