If you're in Ballina and are wanting to see the towns nearby, then tourist drives are perfect. Tourist Drive 30 starts in Ballina, travels north along the coast to East Ballina ending in Lennox Head; and Tourist Drive 28 starts in the town of Alstonville, 15 kilometres inland from Ballina, and makes its way south to Wardell, where it ends. Plan your day around it, otherwise you may feel exhausted from all the driving.
My husband and I did both tourist drives in Ballina on our weekend getaway, both of which were listed in Ballina Coast and Hinterland Visitor Guide, downloadable here or you can get a hard copy from Ballina Visitor Information Centre. I did like both drives, but No.28 was my favourite.
The first attraction on the drive was Lumely Park in Alstonville, which was a beautiful park with lots of shade and BBQ facilities. We didn't feel like stopping here for very long so off we went, but instead of going to the second stop just 700 metres away, Alstonville Town Centre, we decided to follow the brown tourist drive sign which took us through the leafy streets of Alstonville. There were farms, rolling hills, and everything was just amazingly green. We rolled down our windows and with wind in our faces, we sang (or tried to) to whatever song was on the radio, enjoying the smell of wonderful country air.
We eventually made it back to the town centre and got out to have a walk around. It was a quiet Sunday, but there were a few people out and about having their morning coffees, buying their papers and catching up with friends over breakfast. As it was still quite early, we didn't spend much time there either, though in retrospect I would've done the heritage walk had I been more organised.
Our next stop was Amaze N Place, featuring a unique hedge maze not too far from the town centre. This would be the perfect place to take the little ones as you can let them have a go at the maze while you enjoy a nice gourmet coffee and homemade cake on the deck overlooking the maze. I must admit after my husband and I got to the middle, where there was a hut, we just wanted to get out of there. So we cheated and went out via one of the doors. Then we got to feed the fluffy alpacas Alvarado, Fernandes and Ziggy, which I thought was pretty cool.
Stop number 4 was Summerland House Farm, a magnificent working macadamia and avocado farm. With plenty of attractions like mini golf, tractor tours, museum, macadamia farm and water park, it would be hard to not spend a couple of hours there. We relaxed by the cafe and recharged ourselves with scrumptious chocolate milkshakes, bought some macadamia oil and then departed for our next destination, Victoria Park Nature Reserve.
We strolled the accessible boardwalk taking us into a peaceful tropical heaven. It was a short walk, but we took our time to soak up the cool quiet of our surroundings, which was perfect after experiencing the hustle and bustle of Summerland House Farm. After our quiet time here, we headed off to Wardell Town Village.
The Village centre itself was deserted. I remember driving past a run-down pub, a post office and a pretty church. We also came across three ducks waddling themselves off the road. And this marked the end of our tourist drive.
I managed to just snap a photo of the side of the church.