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Ballina originally gained its reputation as a fishing and timber port on the wide Richmond River. Then, road transport took over, and with it came one of the craziest moves in town planning history: Ballina’s main street was set way back from the river, with buildings on both sides of the street blocking all river views. However, this has now changed with the development of the river foreshore area.
Only three decades ago, Byron Bay was a small sleepy enclave unaware of the hustle and bustle it would later experience. Nowadays, it has a small town charm mixed with a cosmopolitan – yet alternative – lifestyle that attracts many people from all over the world. Among its attractions, there are kilometres of unbroken sandy beaches and heaps of great surf waves to catch, but also pristine nature and wildlife in the sorroundings. Due to its location as Australia’s most eastern point, the majestic humpback whales pass by twice a year on their travels. There's always a local market taking place somewhere and all through the year several festivals take place.
Despite the coastal town’s reputation of being laid back and alternative, it is anything but boring and visitors have the time of their lives in Ballina and Byron Bay.