Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Stevie goes exploring: Ballina

A rare snapshot taken between showers of pissing rain.
Ballina! a half hour away from Byron Bay (where I'm currently residing, as you might have gathered) but a world apart at the same time.

Now, you may be asking yourself: why did he venture here? What could possibly lure him away from the hippies and the beaches and the bits of national park that he hasn't explored yet?

Well, the answer's simple: I had to hand in some paperwork. And I wanted to go and see Wonder Woman.

I should probably state that I didn't get to see all of Ballina. I was only there for the day, and the weather was . . . changeable, to put it one way. Shite, to put it another. So I didn't get to check out the maritime museum, and I didn't get to see the Big Prawn either. Ah well. I'm sure I'll go back at some point.

So! As I said, I popped into town to hand in some paperwork, which I did first thing in the morning. Paperwork all wrapped up, I decided to explore, and see what Ballina had to offer. I had already, in a sense, been pre-warned about the town; whenever I would mention that I was planning on visiting, I was rewarded with a wry smile and the phrase "Ballina? It's a shithole, mate." Nonetheless, I persevered, determined to draw my own conclusions.

And my conclusions? It's not a total shithole. It's just . . . kind of a non-place?

Most of the town is laid out in an easy-to-navigate grid structure, and well pavemented; when I first checked Google maps before visiting, I assumed the buildings would be a couple of storeys tall, like a small city. I assumed incorrectly.

Ballina (from what I saw at least) is mostly suburbs, serviced by a couple of retails parks. The retails parks seem to be the big pull to the place, but mostly consist of lots of general stores all selling the same stuff. If you want to buy, say, a book, you'll be able to do so - but if there's a specific book you're looking for you might run into some trouble. There's lots of shops that sell many things, but few that sell one, and I think it detracts from the town a fair bit. In terms of cuisine you're a bit limited too - mostly chain restaurants, McDonalds and the ilk. Still, I did spot a couple of Vietnamese and Japanese places as I was wandering around.

One thing I did rather like about the town was its cinema - a tiny little thing, only three screens, but such a lovely vibe! Staff were friendly, screes were clean and clear, seats were ridiculously comfortable, and the whole thing was bloody cheap. Getting myself a ticket, popcorn, and drink - all as large as they could offer (plus-size tickets for the hard of sight)* set me back twenty-five dollars. At the current exchange rate, that's just under fifteen quid, - you'd be looking at paying at least twenty for less than that at a cinema back home!

So yeah - Ballina! Come for the movies, leave as quickly as you can afterwards, leaving loved ones behind if they slow your escape.
I'll be back . . . Spider-Man: Homecoming releases soon, after all . . .

*Alright, alright, I'm talking out my arse. But I've done far more for far worse jokes than this.


  1. How did I manage to read ballerina every time? Looks a lovely little cinema, even if it's surrounded by not alot else. Good post xx

    1. It was! I'd like to go back just to watch another movie there, it was so cosy but the picture quality was really good and it's way cheaper than home! :D