It's been a great Australian tradition to take the family away camping or caravaning in the school holidays, and Australian caravan parks are embedded in the Australian psyche of thousands of Australians as a childhood memory of timeless, lazy days by the beach, the smell of open fires and camp cooking, sing-alongs and walks in the bush... Aussie caravan parks have a unique atmosphere that is laid-back and friendly with a certain humble, rustic innocence that makes them a firm favourite for families and back packers alike when it comes to low-cost holidays that are a real, refreshing break from the daily grind.
There is a great caravan park with a difference, hidden on the south side of the Richmond River at the beachside town of Ballina, on the Far North Coast of New South Wales, only a half an hour from Byron Bay - the Ballina Beach Village.
Position is everything when it comes to great holiday locations and Ballina Beach Village has it all, the wide graceful Richmond River, abundant in great fishing on one side, absolute deserted beach frontage on the other, and pristine national park behind - it makes for the perfect getaway on a budget, and is especially well set up for a wonderful family holiday.
Heading south on the Pacific Highway out of Ballina, the Big Prawn is an iconic local landmark and the turn to Ballina Beach Village is left at the next roundabout, for half a kilometre to the Burns Point Ferry.
Let's hope they never build a bridge here - taking the old style car ferry makes you feel like you are leaving the world behind, and you immediately feel time shift down a gear, as you watch the pelicans gliding on the Richmond River against a backdrop of mangroves and fishing boats. Take the next left when you drive off the punt (don't forget to pay the ferryman -it's $4.80 for a car) and head along a good bitumen road past some isolated holiday houses and cane fields and out towards the beach.
Ballina Beach Village is the last on the right and is well sign posted, but you'll see the colourful flags along the road as you approach.
Owners Rikki and Bernhard Grinberg are there to meet and greet and they are a delightful, interesting and cultured couple with a grand vision for making Ballina Beach Village the best little caravan park in the Known Universe.