Thoughts on Location No 3
Ballina, Northern Rivers, New South Wales
We spent four nights at the Shaws Bay Caravan Park in Ballina and although the setting was nice, I was less than impressed with the caravan park.
The park is nestled where the Richmond River drains into Shaws Bay and hence the name of the caravan park, but everyone is entitled to their opinion and it is my opinion that this was the only thing the park had going for it. The park is old and in desperate need of a make over, but this can be overlooked when it is clean.
What I can’t overlook and really disappoints me is our allocated site being incapable of housing our van and our car with the van awning opened. The heat was unbearable and our awning the only thing we had to provide shade and relief from the heat. This wasn’t merely necessary, it was an absolute must, so we opened the awning.
When I inquired at the office about where I could park the car, I was told it had to be parked on our site, or in the (public) car park outside. When I mentioned there were no parking spaces available I was told “The pub next door don’t mind if you park your car over there.” Not impressed and not good enough.
Yes I know, all caravan parks have the same rule “your car must be parked on your site“, but the sad fact here is that I rang and booked in advance and was asked what size our van was. I gave the correct measurements, I was not dishonest and was told there were plenty of sites available and that sites were 8 x 8 – metres that is. Our site was barely 8 x 5½ and it wasn’t cheaper because it was smaller.
Sitting there this morning writing this, I was looking at several empty sites that were wide open spaces more than capable of accommodating us and making our stay pleasant. It leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth but enough said. We left Ballina behind this morning and moved onto a new location. (See footnote.)
The moral of the story: Stop booking in advance!
Next destination, simply arrive, do the walk around and assess if the location is “right for us” and worthy of staying a day or two.
Our Stay in Brief
The home of the Big Prawn and the Prawn Festival.
The celebration of all things Ballina was on all day Saturday but we chose not to go. Even though Missingham Park was only across the bridge from where we were, it was so hot that walking across the bridge was something I simply could not do. The heat didn’t even dissipate after the sun went down, but we did have a good seat to enjoy the fireworks.
Dean was able to have a surf most days and like Hastings Point, had a couple of experiences surfing with dolphins. He now thinks he’s a “dolphin magnet”. 🙂
We had a couple of bike rides around Balina – one in particular was rather pleasant along the river front and both sides of North Creek as far as the bike paths would take us anyway. We set out late in the afternoon after the heat had lost most of its sting and before it was cool enough to contemplate cooking something for dinner.
The weather was so hot – not as hot as Brisbane I’ll admit – but hot all the same and I found it almost unbearable. Then I remembered my trusty cooling scarfs I purchased to keep me cool when out bushwalking. These were a fantastic investment and I couldn’t get one full of cold water quick enough. They are living in the fridge ready for the next time the heat gets the better of me.
After all the heat, it finally cooled down last night with a little cloud cover creeping in from the west and I manage to get this amazing shot of the sunset.
Footnote: We were very fortunate that two other campers allowed us to park our car on the boarder of their sites and we didn’t have to park in a public area.