Ballina is a growing regional centre popular for young families and retirees. This is one area where northern rivers real estate is less expensive than Byron Bay real estate. In 2012 we saw the start of the new highway between Ewingsdale and Tintenbar. This will be a boon to the region as well as long distance travellers on the Pacific Highway. Ballina is a full service town with a regional airport and a large CBD with numerous malls, shopping centres and a golf course.
Ballina still has great beaches and surf spots. I like Angels Beach and Lighthouse Beach which are to the east of the CBD. There are cafes and a wide choice of holiday accomodation.