Thirty-six kilometres upstream from Ballina, sugar is king in the Richmond River town of Broadwater.
The wide stretches of river offer good fishing and surfcasters also jockey for positions with board riders on the nearby beach.
The town and its dominating crushing mill sit on the northern fringes of the Broadwater National Park whose littoral scrubland is networked with a number of bush trails.
The popular resort town of Evans Head is just a 110 kilometre drive south on the other side of the national park. Evans Head not only supports a large professional prawn fleet, but serious fishing charters also operate out of the port.
The half hour drive to Ballina is well worth the effort. You can catch up on the region's past in Pioneer Memorial Park, where many of the early settlers and sea captains who worked the local waters are buried, and in the Naval and Maritime Museum which adjoins a swimming complex complete with water slides.
The Rotary Lookout alongside the Ballina Lighthouse offers spectacular views of the coast and is a popular whale-watching post during October when the humpbacks swim south on their annual migration to the krill-rich waters of the Antarctic.