Donkeys on My Mind

New Arrival We had a wonderful present last Sunday. Freda our pregnant donkey gave birth to her second son, Freddy. He was born about 5am and soon was tottering around on his too long, gangly legs and suckling at his mother. It was a lovely treat for everyone staying at the cottages over the weekend. Freda was very proud of her new offspring and let us all have a good look at him. Three days old now he is frolicking around the field giving his calm placid mother a hard time as he jumps over her and pushes under her. His extra [...]

Time to get into the water-the best natural spots

As the weather heats up its time to get into the water. Here on the North Coast we have some amazing beaches from Wategos at Byron to Seven Mile Beach at Lennox to Shelley Beach and Lighthouse Beach at Ballina. Visit to read about the surf, swimming or dog friendly beaches. However not everyone wants to swim in the ocean or sit on a hot open beach. At Alstonville Country Cottages we are perfectly situated to reach a variety of watering spots. If you want somewhere easy, calm and relaxing with the possibility of a bit of shade these are our [...]

Birds of Ballina and the Big Scrub

With Spring in the air and Summer around the corner, the birds are out and about and we have seen some unique sightings both in Ballina and in the rainforests of the Big Scrub remnants in Alstonville. Ballina Birds In Ballina there are several great areas to birdwatch. There are the waterways in West Ballina where visiting birds are often spotted. Also there is the large T- tree  Lake Ainsworth at Lennox. Along the banks and mangroves of Richmond River and North Creek are good spots to view cormorants, sea eagles, ospreys and kingfishers. On South Ballina  there are reserved areas [...]

The Magical World of Fireflies

Have you ever seen a Firefly? Now is the time to see Fireflies as they emerge from the dark, damp depths of the rainforest looking for a mate.  Have you ever seen the twinkling, mesmerising little glow that flickers around the rainforests of Northern NSW in September/ October?  You may remember them from your childhood when you tried to capture one in a glass jar to study more closely. The blinking, surprisingly bright light is the mating dance of this increasingly rare insect, the Firefly. What are they? The firefly is in fact not a fly at all but a beetle from [...]

March into Action

Where to in 2020? Autumn is a beautiful time of year. The weather cools and the rain is falling. We feel energised to go out and explore. Australia has had a torrid few months but is starting to recover.  The silly season is over, the roads are quieter and the prices affordable. Where will you go in 2020? Travel domestically  Overseas travel is unattractive and potentially dangerous so 2020 is the year to travel domestically. Explore  places that you have never been to before. It doesn't have to be the road trip of a lifetime ór be expensive. Just take a weekend [...]

Little Known Facts about Ballina

Did you know that Ballina is on an Island? Ballina is situated in the Northern Rivers, just one hour from the Gold Coast or two hours from Brisbane. As Byron Bay becomes too busy for some people, the delights of Ballina are being discovered. It has great surfing, cycling, fishing as well as safe river  or swimming at Shaws Bay. When you arrive at Ballina it's easy not to notice but, the town is in fact surrounded by water, separated from the mainland by North Creek and the Richmond River. So it is an island! When you approach the  centre of Ballina [...]