Ballina, NSW, has several beaches, with the most popular in the north of the town, only a 5-minute walk from ‘Ocean Blue’ at Grandview Apartments. Ballina Shire has 32km of shoreline—it’s got sandy open stretches, giant surf breaks, and quiet coves
When you stay in East Ballina, it’s essential you visit the beautiful Lighthouse Beach. Lighthouse Beach is on the southern side of Ballina Head, and though it’s regularly patrolled, there are two permanent rip tides near shore. When swimming at this beach stay between the flags on the inner bar to avoid the rips. Also use care when swimming near the sea wall—strong tidal and river flows cross here. Surfers will find good breaks on the outer bar and inside the north wall.
Shelly Beach is near Lighthouse and patrolled by the same surf life saving club. If you’re not much of a swimmer but like to cool off in the water, there’s a small swimming pool on the sand covered shore platform on the south side of Shelly Beach. There are variable surf beach breaks at Shelly, left off the northern rocks and right off the southern—plenty for wave riders to work with. Shelly beach faces southeast, absorbing the dominant southerly waves and its sand is fine to medium, so it’s a really lovely place to watch the ocean.
Both Lighthouse and Shelly beaches have permanent gutters for fishing, and Shelly has flat rock platforms on both ends overlooking rocky shallow holes. At Lighthouse beach you can fish the beach and the river from the North Wall.
Ballina Shire has several other patrolled beaches (from September to April and NSW School Holidays): Sharpes Beach; Seven Mile Beach; and South Ballina Beach. These are all either a reasonable walk or a short drive from Grandview Apartments. The unpatrolled beaches in the shire include Angels Beach, Flat Rock Beach, Boulder Beach, and South Ballina Beach. Dogs are allowed (on or off leash, depending on the beach) at several of the patrolled beaches. A new, free info app (BeachSafe app) will keep you posted on Ballina Shire—a map of the coastline displays icons of beach openings, and provides detailed information from closures, patrol status, facilities and hazards to weather, swell and tide.
Sharps Beach runs from Whites Head south for 1.3 km to Angels Flat Rock (also called Sand Point). The Coast Road runs behind the beach with car parks at the northern and southern end—or you can ride a bike from Grand View Apartments. This is another fine to medium sand beach, with boulders behind the northern section and a thickly vegetated foredune backing most of the beach—it’s a very pretty place. The rips and rocks make it popular with fishers and surfers, but not so much for swimmers. Lifeguards patrol the northern end of the beach on summer holidays.
Angels Beach is split into north and south on maps, but the whole beach runs south from Angels Flat Rock. The northern section (NSW 25) covers 900 m southwest to the low Pontoon Rocks, while the southern section (NSW 26) extends for 700 m to the side of Black Head. These beaches face mostly to the south, with waves averaging 1.5 m. They have a deep longshore trough and outer bar. This is a popular point for surfers and fishers, but a little trickier for swimmers—and it’s unpatrolled.
South Ballina Beach is a raw, ancient coast. It starts at the southern Richmond River entrance wall and curves gently south for 30 km. You can get to this beach from the South Ballina training wall and nearby caravan park or from several lanes or roads that run east from the River Drive and Pacific Highway to the back of the dunes. Or enter from Broadwater National Park—a short walk takes you to a fine view point set on a 30 m high dune. The south end of this beach goes to the town of Evans Head (which has a surf club and all facilities). It’s thought this beach is what’s left of an older Pleistocene beach-barrier system some 120 000 years old, from when the sea level was a little higher. What’s left is gradually wearing away, exposing leached white dune sands and dune soils (‘coffeerock’). But be warned: this beach is safer for exploring in good trainers than swimming along—it’s remote, gets strong southerly waves, and has rips every 200-300 m.
For more information on any of all of these beaches, and on which beaches allow horses or vehicles (with a 4WD permit), visit the Beachsafe website.
Want to experience a luxury beach holiday?
Ocean Blue holiday rental is only a 5-minute walk from East Ballina beaches and has gorgeous river and coastal views. Located just a short drive from Ballina Airport and 30 minutes from Byron Bay, this is the perfect location for your next beach holiday. Visit our contact page to make an inquiry or booking.