For those who prefer the calmer waters
For those that prefer sheltered and tranquil waters, calm bays or lakes, then the Ballina Coast & Hinterland have you covered. We are well known for our waterways and there are plenty of places to take a dip without the waves.
Shaws Bay | East Ballina
Shaws Bay is a large tidal bay with plenty of sandy beaches, perfect for swimming laps, kayaking, snorkelling and stand up paddleboards.
Main access points include:
Compton Drive - easy parking, popular access point for lap swimmers, shower, accessible ramp
Pop Denison Park - amazing playground, BBQ facilities, accessible toilets, shower
Fenwick Drive - this spot in the bay is the best for snorkellingperfect for families with little ones and for snorkelling on high tide. Showers available.
Lake Ainsworth | Lennox Head
If you are looking for something slightly slower paced, a refreshing dip in Lake Ainsworth is the perfect way to wind down. Surrounded by tea-trees, the tannin-soaked waters are said to have healing properties that will leave your hair and skin feeling refreshed. Situated directly across from Seven Mile Beach, Lake Ainsworth is the perfect spot for a relaxing swim, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking. The surrounding facilities make it ideal for a picnic with BBQ's and tables or plenty of trees for a picnic rug and chairs.
The Serpentine | East Ballina
The west side of Missingham Bridge you will find The Serpentine, a sandy beach fronting on to North Creek and a popular spot for families with young children. Mostly calm waters but small waves do come through on bigger swell making it ideal for little grommets learning to surf. There are shower facilities and a few shady spots but no toilets.
The Serpentine is a great place for a sunset picnic watching the sun shine through the Norfolk Pines on the opposite side of the creek. Photo credit @islandbysea
The Spit | Ballina
The Spit is a very popular spot and the perfect option for the WHOLE family - the fur babies are allowed to come!
The Spit is an off leash dog friendly beach on the Richmond River and is mostly flat and calm with large shallow sections. Plenty of spots along the beach for a dip. There are showers/taps on both ends and lots of parking. Morning walks watching the sun rise is stunning, you may catch the trawlers coming back in. Make sure to keep an eye for dolphins that can often be seen swimming in the river.
Gawandii Beach | East Ballina
On the east side of Missingham Bridge you will find Gawandii Beach. This spot is extremely popular in summer as it provides lots of shady places on the grass hill to set up for the day. Calm waters from the Richmond River and depending on the banks and swell, you may be lucky to get a few smaller waves for the learn to surfers. There are toilet and shower facilities, picnic tables and it is walking distance to shop for ice cream, fish & chips, pizza and coffee if you don't want to pack lunhc or dinner. A great spot for late afternoon summer swims and dinner.