Ballina is, without a doubt, one of the best spots along the east coast of Australia.
And no, I’m not just biased because I grew up on the Northern Rivers.
Well, maybe a little, but hear me out.
My opinion of this gorgeous, coastside town must have some weight to it, as every year people come from all over to holiday here, while seniors in their thousands have set up permanent camp here in their retirement.
It’s a pretty nice place, let’s just say that.
First and foremost, the beaches of Ballina are some of the nicest in Australia, that’s already been stated for many years, by people with much more knowledge and standing than I.
You may have heard of Byron Bay, because of it’s mass tourist-attracting qualities and ‘picturesque beaches’.
Yes, the beaches of Byron are beautiful, but it’s more often than not the beaches between Byron Bay and Ballina that are named as ‘the best in Australia’ or ‘the best in NSW.
It’s only really because of Byron Bay’s celebrity status that you only hear that town mentioned.
Ballina’s beaches are just as – if not more – gorgeous than Byron Bay’s.
My go-to beach for chilling out or swimming is Shelly beach, pictured above, however just around the bend (on top of which the Ballina lookout lies) is Lighthouse Beach, which is one of my favourites for a *insert dating profile voice here* nice long walk along the beach.
From the lookout you can spot whales during the right season (I have before, to my great excitement), and you can look left and see Shelly Beach, look right and see Lighthouse Beach – perfect for surfers looking for the best spot to catch a wave.
If you’re feeling rather active, or want to up your chances of spotting whales or dolphins, a walk along North Wall, at the end of Lighthouse Beach would be my advice.
I’ve been lucky enough, once before, to have been standing at the end of North Wall, spotting whales in the ocean, and dolphins just inside the river mouth. That was an experience I’ll never forget.
To top off a perfect beach day in Ballina – when you’ve worked up an appetite from all that beaching, lookout-ing, and wall-ing – head to The Belle General Cafe, opposite Shelly Beach.
With a fabulous bohemian lounge-room vibe, and a stunning menu of delicious (and extremely Instagram-worthy) meals, snacks, and beverages, The Belle General is hands-down my favourite cafe in Ballina.
And it’s the favourite of many, it seems, because every time I go there it is absolutely packed.
Sometimes there won’t be any tables left so I’ll just grab takeaway and head down to the beach, even.
In fact, due to their popularity, the people behind The Belle General have recently opened up The Belle Central, a secondary location in the centre of town.
So if The Belle General is too full, try heading to The Belle Central, and their might be a free table there where you can enjoy a similar menu.