Welcome to the beautiful coastal town of Ballina, located in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia. Known for its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and a plethora of outdoor activities, Ballina is a destination that promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler.

In this blog post, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of Ballina, exploring its natural attractions, adventure activities, family-friendly spots, local cuisine, and much more. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adrenaline junkie, a foodie, or a family traveler, Ballina has something for everyone. So, let’s dive in and discover the many wonders of Ballina!

About Ballina

Ballina is a vibrant town situated at the mouth of the Richmond River. It’s the commercial and cultural heart of the Ballina Shire, boasting a rich history, diverse landscapes, and a warm, welcoming community. From its pristine beaches and scenic walking trails to its lively markets and delicious seafood, Ballina offers a unique blend of attractions that cater to all tastes and interests.

What to Expect in This Blog

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top things to do in Ballina, providing you with all the information you need to plan your visit. We’ll cover:

  • Natural Attractions: Discover the best spots for beach hopping, whale watching, and enjoying the scenic beauty of Ballina.
  • Adventure Activities: Get your adrenaline pumping with activities like surfing, snorkeling, and motorcycle scenic rides.
  • Family-Friendly Activities: Find out about the best places to visit with kids, from calm swimming spots to exciting rock pools.
  • Local Cuisine: Savor the flavors of Ballina with our guide to the best local eateries.
  • Accommodation: Get recommendations for the best places to stay, catering to all budgets.

Stay tuned as we embark on this exciting journey through Ballina, one of Australia’s most charming coastal towns!

Natural Attractions

Ballina is a paradise for nature lovers, offering a diverse range of landscapes from pristine beaches to lush hinterland. Here are some of the must-visit natural attractions in Ballina.

Richmond River

The Richmond River is a significant part of Ballina’s charm. This majestic river winds its way through the town, providing a picturesque backdrop for many activities. You can embark on a river cruise, where you’ll have the chance to spot local wildlife such as dolphins and a variety of bird species. The river is also a popular fishing spot, with the opportunity to catch species like bream, flathead, and whiting. The riverbanks are perfect for picnics, and the sunsets over the water are truly magical.

Things to do in Ballina

Ballina’s Beaches

Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach is a slice of paradise, with its golden sands, clear waters, and lush vegetation. The beach is patrolled during the summer months, making it a safe spot for swimming. The rock platforms at either end of the beach are great for exploring, and you might even find some interesting marine life in the rock pools. The beach is also dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry friend along!

Lighthouse Beach

Lighthouse Beach is a surfer’s dream, with consistent waves and plenty of space. The beach is also a popular fishing spot, with the chance to catch species like tailor, whiting, and jewfish. The historic Richmond River Lighthouse, one of the oldest in Australia, stands at the northern end of the beach. The lighthouse offers stunning views of the coastline and is a great spot for whale watching.

Whale Watching

Ballina offers some of the best whale watching opportunities in New South Wales. Between June and November, humpback whales migrate along the coast, and you can often see them breaching and splashing in the waters off Ballina. The Lighthouse Lookout offers panoramic views of the ocean and is one of the best spots in town for whale watching. Remember to bring your binoculars for the best experience!

Ballina’s Coastal Path

The coastal path between Ballina and Lennox Head is a beautiful trail that winds its way along the coastline. The path is suitable for all fitness levels and offers stunning views of the ocean, beaches, and headlands. Along the way, you’ll pass by Angels Beach, Shelly Beach, and Boulder Beach, each offering a unique beach experience. The trail is also a great way to spot local wildlife, including birds, lizards, and even the occasional kangaroo.

Hinterland Trail, Tourist Drive 28

Tourist Drive 28, also known as the Hinterland Trail, is a scenic drive that takes you through the lush hinterland of the Ballina Shire. The trail winds its way through rolling hills, past macadamia and coffee plantations, and through charming villages like Alstonville and Newrybar. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of spots to stop and enjoy the view, have a picnic, or explore local attractions like the Victoria Park Nature Reserve and the Amaze ‘n’ Place. The trail ends at the historic village of Bangalow, where you can explore the boutique shops and enjoy a meal at one of the local cafes.

In the next section, we’ll explore the thrilling adventure activities that Ballina has to offer. Stay tuned!

Adventure Activities

For those seeking a bit of adrenaline during their visit to Ballina, you won’t be disappointed. From thrilling water sports to exhilarating scenic rides, here are some adventure activities you can indulge in.

Motorcycle Scenic Rides

If you’re a motorcycling enthusiast, Ballina offers some of the most scenic rides in New South Wales. The Northern Rivers Touring Motorcycle Guide provides a range of routes that take you through stunning landscapes, from the coastline to the hinterland. Each route offers something unique, whether it’s the panoramic ocean views along the Coastal Ride or the lush greenery and rolling hills of the Hinterland Ride. Remember to pack your camera, as you’ll find plenty of photo opportunities along the way!


Ballina’s clear coastal waters make it a fantastic spot for snorkeling. Shelly Beach and Lighthouse Beach both have rocky reefs that are home to a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even the occasional dolphin. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a leopard shark or manta ray! Snorkeling gear can be rented from local dive shops, and guided snorkeling tours are also available for those who want a bit of extra guidance.


Surfing is a way of life in Ballina, and you’ll find plenty of spots to catch a wave. Lighthouse Beach is a popular spot, with consistent waves and plenty of space. Beginners might prefer Shelly Beach, which tends to have smaller, more manageable waves. Local surf schools offer lessons for all ages and abilities, so even if you’ve never surfed before, you can give it a go!

In the next section, we’ll explore some family-friendly activities that will keep both kids and adults entertained. Stay tuned!

Family-Friendly Activities

Ballina is a fantastic destination for families, with a wide range of activities that are fun for both kids and adults. Here are some family-friendly activities that you can enjoy during your visit.

The Serpentine

The Serpentine is a beautiful lagoon located in the heart of Ballina. It’s a great spot for a family picnic, with plenty of grassy areas, picnic tables, and BBQ facilities. The calm waters of the lagoon are perfect for kids to swim in, and there’s also a playground nearby. Don’t forget to bring some bread to feed the ducks!

Shaws Bay

Shaws Bay is a calm, sheltered bay that’s perfect for families. The waters are usually calm, making it a safe spot for kids to swim. There are also free BBQ facilities, a playground, and plenty of grassy areas for picnics. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak and explore the bay.

Shelly Rock Pools

At the southern end of Shelly Beach, you’ll find the Shelly Rock Pools. These natural rock pools are filled with interesting marine life, making them a great spot for kids to explore. There’s also a man-made tidal pool that’s perfect for tots. Remember to bring your water shoes, as the rocks can be slippery!

Boulder Beach

Boulder Beach is a unique beach that’s covered in pebble rocks instead of sand. Kids will love exploring the beach and building rock towers. The beach is also a great spot for fishing, and you might even spot some dolphins in the water!

Lake Ainsworth

Lake Ainsworth, located just north of Ballina in Lennox Head, is a freshwater lake surrounded by tea trees. The tea trees stain the water a dark color, which is said to have therapeutic properties. The lake is a great spot for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. There’s also a picnic area, playground, and BBQ facilities, making it a great spot for a family day out.

In the next section, we’ll explore the local cuisine of Ballina and discover the best places to eat in town. Stay tuned!

Local Cuisine

One of the best ways to experience a new place is through its food, and Ballina is no exception. With its coastal location, Ballina offers a bounty of fresh seafood, but there’s also a wide range of other cuisines to explore. Here are some of the best places to eat in Ballina.

Chido Cantina

Chido Cantina is a vibrant Mexican restaurant located in the heart of Ballina. Known for its delicious tacos and refreshing margaritas, Chido Cantina is a great place to unwind after a day of exploring. Don’t miss their Taco Tuesday special, where you can get a selection of tacos for a discounted price.

Belle General Café

Belle General Café is a popular spot for breakfast and lunch, serving up a range of dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. Their menu includes a variety of options, from hearty breakfast bowls to delicious sandwiches and salads. They also offer a range of smoothies and juices, as well as locally roasted coffee.

The Wharf Bar & Restaurant

Located on the banks of the Richmond River, The Wharf Bar & Restaurant offers stunning views along with delicious food. Their menu features a range of dishes, with a focus on fresh seafood. Try their fish and chips for a classic Australian meal, or opt for one of their seafood platters to sample a bit of everything.

Ballina Fishermen’s Co-op

For the freshest seafood in town, head to the Ballina Fishermen’s Co-op. Here, you can buy a variety of seafood caught by local fishermen, including prawns, crabs, and a variety of fish. They also have a takeaway shop where you can get fish and chips, seafood platters, and other seafood dishes.

In the next section, we’ll discuss the various accommodation options available in Ballina, helping you find the perfect place to stay during your visit. Stay tuned!


Finding the right place to stay is an essential part of any trip, and Ballina offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel, a cozy bed and breakfast, or a family-friendly holiday park, you’ll find it in Ballina. Here are some options to consider.

Luxury Hotels

For those seeking a bit of luxury, Ballina has several high-end hotels that offer comfortable rooms, excellent service, and a range of amenities. The Ramada Hotel & Suites is a popular choice, with its riverfront location, spacious rooms, and outdoor pool. Another option is the Ballina Manor Boutique Hotel, a beautifully restored heritage building that offers a unique and luxurious stay.

Bed and Breakfasts

If you prefer a more homely accommodation, a bed and breakfast might be the perfect choice. Ballina has several charming B&Bs, where you can enjoy a comfortable room and a delicious homemade breakfast. Try the Riversleigh Guesthouse, a historic home with beautifully decorated rooms and a welcoming atmosphere.

Holiday Parks

For families or those on a budget, Ballina’s holiday parks offer a great value option. These parks offer a range of accommodation options, from camping and caravan sites to self-contained cabins. The Ballina Beach Village is a popular choice, with its beachfront location, swimming pool, and kids’ playground. Another option is the Discovery Parks – Ballina, which offers a range of facilities including a pool, BBQ area, and games room.

Self-Contained Apartments

If you prefer the convenience of self-catering, consider renting a self-contained apartment. These apartments come with everything you need for your stay, including a fully equipped kitchen, living area, and separate bedrooms. The Grandview Apartments Ballina offers a range of apartments with stunning ocean views, while the Ballina Byron Islander Resort and Conference Centre offers spacious apartments set in tropical gardens.

In the next section, we’ll wrap up our guide to Ballina with a recap of the main points and some final thoughts. Stay tuned!


From its stunning natural attractions and thrilling adventure activities to its family-friendly spots and delicious local cuisine, Ballina truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adrenaline junkie, a foodie, or a family traveler, you’re sure to find plenty to love about this charming coastal town.

To recap, here are some of the highlights of Ballina:

  • Natural Attractions: Explore the Richmond River, relax on Ballina’s beautiful beaches, watch whales from the Lighthouse Lookout, walk along the scenic coastal path, and drive through the lush hinterland.
  • Adventure Activities: Enjoy scenic motorcycle rides, snorkel in the clear coastal waters, and catch a wave at one of Ballina’s popular surfing spots.
  • Family-Friendly Activities: Visit the Serpentine lagoon, swim in the calm waters of Shaws Bay, explore the Shelly Rock Pools, build rock towers at Boulder Beach, and swim in the therapeutic waters of Lake Ainsworth.
  • Local Cuisine: Savor delicious tacos at Chido Cantina, enjoy a meal at the Belle General Café, dine with a view at The Wharf Bar & Restaurant, and sample fresh seafood at the Ballina Fishermen’s Co-op.
  • Accommodation: Choose from luxury hotels, charming bed and breakfasts, family-friendly holiday parks, and convenient self-contained apartments.

We hope this guide has given you a taste of what Ballina has to offer and inspired you to plan your own visit. With its stunning landscapes, exciting activities, delicious food, and welcoming community, Ballina is a destination that’s sure to leave a lasting impression. So why wait? Start planning your Ballina adventure today!

Similar Posts