Come to this stretch of coast to find your quintessential Australian beach where summer crowds, fishermen and surfers gather and whales and dolphins swim by.
Shelly Beach is located between the 131-foot (40-meter) high Black and Ballina heads. Watch the surfers ride the waves, laze on the golden sands, listen to the soothing sounds of the ocean or climb up to the headlands for Pacific sunrise views.
Set between Black Head and Ballina Head, Shelly Beach is just as long and just as popular as its neighbor Lighthouse Beach. Walk the length of the 2,300-foot (700-meter) long beach to soak up its serenity and ocean views.
Like Lighthouse Beach, Shelly Beach has two tide rips that run against either headland, which are often connected by a central tide rip as well. But, due to this being a southeast-facing beach, Shelly Beach is more exposed to southerly waves. Depending on the wind direction, pick the beach that looks calmest on the day of your visit.
Swimming isn’t always safe on Shelly Beach, which is only patrolled by the surf life savers from the club at Lighthouse Beach during the summer school vacations. When swimming, watch for rips and longshore currents and stay between the flags. Kids can safely splash around in the small “swimming pool” at the southern end of Shelly Beach. This walled rock pool is part of the beach and fills up with seawater during high tide.
If you are an experienced surfer, you’ll be right at home here. Head to the rocky headlands with either a right or a left surf break, depending on which headland you pick. Fishing from the flat, rocky platforms at either end of Shelly Beach is another popular activity.
Shelly Beach is backed by the residential suburb of Richmond Hill in East Ballina and just a short drive from the city center of Ballina. There are four car parks that serve the beach. Adjacent Lighthouse Beach has a kiosk at the surf life saving club and a café that teamed up with Botero, an esteemed coffee roastery from the nearby Clarence Coast. The beach has an outdoor shower for those wanting to rinse off the sand and salt.