If you’re looking for a perfectly chill coastal town where you can kick back and make the most of the great outdoors, head to Lennox Head on NSW’s Far North Coast. Just 15 minutes’ drive north of the Ballina/Byron Bay Airport and an hour south of Gold Coast Airport, it’s super accessible for a day trip if you want to hire a rental car to escape the crowds and spend some quiet time by the beach. Here are just a few of the best things to do in Lennox Head.
If you’re driving your rental car from Ballina, stop at the Pat Morton Lookout before you descend the headland into town. Situated at the top of Lennox Point, it’s a great spot to get a view of Seven Mile Beach, look for whales (May to October), watch the surfers below and hold your breath as hang gliders take off.
If you’ve already been in the Northern Rivers for a while and want a break from the salt water, head to the north end of town where you’ll find Lake Ainsworth. The water is coloured by the tannins from surrounding tea trees, and a dip in it will leave your skin glowing. It’s also a great spot for stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, and kayaking.
Not far from the lake, the instructors from Pegasus Park Equestrian Centre meet for weekday rides along the most isolated parts of Seven Mile Beach. The horse rides are conducted at a gentle walk suitable for everyone, including absolute beginners; if you want to be a little more adventurous, book a private session.
With a name like Seven Mile Beach, you just know there are going to be swimming spots and breaks for everyone. If you head to the south end, a spot called the Boat Channel is protected by a reef, making it a great place for kids to have a splash. There’s also pretty good snorkelling around the rocks.
Lennox is a magnet for surfers. In fact, it’s been named a National Surfing Reserve, with four major breaks along its length. The best known is Lennox Point, but this right-hander isn’t a spot for beginners. If you’re just getting the hang of hanging 10, head south to Flat Rock at East Ballina for a protected right-hander. You can hire a board or SUP from Lennox Head Surf, and Let’s Go Surfing, based in Byron Bay, can meet you at Lennox Head for a private lesson.
The Lennox Head Alstonville Surf Life Saving Club patrols the waves out the front of the clubhouse from September through to April. Always take care to swim between the flags. Further north of here, the beach becomes more remote and only accessible on foot or by 4WD. You can stroll along here for hours and barely see another person, so bring your towel, a book and some sunscreen and enjoy the serenity.
With its wide beach and thermal breezes, Lennox Head has become popular for kitesurfing. Sit on the sand and watch the experts zip across the water, negotiating the swell. If you want to have a go, Earth Kitesurfing is the place to get lessons locally.
A perennial all-day favourite is the Point Cafe, with its shaded tables on the terrace. Big brekkies, burgers, fresh juices, and coffee are all popular with the gathered crowd.
Come straight off the beach and onto the covered verandah at cute and casual Williams Street. It morphs from breakfast venue to lunchtime hang-out then becomes a spot for cocktails and Asian-inspired dishes as the sun begins to set.
Want to eat local? During the week, including for lunch on Friday, Italian chef Martin Morelli uses the freshest and most seasonal produce from the Northern Rivers region to create a menu of family-style shared-plate eats at his restaurant, The Diner.
If you want to meet the ocean-dwelling locals, head to Ballina where Out of the Blue Adventures runs dolphin cruises. Cape Byron Marine Park is home to several pods of bottlenose dolphins, some of them with as many as 120 of these fascinating creatures gathered. The marine biologist on board will tell you all about the local pods and their habits. From May each year, whale watching tours focus on the migrating humpbacks.
Head into the hinterland in your rental car to visit Summerland Farm, where there’s an orchard of 2,000 avocado trees, farm animals to visit, an adventure playground and a water park. There’s also an onsite cafe and restaurant serving the best from the Byron-Ballina food bowl. Summerland Farm provides employment for more than a hundred people with a disability and visiting ensures they can continue the good work.