WHETHER you want to surf, swim, or just walk along next to the ocean, the Northern Rivers has some of the finest beaches you will find anywhere in the world.

Among the prime surfing locations, the Lennox Head surfing reserve stands out as a beacon for excellent waves. However, all the local beaches have excellent breaks with enough variety to suit all skill levels.

Byron Bay’s beach is a Mecca for tourists and the Bay has a reputation for superb diving. However, what is less well known is that many of the spectacular sea creatures you can see under 20 metres of water at Julian Rocks can also be seen just behind the gentle breakers at Main Beach, either out over the Wollongbar wreck, which juts from the water near the carpark, or on the ruins of the old jetty that extends out from the carpark.

If you want to get away from the crowds, there are plenty of remote spots on Seven Mile beach between Broken Head and Lennox, on the South Ballina beach, and the Evans Head beaches where you can be so completely alone with the roaring waves you will feel as though you are the only person in the world.

Among the region’s most celebrated beaches are The Strand, Belongil Beach, Wategos Beach, Main Beach, and The Pass at Byron Bay; Tallow Beach stretching from Byron Bay, through Suffolk Park and up to Broken Head; the protected Torakina Beach and Brunswick Heads Beach at Brunswick Heads; Seven Mile Beach between Broken Head and Lennox Head; Shelly Beach and Lighthouse Beach at Ballina; the long wild stretch of the South Ballina beach; and Airforce Beach, Main Beach and Shark Bay at Evans Head.

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