As the weather heats up its time to get into the water. Here on the North Coast we have some amazing beaches from Wategos at Byron to Seven Mile Beach at Lennox to Shelley Beach and Lighthouse Beach at Ballina. Visit to read about the surf, swimming or dog friendly beaches.

However not everyone wants to swim in the ocean or sit on a hot open beach. At Alstonville Country Cottages we are perfectly situated to reach a variety of watering spots. If you want somewhere easy, calm and relaxing with the possibility of a bit of shade these are our favourite local spots.

Shaws Bay, at Ballina  is fully enclosed by the rocks along North Wall which filter the water in and out at high and low tide.It has lots of access points for swimming along Compton Drive or enjoy the easy access from Pop Dennison Park  with its free bbqs, grassy picnic spots and toilets. Try snorkelling at Fenwick Drive. The shallow, clear water along the rocky North Wall is the perfect spot to swim with large colourful fish.

Brighton St Beach, near Missingham Bridge at Ballina is very family friendly with grassy areas, a sandy beach and gentle waves. This sheltered beach is on the Richmond River and has rocky outcrops perfect for snorkelling. It is also a short walk to cafes for ice cream or local fish and chips. Dolphins can often be spotted cruising past, especially at dusk.

The Serpentine is just under Missingham Bridge along North Creek. At low tide it has lovely shallow lagoons and soft sandy beach. Easy to park and lots of shade.

For exploring  rock pools Shelly Beach or Flat Rock are our favourites. Plenty to look at and discover in all the pools left by the tide. The sea creatures, shells and bird life will keep  all ages amused.

For something completely different visit Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head. The tea tree tannins have a silky, therapeutic effect. Don’t be put off by the colour the téa tree only stains the water not you or your bathers! There are numerous shady picnic and bbq sites and a small sandy beach. Showers, toilets and cafes are all close by. Make a day of it or visit in the evening when its less crowded and enjoy the beauty of the reflective colours. Seven Mile Beach is just across the park so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

The Boat Channel, Lennox is another great snorkelling spot. parking and easily accessible from Rutherford Street. This is a safe haven protected from the surf at high tide with lots of sealife to enjoy.

Tosher Falls, Alstonville. For a completely different experience the small waterhole and falls are an easy walk from the end of Johnstons Rd, Alstonville and are great for a quick, refreshing dip. Visit mid week and you will have them to yourselves.

Or why not hire a tinny or a bbq boat Or a kayak or two and explore the Richmond River and Mobbs Bay for yourselves.

Don’t forget Alstonville and Ballina also have olympic size pools, kid friendly covered pools and a waterpark.