I’m on the beach at Lennox Head watching my twin teenagers plunging about in the foaming surf, they are definitely being dragged north by the current. The two lifeguards on duty are calm but alert, looking cool in the shade on this frying hot day.
Here comes the constant cry of the holiday mother, hollering hopefully and waving my arms in maternal semaphore. ‘Get back between the flags!! You’re heading to Byron Bay!!’
My book is getting very sandy whilst not being read at all. I exhausted myself long ago bobbing and battling in the waves, but the kids have been in there for hours and seem to be as fresh as the little daisies they are.
I give the waving arms signal for ‘it’s time for an iceblock’ and that gets them careering up the beach towards me, shaking themselves and demanding towels.
The waves between the flags are thrilling, and truly it is a joy to see the teenagers off their screens and playing together for hours.
But a mother needs a mental break and luckily there is tranquil water just a few minutes walk inland from the surf club.
‘Oh Mum, that looks really creepy.’ My daughter is walking into Lake Ainsworth with me and our limbs look reddy brown beneath the tea tree stained water.
We swim together, feeling the cooller layers of water, pushing our feet right down into the coldest layer deep down.
‘Can I have a lie down now,’ I beg them. And they allow me to lie flat out and read my book, going straight back to their screens of course. We’ll go again to the ocean side later on, when the sun isn’t so burny… meanwhile, lying on soft green grass, under the shade of a paperbark tree, cold water to hand, book even closer to hand… this is a real holiday… even for mum.
Our family has usually travelled south from Sydney for our beach holidays. Jervis Bay has been our beloved home away from home and the kids all still love it, leaping off the bridge at Moona Moona Creek will never get old.
But we decided this summer to head north for a change, choosing Lennox Head as neither my husband or myself had ever been there before. It was most definitely cheaper than Byron Bay and looked small and charming. We rented a unit within an easy walk of the south end of the beach and set off. What a long drive!!
Lennox Head worked really well for us because it is small enough to get around easily, quiet enough not to ever end up gnashing your teeth looking for a park, but still has plenty of eating out options for the lazy holidaymaker. The main street of this seaside village is lined with cute boutiques, a surf shop, delis and ice creameries, great for strolling along and browsing. There’s even a bookshop, perfect for me.
Lennox Head Map
Lennox Head is between Byron Bay and Ballina, about 20km south of Byron and 12km from the centre of Ballina. There are fast roads all around, so it is easy to whizz in and out of these and other northern NSW towns, if you fancy exploring further than Lennox Head itself.
Lennox Head Things To Do With Kids
The shores of Lake Ainsworth are a marvellous spot to spend a day, you can picnic by the lake, take water toys, kayaks or paddle boards to keep the family entertained. Lay out your towels or rugs in the shade and settle in. There is a car park right by the lake in case it is too far to walk from where you are staying.
If you need coffee or a snack there is a kiosk at the surf life-saving club which is on the beach side, just a few steps away.
There are occasional problematic algal blooms, check this webpage to ensure the water is safe.
Seven Mile Beach
The massive sweep of surf beach at Lennox Head is called Seven Mile Beach though in fact it is only 5.3 miles long, which is 8.5km. We did not ever manage to walk the whole length of Seven Mile Beach, but we did walks and swims every day we were there. Sometimes we swam at the southern end which is sheltered, see below, otherwise we stayed between the flags at the northern end of town where the surf club is. Better safe than sorry.
South End of Beach – Flat Rock
The very southern end of the main Seven Mile Beach is very protected from the wind and also by rocky shelves. There are lots of large stones on the beach here but channels have been cleared away and these are good for swimming.
At high tide, you can snorkel in a huge rock pool and you will see all sorts of rays, including shovel-nosed rays, and heaps of fish. Without goggles or masks, you would never know these were there, so little kids do not need to be scared about just playing and swimming. Older kids will enjoy seeing all the sea life we share the ocean with, unless the size of some of the rays might freak them out.
I’ve read that this end of the beach is usually good for beginner surfers, but we do not surf so best to check with the experts.
The Walk to Pat Morton Lookout
From the southern end of the beach there is a boardwalk which leads along the sea and becomes a wide walkway which leads up to the Pat Morton Lookout. This is not a steep walk and quite smooth, fine for strollers. We saw a python curled up by the side of the track which was quite a thrill.
The soaring views from the lookout are just sublime.
You can walk quite a bit further too, up some stairs at first and along a path for lovely sweeping views south.
Surf Lessons with Lets Go Surfing
You can do quite a variety of surfing lessons with Lets Go Surfing, check out the website here to see what might appeal to your family. Kids aged 7 and up can have lessons.
Hang Gliding and Paragliding
You will see lots of people paragliding and hang gliding from ….. If you fancy trying this yourself, either by doing a tandem glide or a hang gliding course, contact Pro-Flyte, Byron Lennox hang Gliding. Get in touch with Poliglide in Byron Bay for paragliding lessons. You are on your own!!
Ballina Memorial Pool + Waterslides
Ballina Memorial Pool and waterslides enjoys a stupendous location right alongside the Richmond River. If you can drag your eyes away from that you will find a terrific 50m pool, a fun kids water playground and two long and wiggly slides. This is a top spot to visit with the kids and totally wear them out.
Address: 4 River Street, Ballina
Phone: 02 6686 3771
Waterfall Walks In the Area
There are several beautiful walks to waterfalls in and around Lennox Head. You could try Killen Falls at Tintenbar which is only a 20 minute drive away. Further away is Nightcap National Park which has Protestor Falls and Minyon falls.
Read about these and other walks and waterfalls on the Discover Ballina website here.
Ballina Fair Cinemas
It is a short and easy run down to Ballina where you can find a cinema complex within the main shopping centre, Ballina Fair. We found the parking easy here the evening we came and there were several options for a quick bite first, we ate Thai.
Check out what’s on at the Ballina Fair Cinemas website here.
Address: 47/84 Kerr Street, Ballina
Phone: 02 6686 9600
Lennox Head – Things To Do With Teenagers
Shopping in Byron Bay
My daughter and I did a couple of expeditions to Byron to check out the shops, the op shops and then the retro stores in town and just on the outskirts too. There are all the well known chains, of course, plus lots of trippy, hippy shops too. She is mostly into op shops and so we found the local Vinnies and Salvation Army stores. I picked up some great books there.
Kayak and Snorkel Tours at Byron Bay
There are some organised tours from Byron Bay which will appeal to teenagers as well as younger children too. Adventurous families will find plenty to keep them busy.
We were a bit too lazy to do these ourselves on their trip, the thought was there though as a friend had highly recommened them.
You can find all sorts of other tours to consider, just click on this Get Your Guide widget.
Eating Out at Lennox Head
First things first, there’s a great ice cream shop called Lennox Gelato and also a bakery which has long opening hours and does great pies. Mind you, all pies are great when you are starving after a swim. Then there’s the fish and chip shop too, a classic of the genre.
All of these cafes, shops and restaurants are close together on Ballina Street, the main street of Lennox Head.
We ate at the Mexican restaurant Chido Cantina, had tapas and drinks at Shortys, ate Italian at Lennox Head Pizza and Pasta, and there were at least another half dozen places that we plan to visit next time, including the Lennox Hotel which we heard serves great grub. Next time!
Find out about other cafes and restaurants in Lennox head on the Visit NSW website here.
There is an IGA in town, but if you need a bigger supermarket then Ballina is the place to go. We bought food and treats every day in the cute delis and organic bulk food shops on Ballina Street.
Further afield we only ate out one day at the Farm at Byron Bay, we had a really delicious breakfast there, but I must say that I did not enjoy the visit as much as I’d expected. It felt very busy and the eating area was noisy, we were close to the kitchens. I would have loved to see more farm animals too. To me The Farm felt pretty commercial, which wasn’t what I was expecting.
Where To Stay At Lennox Head
There are all sorts of holiday rental options in Lennox Head, including a Reflections Holiday Park right beside Lake Ainsworth. You can rent absolute beach front units and all sorts of larger houses.
We did our research using Airbnb and Booking.com, but I noticed that the unit we were interested in was managed by a local real estate agent so I booked direct and saved quite a bit of cash that way. Hooray!
Start your researches using the Booking.com search box below, and then take it from there.
(I do often book direct from these sites, but if I can see that there is a more direct way to book, with hotels or with real estate agents, I often find that is more cost effective.)Booking.com
Book Tours at Byron Bay + Lennox Head
Check out all the options for cool tours from Byron Bay and surrounds below.
So there you go, Lennox Head worked well for our family of two adults and two teenagers. I know it would have been a fab holiday locations for all four kids at any age. Our holiday unit was at the south end of town and we were happy for the teens to walk into town on their own to go to the shops and for ice creams. They even walked all the way through town to the SLSC and Lake Ainsworth at times. They enjoyed the independence.
With smaller kids, this town is good as its pretty walkable and there is plenty to keep you busy there and to wear out active kids. It felt simple, a real seaside village, quite unlike the bustle of Byron Bay.
So, yes, we would like to go back. There are many more places all around this area to explore… next time, I just need to get the teenagers out of bed earlier!
Have you visited Lennox Head too? Are there any places you would like to let others know about? Please could you leave a comment to share your best finds.
If you enjoyed this post you might like to read about many more terrific weekends and holidays with kids in NSW on this post.
Have you ever visited Crescent Head with Kids, read all about it here.
I’ll just end with one of my highlights from this trip. We popped over to Wategos Beach at Byron, getting there early enough to find a car parking space (unlike our first attempt.) The weather wasn’t brilliant and we didn’t swim, but we had coffees and walked on the beach; so beautiful.
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