Lamberts Beach (1114) is the northern of Mackay’s two main surfing beaches. It is located just 1 km south of Slade Point, with a lookout on the southern part of the point providing an excellent view of the beach. The Slade Point Road runs right behind the beach. The beach is 500 m long, faces due east and is bordered by a prominent, 40 m high headland and lookout at the northern end, and a lower rocky platform and reef at the southern end. A 100 m wide grassy park, with amenities, backs the beach, with casuarina trees also fringing the back of the beach. The beach is composed of coarse sand and some gravel, which produces a steep high tide beach, while at low tide it is fronted by a 50 m wide bar that is usually cut by three rip currents and channels (Fig. 4.61). Waves average 0.5 to 1 m, making it one of the more exposed and higher energy beaches in the area (Fig. 4.62). Lifeguards patrol the beach during the Christmas and Easter holidays.
Ballina has two beaches patrolled by the same surf life saving club, Shelly and Lighthouse. Shelly Beach (NSW 27) is located between the 40 m high Black and Ballina heads and backed by the higher ground of Richmond Hill and the residential development of East Ballina. Access and parking is provided at both ends of the 700 m long beach, and at two central car parks. The beach faces southeast exposing it to the dominant southerly waves. This aspect combined with its fine to medium sand produces a surf dominated by three large rips cutting across the inner bar, one against either headland, and a more variable central rip, the three often connected by a continuous trough. The rips, outer bar and headlands provide good surf, but are a hazard for swimmers.On the southern side of Ballina Head is Lighthouse Beach (NSW 28) is one of the State's newest beaches in that it only came into existence after the construction of the adjacent Richmond River entrance walls in the early 1900s. The construction caused what was then known as Shaws Bay to fill with sand, building not only the beach but also 30 ha of prime beachfront real estate which was developed in the 1970s. The 700 m long beach is now located between Ballina Head and the northern training wall (Figs. 4.20 & 4.21). Good access is provided from the car park at the surf club under Ballina Head, and from the road that runs behind the beach to a car park against the entrance wall, with a grassy reserve between the road and beach. This is popular beach, however it usually has rips and strong currents, and has long been regarded as dangerous. The Surf Club was formed in 1932 and preforms a relatively high average of 47 rescues a year.
Black Rock Beach is a relatively narrow beach lying below 20 m high, vegetated bluffs. Beach Road runs along the top of the bluffs and the Black Rock Life Saving Club, founded in 1913, sits on top of the bluffs, with a good view of the beach. A car park and a picnic area are located on the bluffs just south of the club house.The main beach is 750 m long and is composed of medium to coarse sand, which produces a steep beach face and usually no bar. As a result, deep water lies immediately off the beach. The beach narrows to the south, where the bluffs were stabilised in the 1930s with the construction of a seawall and walkway. The eroding bluffs left sandstone reefs off the beach, on which higher waves break, particularly at low tide. The beach faces south-west and is exposed to seasonal shifts in the wave climate. Summer southerlies tend to move the sand up the beach, while winter westerlies shift it back to the south. To the north, reefs increase toward Black Rock Point, with a bluff separating the main beach from the smaller, reef dominated Point Beach.