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How Yamba in the Clarence Valley on the NSW North Coast hasn’t become the next Byron Bay is anyone’s guess. That’s not to say it’s a complete secret; but with its world-famous surf breaks, perfect beaches and a town with the right amount of buzz, it should be Australia’s favourite beach escape.
Surfing and fishing
Just south of Yamba is Angourie, a National Surfing Reserve. Angourie Point is one of the best right-hand point breaks in Australia. If the waves are off – or when you’re done getting tubed – there are multi-day coastal hikes in the national park beside the break. Or swim in the natural springs of Angourie’s blue and green pools.
Fishing fans can catch plenty of fish either at the beach, estuary or off the rocks. You can hire boats and special fishing kayaks, and drop into one of the numerous bait and tackle shops for tips on where the fish are biting. Deep sea fishing is legendary here too. Both Reel Time Charters and Yamba Fishing and Charters offer fishing expeditions in the Pacific.
Things to do
With mild Winters and long, temperate Summers, Yamba is a perfect escape all year round. A kayaking tour with Yamba Kayak will get you eye-to-eye with wild dolphins in the estuary, while Clarence River Ferries offer scenic cruises and a passenger service to Iluka, on the northern side.
There are parks beside the river for picnics, a good golf course and walks to local landmarks, like the Yamba Lighthouse and the 1934-built Pacific Hotel. The town is built around a national park, too, and humpback whales put on breaching shows just off-shore during their annual migration between May and November.
The Yuraygir coastal walk south to Red Rock follows ancient emu trails in the Yuraygir National Park. There are seaside villages such as Brooms Head along the 65km hike, and campgrounds are dotted along the track.
Eat and drink
Built at the mouth of the Clarence River, Yamba has plenty of places to eat and drink (if you can drag yourself away from the beach) and an events calendar filled with festivals, markets and sports. Sample all the best locally caught seafood – including famous Yamba prawns – at fish shops and restaurants in town.
Getting there and where to stay
Yamba is a 7hr 20min drive north of Sydney and 3hr 20 min south of Brisbane. You can also fly into Clarence Valley Regional Airport near Grafton, a one-hour drive to the southwest. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options, from campgrounds and holiday parks to an award-winning youth hostel, farm stays and luxury retreats.