At the mouth of the Clarence River on the North Coast of NSW, Yamba is the coastal destination that holiday dreams are made of. The town’s beaches are blissful, with world-beating surf breaks and marine parks that brim with dolphins, sea turtles and migrating whales – all enveloped by national parks and wilderness reserves. And the town’s dining scene steals the attention of this part of the coast, even overtaking some of its flashier neighbours.
On the water
Just south of Yamba is Angourie Point, a National Surfing Reserve ranked among the top right-hand point breaks in Australia. It’s a popular spot for experienced wave riders year-round, with smaller swells also suitable for those still getting acquainted with their boards. For a dip closer to home, have a swim at Yamba Main Beach (and its scenic ocean pool), Turners Beach or Pippi Beach.
Meanwhile, keen anglers can catch plenty of fish either from the beach, along the estuary or off the rocks. You can hire boats or fishing kayaks, and drop into one of the numerous bait and tackle shops for tips on where the fish are biting. Both Reel Time Fishing Charters and Yamba Fishing and Charters offer expeditions out into the Pacific.
Pick up your paddle to explore waterways on a tour with Yamba Kayak, offering jaw-dropping experiences that allow you front-row, eye-to-eye encounters with dolphins along the estuary – you may even spot migrating whales, from May through November. A similar perspective is available when you cruise with Clarence River Ferries, which runs scenic jaunts and a passenger service to Iluka, on the northern side of the river.
While Yamba is known for its epic beaches and waves, the surrounding countryside is just as alluring for its swathes of native forest – and all the outdoor adventures that ensue. Clamber to the Yamba Lighthouse, and then continue south on the 65km Yuraygir coastal walk all the way to Red Rock, following ancient emu trails in the Yuraygir National Park.
Seaside villages such as Brooms Head dot your route, which ends in the hamlet of Wooli, its narrow peninsula surrounded by forest, beaches and the Wooli Wooli River (known for providing perfect growing conditions for Sydney rock oysters). Just offshore, the Solitary Islands Marine Park covers 71,000 hectares, the protected reserve a haven for coral, fish, dolphins, grey nurse sharks and whales during migration. Snorkel or dive into this immense ecosystem with Wooli Dive Centre.
Yamba Ocean Pool, Yamba - Credit: My Clarence Valley
Things to do in town
Be sure to explore the town either on foot or two wheels – hire your bike from Bike Shop Yamba. Retrace the steps of explorer Matthew Flinders on a self-guided walk exploring the town's historical highlights, including Flinders Well and Yamba Museum.
It’s a scenic 7.5hr drive north from Sydney to Yamba, or 3.5hr south from Brisbane. You can also fly into the Clarence Valley Regional Airport on the outskirts of Grafton and hire a car for the 50min drive north.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.