Here’s our guide to what you simply cannot miss when visiting the charming coastal village of Yamba
The seaside village of Yamba is the sort of place that prompts visiting city dwellers to dream about downsizing. Grab an obligatory schooner of beer at the Pacific Hotel, sign up for a surfing lesson, enjoy an iconic coastal walk and swim and fall for Yamba’s low-key Australian charm by exploring its lovely landscapes and beautiful beaches. Here are 14 fabulous things to do in Yamba.
1. Explore the Blue and Green Pools Angourie
You must veer off the Pacific Highway and cross over the serpentine Clarence River to get to Yamba, which is just a couple of hours from its boho sibling, Byron. And while salty-haired surfers flock to Yamba to go surfing, a visit to the emerald Blue and Green Pools makes an escape to Yamba even more magical. The pools are located at The Crescent, in a reserve that is culturally significant to the Yaegl community.
The Blue and Green Pools makes an escape to Yamba even more magical. (Image: Destination NSW)
2. Take a ferry ride from Yamba to Iluka
Admire Yamba’s tropical beauty from the water with the Clarence River Ferries Passenger Service onboard the historic MV Mirigini, which sluices between Yamba and Iluka on the mouth of the Clarence River each day. The ferry also offers informative excursions to nearby Harwood Island on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as a live music cruise on Sundays.
3. Swim, dive, snorkel, fish or surf
Yamba is the poster child for the beautiful beaches of Northern NSW. Unlike its better-known neighbour, Byron, Yamba attracts those who want a low-key beach day. In addition to the turquoise seas, and powder-white sand, the surrounding waterways are teeming with fish. Our advice: drop some pins on Google maps and make it your mission to either swim, dive, snorkel, fish or surf at each spot amid that mess of red dots.
Yamba is the poster child for the beautiful beaches of Northern NSW. (Image: Destination NSW)
4. Visit a picturesque peach farm
For those craving an escape to the country, The Peach Farm delivers with its rural surrounds in the Lower Clarence a top spot to forage for local produce. Visitors to the family farm can – for a fee – feed the animals before convening at the darling café for cakes, scones, slices and sausage rolls. Locally made peach jam, and spiced peach chutney are also available at the farm store, and you can pick peaches between October and November.
Visit a peach farm and forage for local produce. (Image: Piper & Me Photography)
5. Chow down at the Yamba Prawn Shack
The Clarence River Fisherman’s Co-Op is marked on the Sydney Fish Market map as a suggested stop on a seafood-centric road trip. As well as selling fish and chips and seafood, the co-op supplies crustaceans and oysters to the Yamba Prawn Shack, one of the best boat-to-plate places to procure fresh seafood in Yamba. Order a bucket-load of prawns to go then head to the headland overlooking Main Beach for a picnic.
6. Visit a next-gen gin distillery
Change your clocks to Clarence Valley time and settle in for a tasting at the Clarence Distillery, where you can sample tasting paddles and cocktails made from Chilli Vodka, Ruby Rosella Gin or The Duke dry gin. As well as supporting local producers, the rustic distillery in the industrial estate donates $2 from every bottle of vodka to organisations responsible for protecting the coastal emu.
Settle in for a tasting at the Clarence Distillery.
7. A brew with a view
The Pacific Hotel is a Yamba mainstay (and a great place to stay). An Art Deco beauty that has one of the best seats in town. It’s also a prominent landmark in a town where surf, sea, and sun are on tap so expect a few crusty old surfers to be lurking on the deck, searching for swell. Go for the house-beer-battered fish served with salad and fries and stay for the live entertainment.
Stay at this art deco beauty. (Image: Pacific Hotel Yamba)
8. Wobbly Chook Brewery
Corkscrew around the Clarence for long enough and chances are you will be steered toward the Wobbly Chook Brewing Co. located in Yamba’s industrial estate. The selection of beers on offer at the microbrewery includes lagers, IPAs and brown ales, which will, according to owner Justin ‘put hairs on your chest’. The brewery is also open for breakfast and lunch, selling everything from B&E rolls to burgers.
9. Tackle the Yuraygir Coastal Walk
The multi-day Yuraygir walk along the Clarence Coast is dotted with places to stop for a snorkel or swim or to look out for whales. The 65-kilometre-long multi-day walk traces the coastline from Angourie to Red Rock with overnight stops at beautiful beach campgrounds. The trail journeys through the traditional homelands of the Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl nations along an ancient path followed by Australia’s coastal emus.
The 65-kilometre-long multi-day walk traces the coastline from Angourie to Red Rock. (Image: Destination NSW)
10. Go shopping
While Yamba is much loved for its quirky charm, it’s also become a hub for hipsters and a fresh boho hangout with a slew of new independent boutiques and homeware shops that wouldn’t look out of place in our beloved Byron (but without the bumper-to-bumper crowds). Bounce between One Country Mouse, The Shoe Boutique, Flots & Jets and the Island Collective while hunting for treasures to take home.
Hunt for treasures to take home at Island Collective. (Image: Destination NSW)
11. See a film at Yamba Cinema
Whether you prefer a cult classic or a new release, this family-managed movie theatre will see you get your fix. The cinema is all old-school Yamba cool with its single screen space able to seat up to 200 guests. Located just a few minutes from the town centre, the small, squat retro cinema with the red-velvet curtains serves popcorn and choc-tops at the snack bar.
12. Meet the makers at Yamba’s Farmers and Producers Market
To see Yamba in full swing, you must factor in a visit to the farmers’ market, which operates Wednesdays from 7am at the Whiting Beach car park. Young creatives have moved to the Northern Rivers’ region in their droves, and you will get a sense of this when you wander around the weekly market, where you will find stallholders selling everything from micro greens to sourdough and sushi.
Find everything from micro greens to sourdough and sushi. (Image: Destination NSW)
13. The Lower Clarence Aboriginal Tourist Site Drive
The Clarence River region hold great importance to the local Goorie (Aboriginal) people. And this driving route steers visitors around significant sites where you can honour the stories of the Traditional Owners of the Land. Stop at 13 sites along the way to learn Dreamtime stories about the Durrangan (which the Goories believe to be a powerful spirit) and the creation of the Clarence Aboriginal People.
14. The Clarence Canoe and Kayak Trail
Eight sections. 195 kilometres. Eight waterfalls. And 12 campsites. Australia’s longest mapped white-water trail snakes between Nymboi-Binderay National Park and the township of Copmanhurst and contains some of the most diverse conditions for paddling found anywhere in the world. But Nymboida Camping and Canoeing is not just for gung-ho action heroes. The epic trail also has family-friendly sections and experienced guides who can paddle with you.
For more travel tips read our guide to Yamba.