WHAT TO DO IN YAMBA – THE SLEEPY VILLAGE DUBBED ‘THE NEW BYRON BAY’!
Move over Byron Bay: it’s time to make way for Yamba. Home to stunning beaches and great cafes, Yamba is the laid-back beach town that Byron Bay once was – before it became overcrowded and overpriced. There’s plenty to keep you occupied in Yamba – keep on reading to find out what there is to do here!
Yamba lies in the Northern Rivers region of North Coast NSW at the mouth of the Clarence River. There is a lovely relaxed atmosphere in this seaside town, not to mention the stunning views and almost year-round perfect weather! And at just 130km south of Byron, and The Gold Coast and Brisbane 2.5 hours and 3.5 hours away by car respectively, it is easily accessible and makes a great stop on an East Coast roadtrip or as a destination in it’s own right.
One of the best things about Yamba is that for such a small town it packs in a lot of beaches! The surf on the ocean facing beaches is world class and there is also a sheltered beach called Whiting Beach that faces the river so it is protected and has really calm water, making it perfect for families! You can even do a coastal walk around the five beaches that surround the town if you want to visit all the beaches!
Yamba makes the perfect place for a short break or weekend away. And there is certainly no shortage of accommodation options here!
Book Yamba Accommodation on Booking.com or click below for accommodation available on Airbnb.
YAMBA COASTAL WALK
Walking from beach to beach along the Yamba Coastal Walk is a great way to discover all the best Yamba has to offer, before finishing off for some food at one of he many places in Yamba!
The first beach on the Yamba Coastal Walk (or last beach, depending on which end of Yamba you start the walk!) is the beautiful 1.6km long Pippi Beach. Stroll along here and enjoy the ocean breeze. The southern part of Pippi Beach is an off leash dog area and there is also 4WD access here.
The next beach along is Convent Beach – take the track crossing behind the headland to take you here from Pippi Beach in less than a minute. Convent Beach is a lovely secluded beach and is a lot quieter than the other beaches. There are also lots of spots here where you can sit underneath a tree in the shade.
To get to Yamba Beach from Convent Beach you’ll need to walk along some of the residential roads as there is some private property on the edge of the cliff. Walk over the rocks on Convent Beach and then you’ll see a pathway and stairs on your left next to some apartments that will lead you to Ocean Street. Turn right here and then turn left, right then right again until you get to Queen Street. Marine Parade is at the end of Queen Street – walk down here and you’ll get a nice view of Yamba Beach.
Yamba Beach (Main Beach)
You’ll find the Yamba Surf Lifesaving Club and a cafe here at Yamba Beach, as well as a lovely rock pool big enough for doing decent laps. Pacific Hotel (named Australia’s best sited hotel!) is right above Yamba Beach on the cliff top and provides the best views in town so make sure you head up here, grab a drink at the bar and enjoy the gorgeous views!
Walk past Pacific Hotel on Pilot Street and you’ll come to a park on Clarence Head that offers great ocean views and the Yamba Lighthouse built in 1880. Head down the steps that lead to Harbour Street and you’ll find Turners Beach in front of you.
If you are a beginner surfer, Turners Beach is the best beach to surf on as the breakwall offers some protection. Plus during the summer it is patrolled. Walk down the breakwall for a nice view back over Turners Beach and even have a look and see if you can spot any dolphins! Then walk back down the breakwall and continue walking straight, past the car park (where the Farmers Market is held each Wednesday morning) until you get to Whiting Beach. The views of Whiting Beach on this walk are really lovely.
Whiting Beach (Hickey Island)
Whiting Beach is officially on Hickey Island. Only Hickey Island isn’t actually an island as it is attached to the mainland. It lies between Yamba Town Centre and the mouth of the Clarence River and can easily be reached on foot.
Whiting Beach lies on the northern part of Hickey Island. The water here is a lot calmer than at the other beaches as it faces into the Clarence River and not to the ocean so there are hardly any waves. The beach is also very flat which means it is perfect for families with young children. From Whiting Beach it is about a 10 minute walk into town to get some food!
Food in Yamba Town Centre
Even though Yamba is quite small it has so many cute cafes and restaurants. It feels very reminiscent to Byron (but without the inflated prices) and has a really nice relaxed feel. You certainly won’t struggle to find somewhere to go for food here.
If you are looking for a great cafe, try Drift or Irons And Craig. If it’s lunch or a laidback dinner you’re after, try BRGR Spot or Karrikin. And for something a bit more fancy head to The French Pan Tree for French cuisine or Sandbar for fresh seafood.
Yamba Farmers Market & Produce
Every Wednesday morning from 7am-11am you’ll find the Yamba Farmers Market in the car park between Whiting Beach and Turners Beach. The locals love this market and you’ll be able to find lots of fresh local produce and artisan products here!
Places nearby to Yamba
There are some really great places a very short drive from Yamba so make sure to stop off and see them on your way in or out of Yamba!
Less than 7km down the road from Yamba Town Centre is the sleepy coastal village of Angourie. Like Yamba, Angourie has some great beaches and swimming spots.
Spooky Beach is a really good snorkelling spot and Angourie Point Beach is a famous surf spot for die-hard surfers.
Just behind Angourie Point is Back Beach which lies at the northern part of Yuraygir National Park. It marks the start of the 65km Yuraygir Coastal Walk: a popular walk that follows the longest stretch of protected coastline in New South Wales all the way down to Red Rock.
You’ll need to take a few boat crossings to complete this walk – it is quite an adventure! Most people complete the walk in around 4 days – click here to find out more!
Angourie Blue Pool and Angourie Green Pool
Angourie Blue Pool and Angourie Green Pool are really impressive – both are freshwater pools with views across to the ocean and are popular places for swimming and cliff diving. Both pools were actually created as they were used for mining and quarries in the 1890s, but they flooded with water in 1899 and have been popular swimming spots ever since!
You can reach the pools by heading to The Crescent. You can park at the end of the road and then there is a path that leads to Angourie Blue Pool. A short walk along the coastline will then take you to the Green Pool. Do take notice if there are any signs up advising you against swimming in the water. This can sometimes happen if algae appears here.
The quaint riverside town of Maclean is 20 minutes west of Yamba. This town is so charming and is the most Scottish town in Australia so if you have any Scottish roots it is a must-visit! All the telephone poles are covered in a different Scottish cladding which is just fascinating! The buildings here are really charming and there are nice views over the Clarence River here.
Be sure to stop off for a coffee or something to eat at On The Bite located on the main high street.
How to get to Yamba
Yamba is 130km south of Byron Bay: it is roughly a 1 hour 40 minute drive.
It is 660km north of Sydney – a drive that will take 7 hours if you were to go without stops (which I of course do not recommend). There are lots of stunning places to see on the way from Sydney to Yamba including Port Macquarie, Seal Rocks and Port Stephens.
You’ll find plenty free parking in Yamba.
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