Yamba is a laid-back little surfing town at the mouth of the Clarence River in New South Wales, Australia. A place once built on prawn trawling and sugar cane farming, Yamba has grown into a vibrant town full of life. It’s a great stop on a Brisbane to Sydney road trip if beaches and surf are calling your name.
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Yamba has long been famed for its amazing surf breaks but hasn’t blown up like other hotspots. While it’s no hidden secret, Yamba maintains a mellow and unpretentious vibe that feels authentically Australian. Its gorgeous north coast shoreline is pristine and carries a charm that runs through the whole town. The town is booming with new restaurants and cafes that celebrate local produce and champion the community.
If Yamba hasn’t been on your radar, check out these awesome things to do in town and be sure to add it to your list of charming towns to visit in Australia.
How to Get There
The town of Yamba is located on the northern coast of NSW in the Clarence Valley.
It’s a 3 hour drive from Brisbane, along the Pacific Highway, spanning 280 km.
In the opposite direction, Sydney to Yamba is 670 km away and takes about 7 hours by car.
Visitors from elsewhere can fly into the nearest Ballina Byron Gateway Airport and enjoy the scenic drive down. The route from Byron Bay to Yamba is only 130 km and takes 1.5 hours to drive.
Things to do in Yamba, NSW
From roaming the market to combing the beach, Yamba attractions are all about laid-back beachside living.
Visit Yamba Beaches
The biggest draw to Yamba are its beautiful beaches. Yamba has 5 beaches to choose from in town, and many other gems in the surrounding area.
Yamba Main Beach
Just steps from the quaint streets of town, Yamba Main Beach is a peaceful, sandy haven with an awesome ocean pool. The pool is built right into the rocks where seawater pours in and changing tides continuously splash and clean the water.
The beach itself is set at the foot of the iconic Pacific Hotel, surrounded by bluffs and rolling waves that sweep the shore. It’s home to one of the oldest surf clubs in the world and has a great cafe, The Kiosk, to grab a coffee.
South of Yamba Point, Pippi Beach is an idyllic place to go for a sunset stroll and enjoy the view. Strong southern swells can thrash at Pippi, but on calm days, this 1.6 km stretch of beach is lovely. Plus, there’s an off-leash dog area on the south end at Flat Rock if you’re travelling with pets.
Probably the best beach in Yamba, Turners Beach, is the perfect spot for surfing, swimming, and fishing. It’s on the other side of the Yamba Lighthouse from Main Beach and is just a short walk from the town centre. Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon fishing off the break wall as surfers pound the passing waves.
When the waves at Pippi are roaring, the sheltered cove at Whiting Beach is always calm and unruffled. Just a short stroll from town, Whiting Beach is an ideal beach for kids and those wanting to enjoy a mellow paddle.
The shady shores at Convent Beach are peaceful and secluded despite sitting at the edge of town. Backed by rocky bluffs and lush vegetation, Convent Beach feels tucked away and sheltered. It gets its name from the former nunnery that used to overlook it, which has long since closed. It’s a bit rocky as a swimming spot but makes for a nice place to relax and look for dolphins.
Visit Angourie Point + Blue and Green Pools
If surfing is on your agenda, venture down to Angourie Point to hit one of the best right-hand point breaks in Australia. The small seaside village is just 10 minutes south of Yamba and is well worth a visit. Angourie is a national surfing reserve with its own roster of incredible beaches to explore.
Spend the day at Back Beach or Spooky’s before heading up to the lookout for a postcard-worthy vantage point that’s likely to feature whales and dolphins.
Beyond surfing, Angourie’s Blue and Green Pools are a must-see for travellers visiting the Clarence Valley. The freshwater pools are said to be the result of an old mining quarry but now serve as a swimming hole loved by locals. The vibrant coloured water appears bottomless and is a haven for cliff jumping. After a cool dip on a hot day, head over to Cafe Angourie for a coffee or yummy vegan bowl.
Go for Scenic Walks
Retrace history around town or embark on a coastal adventure through the Clarence Valley.
Historic Yamba Hill Walk
There are two different historic walks that hit some of Yamba’s most iconic landmarks. For a hilly stroll, the Yamba Hill Walk is a 4 km journey around the perimeter of town that takes about 2 hours. If you want to keep things at sea level, the Flat Walk is 3 km and explores the north end of town without the steep grades.
Both tracks are self-guided and follow the steps of 18th century explorer Matthew Flinders. You’ll pass by Flinders Well, the Yamba Lighthouse, and the Yamba Museum, where you can pick up a trail map.
The breakwall at Turner’s Beach is a great place to go for a stroll and watch the surfers. The rocky wall extends into the mouth of the Clarence River so you’ll have a great view of Turners Beach and the Lighthouse. You’re likely to find the breakwall lined with anglers, as it’s one of the best fishing spots in Yamba.
Yuraygir Coastal Walk
If you’re feeling adventurous and have a few days to spend in Yamba, the Yuraygir Coastal Walk is a real gem. This multi-day hike begins in Angourie and ventures through Yuraygir National Park 65 km down to Red Rock. The scenery is spectacular and follows beaches, lagoons, and rocky headlands along trails once crossed by coastal emus. The hike usually takes 4-5 days (one way) and has loads of opportunities for snorkelling, swimming, camping, and wildlife viewing.
Visit the Markets
The last Sunday of every month, Yamba River Markets fills up with stalls offering local clothing, jewellery, and food. The market is a fun place to wander around and check out work by local artists and musicians.
The Yamba Farmers & Producers Market runs every Wednesday and features some of the best fresh produce and meats from the region. Pick up a loaf of organic sourdough, Turkish pastries, and some Byron Bay salami and head to Turners for a picnic.
Places to Eat & Drink in Yamba, Australia
Spoiled with amazing fishing, Yamba restaurants serve up a mean plate of seafood with lots of veggie options too.
Showcasing the absolute best that the region has to offer, Karrikin is a true Yamba treasure. The restaurant’s concept is all about celebrating Australian cuisine by connecting your food to your surroundings. They use all local and seasonal ingredients sourced from the Clarence Valley to help the food scene thrive. With an emphasis on social dining, it’s a great spot for groups, offering share plates and an ever changing menu.
A Yamba, NSW staple, the Pacific Hotel is one of the best places to grab a beer and look out over Yamba Bay. The Hotel has been beloved by locals since the 1930s and serves as a hub for casual dining and live music. The bar offers a menu of pub grub that goes great with an ice-cold beer and a sunset. The Pacific Hotel has some of the best real estate in Yamba so grab a seat and enjoy the view!
A cozy cafe in the heart of Yamba, Good Days serves up delicious and nutritious snacks and beverages. They brew specialty organic coffee from Melbourne’s Padre Coffee alongside fresh smoothies and cold pressed juices. They also offer a roster of tasty vegan treats like banana bread and acai bowls.
If you’ve come to Yamba in search of local seafood, look no further than Sandbar. Sandbar is run by a third generation fishing family that serves “ocean to table” style dining that’s as fresh as it gets. The menu is entirely based on what the trawlers are catching that day, which is always incredible coming from Yamba’s pristine waters.
Sandbar offers tapas and share plates, along with a delightful breakfast menu. Everything they serve is local to Yamba or its surrounding seaside villages with a focus on quality and community.
Yamba Ice Creamery
No trip to Yamba is complete without a scoop (or three) from the Yamba Icecreamery. This place has fresh Italian-style gelato that makes my mouth water just thinking about it! It’s our favourite ice cream in Australia and a must try for any Yamba visitor.
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Where to Stay in Yamba, New South Wales
Yamba accommodation is plentiful, with beachy hotels, seaside campgrounds, and caravan parks close to all the attractions.
Calypso Holiday Park
Conveniently located steps from the centre of town, Calypso Holiday Park has something for all visitors. It’s set right on the edge of the Clarence River for easy access to everything Yamba has to offer.
On-site, there’s a swimming pool, playground, and BBQ area with peaceful views of the wharf. The park offers riverfront cabins, powered caravan sites, and unpowered sites for tents or vans. Unpowered sites start at $37 or you can snag a cabin starting at $102 per night.
Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort
If you’re visiting Yamba with kids, Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort is sure to please. The grounds are set on 6 hectares of peaceful land on the banks of the Clarence River overlooking the marina.
The resort boasts several amenities from swimming pools to go karts, and even a water park. There’s a private jetty for fishing and 300 m of riverfront for swimming, paddling, or a sunset stroll. Blue Dolphin offers 1-3 bedroom villas, cabins, and powered & unpowered campsites. Unpowered sites are $42 and villas start at $140 per night.
Shelley Head Campground
There aren’t too many rustic Yamba camping grounds so you’ll have to travel south beyond Angourie to Yuraygir National Park. If you’re looking to get your fix of peaceful remote camping, Shelley Head is the spot. It’s a great launchpoint for exploring the park, or as a stop on the Yuraygir Coastal Walk. There are 10 walk-in sites with picnic tables that are free but must be booked ahead of time.
Far from the splash pads of caravan parks, Clubyamba is an adults-only retreat set in lush, peaceful gardens. The small property feels cozy and intimate, with a private setting that’s all about relaxation.
From Clubyamba, you can easily walk to Pippi Beach or into the town centre for dinner or a drink. The hotel is made up of suites and villas with fully equipped kitchens and gorgeous views. Rooms start at $168 per night.
Overlooking beautiful Yamba Main Beach, The Stella offers wonderfully designed suites with seaside charm. The property has been recently renovated with coastal chic in mind. The Stella is in the centre of Yamba, with restaurants and beaches right at your door.
Most rooms have lovely little balconies that are perfect for relaxing and admiring the view. And if you’re there on a Sunday, you can start your day with a lawn yoga session in the courtyard. The Stella offers rooms and apartments starting at $110 per night.