While many flock to Byron Bay when they're in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, if you’re after chilled-out vibes, Gram-worthy beaches, and an epic food scene minus the backpackers and tourists, then we suggest making tracks to Yamba. Once a sleepy fishing village, the town has become a popular summer holiday destination.
If your idea of a heavenly vacay is laying on the beach, slurping oysters, knocking back a schooey, and heading for a stroll along the coast, then book in that annual leave, hit the highway and spend a few days at this coastal gem on the North NSW Coast.
Not sure where to start? We’ve done the hard yards and scoped out the best places to eat, drink, play and stay in Yamba.
Where To Eat In Yamba
Serving up a seasonal menu that celebrates and brings together the best of the region’s local catch, organic produce, and foraged delicacies, Karrikin should be at the top of your must-do list while in Yamba. Undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in town, you’ll feast on innovative creations that are as tasty as they are beautifully plated.
Forego the boring toast at your Airbnb and head Beachwood Cafe for breakfast—we guarantee you'll hit it at least twice on your trip. Just a couple of blocks back from the beach, this airy cafe has Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-style food, awesome ambience, and a host with the most. Sevtap Yüce takes pride in her Turkish roots and even has her own cookbook. Tuck into shakshuka, feta scrambled eggs with Turkish sausage, and poached fruits for brekkie, or head in for lunch for dolmades and fresh as seafood like Yamba prawns in chilli and garlic and Turkish-style sardines.
On a Saturday night, make a beeline for Paradiso perched on the top of the hill (it’s worth the climb). With moody lighting, eclectic interior and a cracking cocktail list (the margaritas are a must), this pan-Asian restaurant is the kind of spot where you’ll want to spend the whole night. Food-wise, expect share plates like karaage chicken bao, Yamba prawn wontons, kingfish sashimi, and pork dumplings. As for drinks, it's got a bangin' cocktail list, plus beers, ciders, and wines.
Angourie Cafe & Wine Bar
The culinary legends behind Paradiso also have the ultimate day-time offering, Angourie Cafe & Wine Bar. Located just a 10-minute drive south of Yamba, this is your go-to spot for epic breakfast spreads. It's just across the road from Spooky’s Beach, so pull up a chair and tuck into generous servings of poached eggs with crushed peas, nourish bowls or, our personal fave, the goat's cheese and jalapeñ0 scrambled eggs. Going in the evening? Then settle in for tasty tapas and wines—and plenty of good times.
And while you’re in Angourie, be sure to book in a dinner next door at Barbaresco. This Italian institution is a local’s favourite, serving heavenly pizzas (the eggplant, parmesan, and ricotta one is a must), fresh seafood, and bowls and bowls of fresh pasta.
Brgr Spot is famous for its towering, finger-licking creations that are best devoured with one of their tasty cocktails. To get you drooling some of their offerings include The Mac Attack (12hr beer braised brisket, mac and cheese patty, crispy bacon and pickles on a brioche bun), and the Buffalo Billy (southern fried chicken smothered in a buttery Buffalo sauce, pickles, lettuce and topped with a blue cheese sauce).
Where To Drink In Yamba
For the best coffee, you'll need to venture just 20 minutes down the road to Maclean. Botero is a local coffee roastery that services a bunch of spots around the Northern Rivers region. Drop in for an exceptional cup of joe straight from the source. And it'd be rude not to order the Brekky Fried Rice with chorizo and mushroom.
A trip to Yamba is not complete without sinking a cold one at the Pacific Hotel. Boasting seriously stunning views of Main Beach, this place is serving pure, chilled-out holiday vibes, with a live band cranking out tunes on the weekend and a kitchen slinging tasty burgers and plates of fresh oysters daily.
Wobbly Chook Brewing Co.
Would it be a good coastal town without a craft brewery? Hopheads will want to make a beeline for Wobbly Cook, located right in the heart of Yamba. One of the few microbreweries in the Clarence Valley, this spot is perfect for knocking back a couple of schooners on a sunny arvo. Everything is brewed on-site—from lagers and pale ales to heavier brown ales and IPAs—and they even have some accommodation (should you need somewhere to rest your weary head after a day on the beers). Want to hit another brewery? Check out Sanctus Brewing Co. in nearby Townsend.
If you're more into gin, make tracks to the Clarence Distillery. While away an afternoon with a couple of G&Ts in the distillery shed after a morning surf and we reckon you'll feel maxo relaxo pretty quick. Open every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday "from 1pm'ish", the distillery offers tasting paddles and cocktails made with spirits made on-site.
Things To Do In Yamba
The Obvious Thing—Hit The Beach
There’s a beach for every type of holiday in Yamba, and the best part is they’re all equally stunning. We suggest starting your day with a refreshing dip in the ocean pool at Main Beach where you might even spot a dolphin or two on the horizon. For the perfect swimming locale for the whole gang, check out Turners Beach which is patrolled seven days a week. For something a little more secluded, we love Convent Beach, fringed by cliffs, or jump in the car and head to our favourite (and local's secret) Spooky Beach in nearby Angourie. Throw a towel down, watch the surfers do their thing and marvel at the fact that this piece of paradise is in our backyard.
Eat Your Way Around The Farmers Market
There’s no better way to see all the goodies a town has to offer than at the local farmers market and Yamba’s offering is pretty special. Held every Wednesday morning from 7am till 11am in the Whiting Beach carpark, the produce market dishes up all manner of tasty treats—so make sure you come here with an empty stomach and some large reusable bags. Stalls are packed with fresh fruit and veg, organic meat, delicious pastries and baked goods, as well as artisanal products and the perfect fiddle leaf fig for your lounge room.
Scope Out The Famous Blue And Green Pools
While you’re in Angourie soaking up the rays at Spooks, take a little detour to the famous Blue And Green Pools. Simply follow the sandy path to the freshwater springs that are hugged by a rugged rock face—a popular diving spot for those who dare. FYI, we did not dare on our most recent trip.
Take A Hike
After a few days of wining, dining, and beach lying, you might want to get some steps in (but if you don't, you keep doing the good work). One of the best walks around is the 65km Yuraygir Coastal Walk. Now, we're not saying you need to do all of this multi-day hike (although it is stunning), so if you're looking to do just a stretch of it, the 10km-return Angourie Walking Track is the one thanks to its scenic lookout, coastal views, and whale watching opportunities.
Drop Some Cash At Yamba Boutiques
The main hub of Yamba is dotted with a bunch of epic boutiques that will have you reaching for the credit card fast. For a selection of Aussie brands like Rowie and Zulu & Zephyr check out Podium tucked away at the far end of Yamba Street. For truly dreamy interior design, we’re straight up obsessed with everything inside the Island Collective.
Where To Stay In Yamba
The Black Ace
A 110-year-old restored cottage is now an incredibly stylish and modern Airbnb made for entertaining. With a games room, sound system, coffee machine, and the capacity to sleep 14, you will be looking for a reason to have the ultimate getaway. Book here.
Oceanfront Private Bungalow
You're on a beach holiday, so it'd be rude not to stay somewhere with unobstructed ocean views. This private bungalow is an absolute pearler if you're planning a romantic getaway to Yamba. This simple 50s bungalow is perched on the rocks, has direct beach access just meters from the front door, and has a timber balcony where you can watch the dolphins and whales and kick back with sundowners. Book here.
Angourie Rainforest Resort
Nestled amongst lush subtropical rainforest between Yamba and Angourie, this oasis among the trees boasts a day spa, tennis courts, a gym, playground, on-site restaurant and a pristine pool. There’s actually no need to step foot outside this retreat. Book here.
This two-bedroom beauty comes decked out with plush queen beds, a brand new kitchen, and a superb deck that overlooks Main Beach. It's a stone's throw from the Pacific Hotel and the lighthouse—plus it's got private access to the beach. Heaven. Book here.
Moby Dick Resort
All rooms at this resort have balconies overlooking the serenity of the Clarence River, making it perfect for sunset wining and dining with your significant other. Have a fish from the private jetty, or take a dip in the saltwater pool. Moby Dick Resort is an all-round great place to stay. Book here.
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Image Credit: Destination NSW, Karrikin, Paradiso, Destination NSW, Destination NSW, Pacific Hotel, Clarence Distilling, Destination NSW, The Legendary Pacific Coast, Destination NSW, Airbnb, Airbnb, Airbnb