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 (about a three hour drive south of Brisbane) is now the ultimate destination for a beach weekender.
Not sure where to start? We’ve done the hard yards (and eaten at all the restaurants) to create the ultimate guide to make a trip to Yamba one for the books.
Things To Do
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. 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's Beach in nearby Angourie. Throw a towel down, watch the surfers do their thing and marvel in the fact that this piece of paradise is in our backyard.
Eat Your Way Around The Farmer’s Market
There’s no better way to see all the goodies a town has to offer than at the local farmer’s market and Yamba’s offering is pretty special. Held every Wednesday morning from 7am to 11am in the Whiting Beach carpark, make sure you come here with an empty stomach and 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 Spooky’s, 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.
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 linen threads and organic beauty head to Last Day Of May (and stop in at Drift next door for a cheeky mid-shopping cocktail) and for truly dreamy interior design we’re straight up obsessed with everything inside the Island Collective.
Where To Eat & Drink
Yamba might be small in size but it’s big on producing absolute flavour bombs. Eat your way around this list and you’ll leave feeling very satisfied.
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 holidays vibes, with a live band cranking out tunes on the weekend and a kitchen slinging tasty burgers and plates of fresh oysters daily.
Serving up a seasonal menu that celebrates and brings together the best of the region’s local catch, organic produce, and foraged delicacies, put dinner at Karrikin to 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.
On 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) you’ll want to spend the whole night here. The modern Asian menu features moreish dishes like eggplant bao, duck spring rolls and pork dumplings.
The culinary legends behind Paradiso also have the ultimate day-time offering, Cafe Angourie. Located just a 10 minute drive out of Yamba, this is your go-to spot for epic breakfast spreads. Found just across the road from Spooky’s Beach, pull up a chair and tuck into generous servings of corn fritters and avo, nourish bowls or our personal fave, the goats cheese chilli scramble eggs.
While you’re in Angourie, be sure to book in for a weekend dinner next door at Barbaresco. This Italian institution is a local’s favourite, serving heavenly pizzas (the eggplant, parmesan and ricotta is a must), fresh seafood and melt-in-your-mouth pasta.
Brgr Spot is famous for their 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 Stay
Yamba is one chilled out spot, with most wanderlust seekers renting out one of the many homely Airbnbs on offer. Our tip? If you plan on eating and drinking your way around the town (obviously) and don’t want the hassle of trying to order an Uber (there aren’t any), try to stick to the main traps like Yamba Street, Clarence Street and Marine Parade and their adjoining side streets. If you prefer a serviced apartment, we love The Cove perched at the top of Main Beach which scores you a front row seat to the most amazing sunset every single day. Pure bliss.
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Image Credit: Destination NSW, Brgr Spot, Karrikin, Apilarinos, fromabove.images