Roadtrip around Yamba, NSW

Angourie-Point-Yamba-NSW-ocean-ivan-frolov-travellarks-roadtrip

Roadtrip around Yamba – coastal escapades & river life

Yamba, a charming seaside town located on the northern coast of New South Wales, is rich history and plenty to offer visitors. Prior to European settlement, the region was occupied by the Yaegl Aboriginal people, with their deep connection to the land and water, central to their identity.

European settlement began in the late 18th century, establishing local industry such as timber, farming, and fishing. Yamba developed economically as a port town in the mid-19th century, with its exports of timber and agricultural products. The iconic Yamba Lighthouse was constructed in 1955 following less robust former structures, key to safety at sea along the rugged coastline as well as a popular tourist attraction.

Now a thriving and seaside village with its Clarence River inland, Yamba offers stunning sights and experiences, perfect for roadtrip adventures! Having based yourself in Coff’s, Yamba or better still, the historic Ulmarra on the Clarence River, you can’t fit Travellarks’ itinerary in on one day but we’ve mapped out choices and everything is really close for your stay in the Clarence Valley Region. Accommodation options North Coast NSW. So many towns each with their own DNA, welcoming hospitality, local economies, markets and accommodation by Travellarks.

STOP 1: Yuraygir National Park

Head to Yuraygir National Park located between Yamba and Coffs Harbour with its spectacular coastal vistas. If you’re a hiker, and you’ve got time and inclination, you’ll enjoy the 65km Yuraygir coastal walk! If you’re not so energetic or don’t have time, you might prefer whale watching, swimming and fishing. If you thought to pack a lunch, there’s no end of picnic places at Yuraygir National Park.

Yuraygir-National-Park-North-Coast-NSW-John-Chudleigh-Travellarks-Roadtrip

STOP 2: Angourie Blue Pool

About 40 kilometres drive. is Angourie Blue Pool, a natural freshwater pool awaits, that’s nestled among coastal rocks with its open invitation for a refreshing swim or snorkelling amongst teeming marine life.

Angourie-Blue-Pool-Yamba-NSW-reading-on-a-rock-Travellarks
Angourie-Blue-Pool-Yamba-NSW-reading-on-a-rock-Travellarks-Roadtrip

STOP 3: Angourie Point & Beach

Following a refreshing swim at Angourie Blue Pool it’s a very short drive (1.5 kilometres) to Angourie Point and Beach, known for its waves and beautiful surroundings. For most visitors it’s a top spot for observing experienced surfers and is not really a swimming beach. It’s a small, steep sandy bay. To the north you’ll spot a rock shelf, extending 150 metres to link with Spookys. The rock shelf is famously called “Life or Death” – how surfers can end up in a situation if they are overpowered by the Angourie line up of waves or have surfed on a wave too far across the bay. Caution here, it’s for experienced surfers. But it’s great to observe.  There’s cold water, open showers available in the often-busy carpark.

Spookys-Angourie-Yamba-NSW-aerial-view-spookys-Travellarks
Spookys-Angourie-Yamba-NSW-aerial-view-Spookys-Travellarks-Roartrip

STOP 4: Green Point

Up the road 4.5 kilometres is Green Point, one of 3 headlands located northernmost of Angourie’s trio of heavenly headlands. Not recommended as a swimming spot, it’s the perfect spot for whale spotting or dolphin diving, or if you are there at dawn or dusk, sunrise or sunset it’s astonishing along with your coffee flask, bakery buns or fizzy and cheese snacks if its late in the day. Had enough?

STOP 5: Yamba Lighthouse

Down the road, 5.5 kilometres, is Yamba Lighthouse located on Pilot Hill. It’s lit the way for sea farers for over 100 years, visible 6 nautical miles out at sea. The grounds are open all day and a climb to the top of the lighthouse for ocean views is just the thing along with your favourite. beverage at sunset. The tower is not open. History of the lighthouse can be found here Yamba Lighthouse.

Yamba-Lighthouse-NSW-Travellarks
Yamba-Lighthouse-NSW-Travellarks-Roadtrip

STOP 5: Illuka Nature Reserve

Travelling 25 kilometres from the lighthouse to Iluka Nature Reserve you’ll need to cross the river in one of 2 ways;

    • Iluka Ferry (takes people and vehicles), or
    • Harwood Bridge which crosses the Clarence River. If you’re driving.

Once there, if you’re a bushwalker there’s a ton of walking tracks, which wind through diverse ecosystems including coastal heathland, rainforest, and wetlands. Go through the reserve to discover hidden waterfalls, tranquil creeks, and native wildlife.

Birdwatchers can look for over 150 diverse species so don’t forget the binoculars.

Anglers or amateur fisherman can cast a line from the banks of the Clarence River or one of the reserve’s many creeks and estuaries for bream, flathead, and whiting.

Fancy canoeing or kayaking? Paddle through mangrove forests, tranquil creeks, and scenic waterways. If you haven’t brought your own equipment or want an introduction to the environs contact The Kayak Company; or Yamba Kayaks;  Journeys Outdoors in Nature. More stories about this extraordinary white water trail here Coast Beat.

Note, the Clarence Canoe and Kayak Trail is not a beginner’s river.

STOP 6: Fishing at Lake Wooloweyah (optional)

Try your luck at catching dinner and head to Lake Wooloweyah for some excellent fishing of bream, flathead, and whiting. The drive from Iluka Nature Reserve is about 10-15 minutes, or 10 kilometres. Relax by the water’s edge, cast a line, or launch a canoe.

STOP 7: Maclean

Eight kilometres away is the ‘wee’ Scottish town of MacLean where you can blink and almost miss it. Take a walk around to enjoy the town’s heritage buildings, some traditional Scottish fare, or simply take a stroll along the picturesque riverfront.

STOP 8: Ulmarra via the Clarence River Ferry

Clarence River Ferries – this is a must do to optimize your zen and zest for tranquillity. For timetables look up Clarence River Ferries

People and vehicles can cross the scenic and serene scenery across the Clarence River, and driving off at Ulmarra you will be utterly gobsmacked at landing almost on the doorstep of the famous Ulmarra Hotel, a Federation beauty where you can quench your thirst, wine & dine gastro pub style (no joke) Gastro pub dining in buzzy surrounds or their award winning Beer Garden on a fine summer, spring, autumn or winters day. Serving lunch and dinner 7 days, the tireless publican, chef & their team welcome you to be delighted afterwards with their vast array of puddings, desserts & ice-creams – leave room for it you won’t regret it. Feeling totally fagged, then you can check into the Ulmarra Hotel’s accommodation clean, airy and super comfy, country hotel style digs.  For more look up North Coast Accommodation

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Ulmarra-Hotel-Gastro-pub-dining-Ulmarra-NSW-Travellarks-Roadtrip

  1. Eat Local:

Yamba Beach and Ocean Pool:

Back at Yamba don’t forget the Yamba Main Beach and Ocean Pool which is your typical east coast ‘ocean pool’ built into the rocks at its southern end. Everyone feels safe within the confines of the rock pool and it’s warmer than the ocean, just a little. Nearby is the Surf Lifesaving club, and the iconic  Pacific Hotel (pub meals are good here too) overlooking it all. It’s a classic beach scene loved over the decades, full of cheeky kids, bronzed Aussies, families both locals and visitors, lapping up what’s so good about being in Yamba. The beach is patrolled on weekends and during school holidays between September and Easter, and has well-considered disabled access

Remember to check for any travel restrictions, warnings around coastal safety and be alert to signage for your protection. Be conscious of the Australian Warning System. In NSW look up the latest information NSW Prepare & Alert and for live information, you can monitor FaceBook. Before travelling, ensure you have access to a geographical location finder that works via Australia’s national 000 (triple zero) emergency, eg. Emergency Plus or others which you can download.

Warnings in hot weather about fire  or updates before embarking on your road trip, and always respect the natural environment and local communities along the way. Enjoy your adventure in Yamba!

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