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25+ Things to Do in Yamba: The Northern Rivers’ Most Authentic Beach Town

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Yamba is the quintessential Australian surf town that keeps pulling us back.

I took Kelli to Yamba as part of our east-coast road trip when she first came to visit Australia in 2017, and we returned in 2021 as part of our Australia driving adventures, when we camped in the Yuraygir National Park.

We found ourselves back again, on a blowy autumn weekend in April 2023. Once again we were reminded that Yamba is one of the most picturesque and charming seaside towns on the eastern seaboard or, in fact, anywhere in Australia, with a unique combination of natural beauty, and timeless coastal charm.

Checking into our favorite accommodation, the loud, brash, and perfectly positioned Pacific Hotel, we posted a quick photo of the iconic view of Yamba’s headland from the equally iconic hotel, perched high on the cliffs above Main Beach. Immediately the phone began pinging.

“Yamba?” | “Where dis?” | “You guys in Yamba??!” | “Wow! What a view!” | “I love Yamba!” | “So beautiful!” |

Yamba tends to evoke that sort of response. Either an immediate sense of recognition and nostalgia from those who have been before or one of curiosity and awe from those yet to experience it.

One message came from our friend Alice, “You should have told me you were going to Yamba!!! Wait, I am emailing you some recommendations.” And so she did, a carefully crafted list of the things to do and the things to swerve that she had been compiling over a lifetime of visiting Yamba with her family at their holiday home.

Armed with her email we set about trying out some of her recommendations of all the things to do in Yamba and nearby Angourie.

And now we present Alice’s Yamba Do, Eat, Drink, Shop recommendations as tested by us!

Where Is Yamba?

Yamba is 7 hours north of Sydney, 3 hours south of Brisbane, and just over an hour from Byron Bay, and the nearest airport in Ballina.

It seems to be just far away enough from the throngs of local and international tourists that have (dare we say) ruined places like Surfers Paradise and Byron Bay… at least for now.

Yamba is perfectly located within a naturally abundant pocket of New South Wales’ Northern Rivers region. It is situated on the banks of the Clarence River just south of Iluka and just to the north of one of Australia’s prettiest and most important surf reserves, the tiny village of Angourie. Further to the south, the state’s largest coastal reserve, the stunning Yuraygir National Park covers 65 kilometers of rugged coastline.

Things to Do in Yamba

With so many wonderful experiences on offer in this classic Aussie surf town, we have broken them up by category to help you get the most out of your Yamba trip. In this list, you’ll find seemingly endless beaches to explore, walking trails, outdoor activities, activities to do in town, dining and drinking, shopping, and some of the most iconic places to stay in Yamba.

Explore the Yamba Beaches

Of course, if you are going to the beach, you are likely going to want to spend some time with the sand between your toes. Yamba has an abundance of picturesque beaches just waiting to be discovered.

Main Beach, Yamba

Main beach in Yamba

Picture-perfect Main Beach at Yamba looks as though it has been lifted straight out of a postcard. Backed by cliffs, enclosed by beautiful stony headlands, fringed with pandanus, and complete with a tidal swimming pool, lifeguards, toilets, and surf life-saving club, it’s the perfect place to spend a beach day.

Access is via a steep walkway, and the little beach can get crowded in busy periods, but it is a must-see on your Yamba trip, especially in the early morning or late afternoon.

Convent Beach, Yamba

This pretty beach offers a small stretch of sand enclosed by two stone headlands and plenty of vegetation and beautiful pandanus palms providing shady nooks to escape the sun.

Pippi Beach, Yamba

A long exposed beach to the south of Yamba’s main town, Pippi Beach is perfect for long walks and has an off-leash area for dogs near Flat Rock. While there may not be as many pipis as in the past, you can still find them just under the sand at low tide.

Turners Beach, Yamba

Protected by the breakwater that marks the mouth of the Clarence River Turners is often (but not always) the spot to learn to surf with gentle waves.

Whiting Beach, Yamba

Inside the same breakwater, Whiting Beach is even more protected with clear gentle water perfect for kids, or those looking for a more tranquil experience.

Explore the Angourie Beaches

Five kilometers south of Yamba is the iconic village of Angourie. A national surfing reserve made famous by the 70’s surf documentary Morning of the Earth and surrounded by the protected Yuraygir National Park it has retained its natural beauty and primitive feel.

Spooky Beach, Angourie

Spooky Beach is the first of the Angourie beaches. The beach itself is rugged and pretty with small boulders, pandanus, and rocky outcrops extending into the water. The beach is unpatrolled so swim at your own risk. When the swell is right you may see surfers here. Fishermen can also be spotted, casting off from the rocky outcrops.

Point Beach, Angourie

A picture of Angourie Point Beach

When the swell is up expect to find the point break packed with local surfers and the car park busy with spectators.

Absolutely stunning, and with one of the country’s most famous point breaks, Angourie and specifically the point have become an almost mythical mecca for Aussie surfers.

The grassy headland that juts out into the Pacific separating Angourie Point Beach and Angourie Back Beach is a beautiful short walk, take a picnic and relax on the headland, watching the surfers brave the powerful wave.

Back Beach, Angourie

Angourie Back Beach

A picturesque beach perfect for a long walk. Back beach has beautiful clear blue water and, often, a nice left-hander that peels off the point

Walks in Yamba

Exploring on foot is one of the best ways to experience the little town and the surrounding landmarks. While you don’t really need a map or a planned route to get out and explore, there are a couple of popular trails to get to know the area.

Many of the longer trails, especially those found in the Yuraygir National Park are unpaved and some are quite strenuous and exposed. In summer it is usually best to walk earlier in the mornings to avoid the heat of the day.

Clarence River Inlet via Turners Beach and the Yamba Break Wall

This quick and easy 2.4-km out-and-back trail should take around 30 minutes to complete and is perfect for the whole family including Fido. The flat, well-maintained trail begins behind Turners Beach and takes walkers out along the break wall where you can observe sea birds, water dragons, and occasionally dolphins. The route is also popular amongst runners and cyclists.

Lover’s Point Loop

This 1.4-km loop trail is considered an easy route, great for birding, hiking, and running. With great swimming beaches, playgrounds, and perfect picnic spots nearby. The short circuit should only take 15 – 30 minutes and is a popular route for families.

Durrangan Lookout via Angourie Walking Track

Located near Lake Woolweyah. This 5.8 km out-and-back trail begins and ends at the Mara Creek Picnic Area. Considered a relatively moderate route, it takes an average of 1 – 1.5 hours to complete. Offering coastal views the the trail itself is a nice firm sandy track leading you all the way to the cliff line where you’ll find the Durrangan Lookout.

A walk in the Yuraygir National Park

Yamba and Clarence River Walk

This slightly longer trail takes in some of the area’s most iconic sights including the streets of Yamba, the Clarence River, Hickey Island, the breakwater wall, and the Lighthouse. At 7.6 km it should take around 1.5 – 2 hours to complete.

Pippi Beach Walk

This long stretch of beach is perfect for a long stroll. There is a dog area at the southern end.

Iluka Rainforest Walk

The Iluka Rainforest Walk is a scenic walking trail located in Iluka, the town to the north of Yamba across the Clarence River. The 5.5 km walk takes visitors through the lush and diverse rainforest of the Bundjalung National Park, which is home to an array of unique flora and fauna.

The relatively easy trail is approximately 5.5 kilometers long, takes around 1 hour to complete, and is suitable for visitors of all ages and fitness levels. The highlight of the walk is the stunning Iluka Bluff Lookout, which offers breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding landscape.

Yuraygir Coastal Walk

The headland at Angourie

For those looking for a true challenge, the Yuraygir Coastal Walk is a scenic 65 km-long trail that follows the ancient wandering trails of Australia’s coastal emus.

Hikers can choose to tackle the entire trail over several days camping along the way or select specific sections to explore between Angourie and Red Rock.

The trail takes walkers past stunning beaches, rocky cliffs, and crystal-clear waters. Along the way, hikers may also encounter a variety of wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, dolphins, and a variety of birdlife.

Outdoor Things to Do in Yamba

Yamba Farmers and Producers Market

Held on Wednesday mornings between 7 – 11 am at the Whiting Beach Carpark next to Turners Beach and the Yamba Breakwall the Yamba Farmers and Producer Market offers the best local produce from around the Clarence Valley. As it supplies many of the local cafes and restaurants, you’ll need to get there early to get your hands on the best veggies, meats, deli, dairy, and much more.

Yamba River Markets

Stall at the Yamba River Markets

Set on the banks of the Clarence River, this popular weekend market is held on the fourth Sunday of every month and features stalls offering everything from local produce and handmade crafts to clothing, jewelry, and homewares. Additionally, the markets showcase an array of local and international cuisine, including freshly baked bread, artisanal cheeses, seafood, and coffee, as well as live music and entertainment.

Swim in the Main Beach Ocean Pool 

Yamba Main Beach

This ocean pool built into the rock at the south end of Yamba Main Beach, is great for a swim without worrying about waves or currents.

Filled with saltwater from the ocean the pool is protected by a concrete breakwall, which helps to create a calm and safe swimming environment even when the ocean conditions are rough.


Fishing is a popular pastime in Yamba and the area offers a variety of different opportunities. Its position on the banks of the Clarence River means it is home to a wide range of fish species, including bream, whiting, flathead, and mullet.

There are several options for fishing in Yamba, including shore fishing, rock fishing, and boat fishing. Shore fishing can be done from the beaches or the riverbank, while rock fishing can be done from the break wall or the many rocky headlands along the coastline. Boat fishing is another popular option, with several charter operators in the area offering fishing trips and tours.

Before fishing in Yamba, it is important to obtain the necessary permits and licenses. Fishing regulations and bag limits apply in New South Wales, and it is important to follow these rules to protect the fish populations and the environment.

Also, be aware of the potential risks associated with fishing in Yamba. Rock fishing can be particularly hazardous, and it is important to take precautions such as wearing appropriate footwear and safety gear, fishing with a partner, and being aware of the tides and weather conditions.

Visit the Yamba Lighthouse

Yamba Lighthouse

Take a short walk to the Yamba lighthouse. Taking pride of place on the northern headland above the main beach the hill here offers sensational views of surrounding beaches and the Clarence River. With a sprawling green lawn, it’s the perfect location to take in the sunset with a bottle of wine or a parcel of greasy goodness from the fisho.

From the lighthouse, you can also find the little track that takes you to the top of the cliffs to sit and have a drink.

Stand Up Paddleboarding & Kayaking in Yamba

There are several locations in and around Yamba where you can enjoy a paddle.

One of the most popular places to go for a paddle in Yamba is Whiting Beach, which is a sheltered inlet that provides calm waters and stunning views of the surrounding coastline.

Another popular spot for kayakers and paddle boarders is the Clarence River, which offers a variety of different conditions depending on the location and time of day. Some popular launch points on the Clarence River include the Yamba Marina and the nearby town of Maclean.

Looking to get out on the water?

Find rentals in Yamba here!

Drop in for a Game at the Yamba Golf Club

The Yamba Golf & Country Club is situated on the banks of the Clarence River offering beautiful views of the surroundings. With an 18-hole, par 70 layout the course is suitable for players of all skill levels.

In addition to the golf course, the Yamba Golf & Country Club also features a range of other facilities and amenities, including a pro shop, and a clubhouse with a bar and restaurant. The clubhouse offers a range of delicious food and drinks, with stunning views of the golf course and surrounding countryside.

Learn to Surf

Angourie Point Beach see from the stairway above the beach

Yamba is a popular surfing destination, with a range of different surf breaks and conditions to suit beginners and experienced surfers alike. There are several surf schools and surf camps in the area that offer surf lessons and equipment rentals.

There is a range of surf schools offering lessons for all skill levels, from complete beginners to advanced surfers. Surf schools provide all the necessary equipment, including surfboards, wetsuits, and rash vests, and offer group lessons, private lessons, and multi-day surf camps.

Lessons usually take place at one of the local surf breaks, such as Main Beach, Pippi Beach, or Turners Beach, depending on the conditions and the skill level of the students.

Family Things to Do in Yamba

Catch a Flick at the Iconic Yamba Cinema

The outside of the Yamba Cinema

The longstanding Yamba Theatre may not be the newest or most luxurious cinema, but it remains a favorite pastime of holidaymakers especially on wet or windy days.

Explore the Angourie Rock Pools

Situated between Spooky Beach and Angourie Point Beach the Angourie Rock Pools are a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and exploring the marine life of the area.

The Angourie Rock Pools are fed by ocean tides and are home to a variety of marine creatures, including fish, crabs, starfish, and anemones. Explorers can discover the pools at low tide, when the water is calm and clear, and get an up-close look at the fascinating marine life.

Beware, the Main Beach Rock Pools can be hazardous, particularly at high tide or during rough ocean conditions. Exercise caution and pay attention to safety signs and warnings posted in the area.

Picnic at the Angourie Green and Blue Pools

Tranquil and naturally beautiful, the Angourie Green and Blue Pools are two popular swimming holes located behind the headland separating Spooky Beach and Point Beach in Angourie

The pools were formed when an excavated quarry was filled by an underground spring. They are popular for swimming, cliff jumping, and sunbathing. It is also a great spot for picnicking and relaxing in the natural surroundings.

The pools are sometimes closed due to algae bloom, and this is more common in the warmer months.

Yamba Bowls Club

A picture of the Yamba Bowling Greens

A game of lawn bowls is just the beginning at the Yamba Bowls Club which also offers, mini-golf, a rock climbing wall, ten-pin bowling, and arcade, regular gigs and events, and a full-service bar and restaurant. The Yamba bowls club is a great place to head on a sunny day to enjoy the lawns or on a rainy day with the kids looking for indoor activities.

Things to Eat & Drink in Yamba

Yamba has plenty of options for dining from cheap and cheerful breakfast spots to fine dining restaurants offering set menu dining experiences and everything in between.

For a complete round-up of all the best places to eat and drink in Yamba, check out 14 of the Best Restaurants in Yamba.

Some of our favorites are below.


A creative dish from the Karrikin Restaurant

Karrikin offers a set four-course set menu that changes with the seasons and the available produce.

Celebrating unique Australian flavors, the ever-evolving menu offers something new each visit which is why it is one of the best Yamba restaurants for dinner.

Beyond their food, a thoughtful wine and cocktail menu complements the meal perfectly. A warm and inviting space has been carefully created in a converted house. At $80 a head, the restaurant offers wonderful value for those looking for a special dining experience.

Beachwood Café

Focusing on the Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern flavors of the owner’s homeland Turkey and using local produce, Beachwood has become a firm favorite amongst locals and return visitors.

Beachwood Cafe is licensed and open Tuesday to Sunday for breakfast from 7 am–11 am and lunch from 11:30 am to 2 pm.

  • Where: 22 High St, Yamba
  • When: 7 am – 11 am and 11:30 am – 2 pm Tuesday to Saturday
  • Price: $15 – $30 a plate

El Ocaso

From the owners of the popular Barbaresco restaurant formerly at Angourie, El Ocaso is a new Yamba experience. Focusing on inventive modern Aussie cuisine with a southern European flavor, El Ocaso is yet another offering in Yamba’s increasingly sophisticated dining scene.

  • Where: 18 Coldstream St, Yamba
  • When: Sittings from 5:30 pm – 8:45 pm Tuesday – Friday | 5 pm – 9 pm Saturday
  • Price: $30 -$60 a plate


A top down shot of a coffee with latte art

Sourcing seasonal local ingredients to create modern brunch classics and delicious coffee, Gather is one of Yamba’s best breakfast options. Bacon and egg rolls, eggs benny, and avocado and peas are just a few of the many delicious options available.

With a wine, beer, and cocktail menu that kicks off at 11 am each day, it’s an equally good choice for lunch. On Fridays and Saturdays, Gather is also open evenings from 4 pm – 7:30 pm.

  • Where: 14 Clarence St, Yamba
  • When: 7 am – 1 pm Daily | 4 pm – 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday
  • Price: $9 – $28 a plate

The Pacific Hotel

The Pacific Hotel is perhaps the most popular place for locals and tourists to go for a drink. Boasting amazing views during the day and at sunset, live music four days a week, a pool table, TVs to catch the game and at times a rowdy atmosphere, especially on a Friday or Saturday night, the Pacific is the best place to see the locals in action.

The Clarence Gin Distillery & Bar

Off the main street, tucked away in the industrial area, those who make the journey will be well rewarded. The local distillery produces a range of artisanal gins and vodkas, which are made using locally sourced botanicals and traditional distilling techniques.

You can sample tasting paddles and cocktails including the delicious basil smash and the vodka spider made with the spirits and complemented with Stangelove Soda’s and Tonics.

  • Where: 5 Neptune Place, Yamba
  • When: 1 pm – 6 pm Saturday, Wednesday & Friday
  • Price: Cocktail from $15 & Tasting Paddles from $16

Shopping in Yamba

Yamba main street round-about

If you are planning a little retail therapy on your trip, Yamba has the goods with a number of local boutique shops. There are heaps of shops on the main street, however a few favorite boutiques are;

One Country Mouse

The One Country Mouse is a popular boutique offering a range of unique and stylish clothing, accessories, homewares, and gifts, with a focus on quality, craftsmanship, and sustainability.

One Country Mouse Kids

The sister store to one country mouse across the road, stocks luxury baby & kids’ clothing, giftware, toys, and homewares.


Get the gear and the look at local surf shop Podium. With a wide range of surfboards, wetsuits, clothing, accessories, and surf-related merchandise for men, women, and children.

Belinda’s Store 

Belinda’s is a boutique fashion store located down a side lane. The store offers a wide range of clothing, accessories, and footwear for women, with a focus on quality, style, and comfort.

The Corner Store

The Corner Store in Yamba is a boutique store that offers a curated collection of women’s clothing, footwear, accessories, and homeware. The store is known for its stylish and unique pieces, which are sourced from both local and international designers.

Coral Wellbeing Boutique

Coral Wellbeing Boutique is a health and wellness store located in Yamba, New South Wales, Australia. The store offers a wide range of natural health and beauty products, as well as organic foods and supplements.

Bowen’s Delicatessen and Fine Foods

If locally sourced produce is your cup of tea, then you will want to stop in at Bowen’s Delicatessen and Fine Foods. Located near the Coles supermarket, we recommend stopping here on your way into Yamba to stock up on delicious goodies for the beach.

Shack Yamba

Another boutique focused on women’s apparel and home goods the, Shack Yamba also showcases artwork featuring scenes from beach towns along the eastern seaboard and further afield.

Where to Stay in Yamba

There are loads of places to stay in Yamba but here are a few of our favorites!

Pacific Lodge and Holiday Homes in Yamba

the view of Yamba main beach from the Pacific lodge

If you’re looking for holiday homes there are plenty to choose from in Yamba and Angourie. From small studio apartments to large beach houses, big enough for multiple families.

One of the best spots in Yamba belongs to Pacific Lodge, one of Yamba’s original holiday properties on Pilot Hill the home offers unparalleled views. The carefully curated space recalls classic beach holidays of the 50s but has been thoughtfully designed for modern families and groups to enjoy.

Check Availability for Pacific Lodge and Othe Holiday Homes

The Pacific Hotel

The Pacific Hotel seen from Main Beach. A visit to the Pacific hotel is one of the best things to do in Yamba

Our favorite place to stay is Yamba. The paint is peeling, and many of the rooms are unrenovated and basic and get noise from the downstairs bar, especially on weekends. And yet, it staying above the iconic pub, enjoying the incredible views, and soaking up the atmosphere of one of the town’s most iconic institutions there is nowhere we would rather stay. It also happens to be the cheapest accommodation in Yamba with private 4-person bunk rooms starting for less than $100 dollars a night.

Check Prices Now on Your Favorite Platform!

The Surf

Overlooking Yamba’s magic main beach, The Surf Yamba provides 5-star boutique accommodation. Rooms are appointed with balconies enjoying views of the beach and Pacific Ocean. The rooftop terraces enjoy panoramic views with a heated pool, sundeck & indoor/outdoor lounge. Prices start from $300 a night in low-season

Check Prices Now on Your Favorite Platform!

Yuraygir National Park

If you’re looking to get off-grid, enjoy nature, and want to find the cheapest accommodation near Yamba, camping in the Yaligir National Park is highly recommended. With a range of basic campsites suitable for various styles of self-sufficient camping.

Check Availability Now

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Hopefully, you have found some things to do in Yamba!

What are your favorite things to do in Yamba? Let us know in the comments below.


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