Yamba: Easy to reach, easy to enjoy

The growing ribbon of divided super highway along the eastern seaboard of NSW is bringing a lot of holiday destinations much closer.

Yamba is one of those prime spots, now even more easily accessible.

This not-so-sleepy coastal village always has a buzz about it in the busy summer months. But the qualities that make it such a sweet spot do not disappear with the end of summer holidays.

One of the locals: Near Brooms Head, Yuraygir National Park. Picture: Jim Kellar

One of the locals: Near Brooms Head, Yuraygir National Park. Picture: Jim Kellar

The qualities that make it such a sweet spot do not disappear with the end of summer holidays.

For starters, there is plenty of accommodation, from waterfront caravan parks with cabins, to quality apartments with ocean views on the hill above the town, to family-oriented resorts, to home rentals.

When it comes to entertainment, food and recreation, Yamba bats far above most coastal hideaways. The grand old Pacific Hotel finds locals and visitors mixing comfortably, whether in the front pub or the back dining area with its scrumptious food and great views of Yamba Beach.

The Yamba Shores Tavern is a short drive from the town centre, and somewhat off the beaten track through a residential subdivision. It’s riverside location is ideal for boaties, or anyone searching for a breeze, a good feed and a cold beer. 

The Yamba Bowling Club, located downtown, is geared up for crowds and has top games and recreation offerings for children.

Above all, visitors are drawn to Yamba for the recreational opportunities. Yuraygir National Park to the south has excellent beachside camping. The nearby village of Brooms Head has kilometres of friendly beachfront. The Sandon River, also in Yuraygir National Park, is an excellent trip for fishing, boating, or floating in the river, especially at the river’s mouth where it flows into the ocean.

On the north side of the Clarence (Yamba is on the south side), there is the lazy village of Iluka, good for browsing or getting a feed, or fishing or swimming.

West of Yamba is Maclean, which trades on its Scottish heritage. But the tidy village on the south side of the Clarence River is becoming more than a cozy retirement town, with chilled-out downtown cafes and one outstanding offering – Botero, a coffee roaster with a trendy restaurant.

My three best tips for eating out in Yamba:

#1 Wato’s Little Fish Bistro. Disguised as a fish and chips takeaway, there is much more than meets the eye, certainly when it comes to quality and creativity. Located smack on the downtown intersection of Yamba and Wooli streets, it’s stunning quality if you sit down for dinner.

#2 Thai Payu. Located in a laneway on Coldstream Street not far from the popular Yamba YHA backpackers inn (which has a rooftop bar), this little gem has been kicking goals for years with genuine Thai food and friendly service.

#3 Uptown Cafe & Bar. Super coffee and breakfast with lots of healthy, local food until noon, then trendy cocktails and dinner from 6pm. A North Coast vibe with no need for apologies. 

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