Destination Inspiration: Yamba, New South Wales, Australia
Yamba ranks as one of Australia's best-kept-secrets. A lesser-trodden town that flaunts a pristine coastline, it’s a must-visit destination for foodies, surfers and those seeking an off-grid escape.
21 February, 2022
Yamba, New South Wales, Australia.
Slotted between Queensland and Victoria, New South Wales is located on Australia's east coast. Founded in 1788, it was originally the home to Aboriginal tribes. Today, its population stands at around eight million, making it the country's most populous state. Though NSW is often recognised for the breathtaking Bondi Beach and the sparkling capital of Sydney, there's a whole bevy of lesser-trodden towns to discover.
Enter, Yamba. Sitting in the north of NSW and at the mouth of the Clarence River, this sleepy fishing town remains virtually undiscovered. But what it lacks in tourist footfall, it makes up for in community spirit. Take the Yamba Surf Lifesaving Club. Formed in 1908, making it one of the oldest surf clubs in the world, it continues to go from strength to strength today. In the same way, the town's centuries-old sugar cane and oyster industry remain Yamba's beating heart.
With that in mind, we're pegging Yamba as an ideal base for those who prefer to go off-grid and lose themselves within a local lifestyle. Thrill-seekers should carve out time to swing by Angourie's Blue and Green Pools: the former quarry-turned-freshwater lagoon is the perfect rock-diving spot.
Foodies should keep their Wednesday morning free for a (taste-testing) ramble around the Yamba Farmers and Producers Market. With farmers, bakers and artisans as stallholders, this place is flooded with seasonal produce, elevating your picnic basket to heavenly hamper. Prefer something a little more challenging? Make the 45-minute drive to Iluka Nature Reserve, where you'll find plenty of trails on offer for a scenic hike around New South Wales' largest coastal rainforest.
Where to stay?
Bed down at The Surf Yamba. The brainchild of brothers David, Andrew and Phillip Mayne, this intimate 12-room boutique hotel oozes a stylish Scandi-style aesthetic. Picture wicker chairs, earth-toned furnishings, hints of blush detailing and a smattering of Italian terrazzo tiles. Mornings should start with a gentle paddle in its plunge pool on the rooftop terrace, where, with each lap, you'll soak up sweeping views across Main Beach.
Where to go for breakfast?
Just a four-minute stroll from the sandy shore of Spooky Beach, you'll find Angourie Café & Wine Bar. Offering espresso shots alongside a delicious brunch selection - crushed peas, basil and poached eggs on sourdough toast, anyone? - this is Yamba's tastiest and best-loved breakfast spot. Come before midday to snag one of the fresh muffins. You'll soon burn off the extra calories bobbing about in the waves.
And for a drink…
No place does it like Paradiso. Inside, an impressive bar takes centre stage, framed by floor-to-ceiling windows, reclaimed timber and lantern-like pendant lights. To enjoy its lively but laid-back atmosphere, come for 8pm. We recommend the Stormy Paradiso cocktail - a potent blend of spiced rum and ginger beer. And, a heads-up, if you're feeling peckish, the handmade dumplings are seriously worth shouting about.
Who to take with you
Someone who's been counting down all 703 days to Australia's borders reopening.
When to go
You'd be hard-pressed to visit Australia on a bad day, but we're pegging March to May as its picture-perfect time, when temperatures are enjoyable and crowds remain minimal.
Essentials to pack
This Pendleton multicoloured cotton-velour towel is the perfect partner for beach-hopping.
How to get there
Take a direct flight from London Heathrow to Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport with Qantas. From there, hop on a flight to Grafton Regional Airport, from where it's a drive of around an hour-and-a-quarter to Yamba. If the thought of a 19-hour flight makes you nauseous, look to book a flight with a stopover and enjoy a whirlwind city break. Singapore and Abu Dhabi: we're looking at you.