Before we hit Brisbane we stopped into Yamba, for an overnight to catch up with family that was camping at Dolphin Caravan Park.
It’s quiet, the breaks are known to be some of the best in Australia, and you are not fighting for waves. Of an evening you can chill out and give your body time to rejuvenate to prepare for another day of surfing. There are no wild night club hot spots here, no wild drunken debauchery or louts tearing up the streets. It’s early to bed here and early to rise to greet a usual warm, sunny day. It’s a one street town of cafes and restaurants sitting under shady trees that are chilled out, yet classy, and boast delicious meals.
We can vouch for the Wato’s fish and chips on the corner. Not your usual fish and chip shop with Pluto pups and frozen calamari rings. Whatever is cooked here is made from scratch: potato and sweet potato scallops, mouth-watering calamari and then there are the seafood dishes that you’ll never find anywhere in another take away chipper: seafood laksa and coconut curry.
Sunset is said to be the magical time to be sitting on the deck watching the sky wash over in orange and pink hues. Yamba is of course famous for seafood, particularly prawns. If you climb up to the lighthouse hill of an evening and look back down the river you’ll see the lights of the trawler boats prawning for the evening.
You have 16 pristine beaches to choose from in the area. We walked from the breakwall past Turner’s Beach to Main Beach. The surf looked clean and like it was breaking nicely to my novice-surfie eyes. Why the waves were empty of surfers then I do not know, but if you love catching waves, then you should just bypass Byron and forget the crowds and surf here.
We then took a look at Angourie Beach which is where the most powerful and pumping waves are and is the place where legendary surfers like Mark Occhilupo, Taj Burrow and Mick Fanning come to surf. One of the highlights of the Yamba area that we loved was the walk to Shelly Beach through the National Park along the coastline.
There was no one around, the walk was stunning and we had the beach to ourselves when we arrived. If all of that isn’t enough, Yamba also has pods of friendly dolphins and is a hot spot for whale watching. The town has the look and air of a place that is modernizing itself. It’s modern and classy yet still retains that old-world feeling to it. It’s the slowness, the gentleness of its people who stop to say hi and chat to friends and strangers on the street.
It’s also the old buildings like the iconic Pacific Hotel that sits on the cliff faces with the best views in town for a schooner. It has the look of a place in desperate need of a reno, but doesn’t look like it would happen to soon, and you don’t really want it to. And then the movie theatre, just one old building with a small shop front, its sound and atmosphere worth experiencing. The next day we rose and jumped back in the car to head for home.