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Thursday, September 24, 2009
Kelly Landry has posed a very difficult question. If you had to pick 100 of the best towns in Australia, which one would you have at the top of your list? Well, the team at Australian Traveller magazine did the hard yards this year, and Yamba, a little town on the north coast of New South Wales, has beaten the likes of Broome, Port Douglas and Apollo Bay for the top spot. To back up Australian Traveller, the CSIRO determined Yamba had the best climate for living, working and playing.

With a population of just 6000 people, Yamba has 16 pristine beaches to choose from, so it's no wonder the chilled-out paradise topped the list! It's on the mouth of the Clarence River and is 90 minutes from Byron Bay.

Yamba YHA Backpacker Beach Resort

This purpose-built backpacker hostel in the centre of town is for the budget-conscious traveller. Popular with the 18- to 30-year-old traveller, yet it also caters for couples and families, the hostel has 90 beds. These are made up of eight share female dormitories, eight share male dorms, four share mixed and five share family dorms with private bathroom, television, refrigerator and air-conditioning.

The cafe is open every day and the trendy Block Bar is fully licensed. The resort has a barbecue area, laundry, communal kitchen, television and reading area, pool table, 24-hour Internet cafe with coffee and tea, undercover parking, a lift and rooms fitted for disabled guests.

The resort has a rooftop plunge pool and deck giving uninterrupted views across town and the river. It is owned and run by two generations of a local family and they keep accommodation rates the same year-round. Many people book for one or two nights and end up staying much longer.

Yamba-Angourie Surf School

Learn to surf from a former pro-surfer at one of the best beaches in Australia. Owner-manager Jeremy Walters is a third-generation Yamba local and grew up surfing the beaches of the area. He was Australian champion in 1998, and has surfed in Hawaii, Indonesia, France, Spain and many other spots on the international surfing itinerary, but when he became a dad, he wanted to stay at home.

He offers private, group and school surfing lessons, ranging from beginners to intermediates and advanced surfers of all ages. He's been teaching surfing it since 2001.

Students are taught surf safety and awareness, rules of the surf, how to stand up and what board is best. The school provides soft, safe learner boards and sun-shirts and sunscreen.

Pot Belly Pies

A necessity after an energising surf is a visit to Pot Belly Pies. The owners started out in the Adelaide Hills and in no time were voted Best Pies in South Australia. On a family visit to Yamba they fell in love with the town, relocated and have two pie shops in the area.

Their secret is they use the best quality ingredients and describe their pies as a gourmet meal wrapped in pastry. They are also twice the size of the average pie.

The variety is staggering. Steak, bacon and cheese for breakfast, steak and garlic prawns, lamb with mint and rosemary and scallop mornay are some of the unusual choices. Of course they make the good-old Aussie meat pie, shepherd's pie and a vegetarian variety. If you fancy something sweet, there's pumpkin and maple, white-chocolate cheesecake and apple and raspberry crumble. You're bound to pay more than one visit!

Pacific Hotel

The famous hotel was built in 1934, directly above Yamba's main beach. It's views are stunning and at the right time of year you can see whales and dolphins.

There have been changes over the years, but the owners have kept it looking pretty much the same as when it was first built.

Its bistro has received rave reviews, with a menu influenced by tastes from around the world. Beer-battered shark fillet is a favourite with locals. Vegetarians and children haven't been forgotten and there's plenty for them to choose from. Most meals cost less than $20 and the best place to enjoy your meal and a drink is on the outside deck. It's not bad value when you consider the views as well.

With a casual atmosphere, the decor includes lots of photographs, surfboards and general memorabilia relating to the town's surfing roots. Mark Richards, Mark Occhilupo, Taj Burrow and Mick Fanning who have made their names riding waves are all represented.


Yamba on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.


Yamba YHA Backpacker Beach Resort dormitories are priced from $25 per person a night. Private rooms with ensuites start at $70 per person a night.

Yamba-Angourie Surf School two-hour group lessons are $50. Three-day courses (with two-hour lessons) are $120 per person. Private group lessons are $50 per person an hour and private one-on-one lessons are $80 for one hour. Soft surfboards, wetsuits, sunscreen and sun-shirts are included.

Prices correct at September 24, 2009.

For further information

Yamba Backpacker Beach Resort
26 Coldstream Street
Yamba 2464
Ph: (02) 6646 3997

Yamba-Angourie Surf School
Ph: (02) 6646 1496

Pot Belly Pies
29 Coldstream Street
Yamba 2464
Ph: (02) 6646 1266

Pacific Hotel
18 Pilot Street
Yamba 2464
Ph: (02) 6646 2466

Yamba Squash and Cycle Centre
35 Coldstream Street
Yamba 2464
Ph: (02) 6646 2237

User comments
HAHAHAHAH. Handorf local, you can now take your foot out of your mouth which should make some room for a beautiful Pot Belly Pie from Yamba next time your in town. Get your facts straight before ranting online. I had my first Pot Belly Pie experience yesterday and it was incredible. Thanks Guys.
hello hahndorf local, My name is Bronwyn Mark and I need to inform you that you have got your wires crossed somewhere along the way- happens all the time to the best of us. I opened the Pot Belly Pies in Hahandorf in 2005,and it was extremely successful, we won many awards including 'best pies in SA'. We only sold the business because my partners mother and my own were diagnosed with life threatening illnesses at about the same time and we thought it would be wise to return to northern nsw. We sold the shop in Hahndorf and the rights to the name in SA only. We now have a Pot Belly Pies in Yamba and Maclean- so in a funny sort of way WE are the original. Not sure what your post was meant to achieve but please drop into one of our shops if you ever pass thru on your 3rd trip around Australia, it would be a pleasure to meet a fellow pie lover. I very glad the shop in Hahndorf is still going so well- their success and our own here in Yamba can only be a positive to both businesses.
The Pot Belly Pies in Yamba is all a scam of old unsuccessful business owners in hahndorf trying to make money of the now popular name " POT BELLY PIES " In Hahndorf SA they make the real fair dinkum Pot Belly Pies and is the friendliest staff and the best pie and i have traveled around Australia twice, as i am retired now, but i recommend trying the REAL Pot Belly Pie
Holidayed and surfed at Angourie many times before moving to WA. No sandflies at all there, the beaches and surf are great, friendly atmosphere. Really miss it.
beautiful yes but it took me a month to get over sandfly bites
This is a great spot! I don't know what all you city people are talking about! If you lived in a beautiful spot like this wouldn't you be annoyed about people ruining it for you? I have lived there for many years and it was stunning! I think all you city people are just jealous
I must say that it's hard to beat. Great swimmimg, fishing and golfing. There are some places to stay that are better than others but you just can't get a prettier spot than Peninsular apartments. 10 metres from the river and there are usually plenty of fish outside your back door. That's right -10 metres away. Dolphins often surprise you by swimming past almost within touching distance and I have even seen giant green turtles floating by. When the blackfish are on there could be 50 or more anglers on the bank all willing to chat and tell you about their bait. There are ample places to eat - 2 clubs, 2 pubs, 7 or 8 restaurants.
Why is it that you people from these little towns just want to keep it to yourselves, well next time you DO go to the city, on on a holiday of your own to escape your so called "Paradise (Yamba-YUK), I hope you have just as bad a time and go back to your little hovel town with stories of disgust of the big smoke as you impose on your tourists. Keep your town to yourselves and hey, I hope the river floods and you get cut off from the real world for a couple of months. MUWAHAHAHHA
We went on holiday at Yamba when I was 14 in 1974. We had a great time. We'd watch the yummy surfers surfing - one in particular called "cockroach" and at night we'd go to the pictures. There was a really bad storm and the next day the whole beach was covered in foam and it was above our heads. It was pretty sleepy back then and I have been there since and it hasn't changed much.
as a kid my family holidayed every june hols for 2 weeks in yamba and loved it there has always been ongoing conflict between tourists and locals and i can see faults on both sides the main problem being the rich well to do tourists throwing their money around and being arrogant and rude and disrespectful to locals but on the odd occasion we came across locals with bad attitudes too the locals have to realise the tourist dollar is what keeps the town thriving as well as the fishing industry but tourists need to remember what is a paradise holiday for them is also someones home and u need to be mindful and respectful of that fact too although my last stay at 16 yo in yamba was just over 20 years ago i was delighted to still see so much of the wonderful places i remembered and we were lucky enough to have befriend the locals on our stays which made our holidays that much more enjoyable although yamba was a darn site smaller when i was there last with under 1000 population lol

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