The pretty holiday village of YAMBA, long a popular family holiday resort, was voted Australia's number one town by Australian Traveller magazine in 2009, for its postcard-perfect scenery, superlative surfing and laid-back vibe. Clarence River Ferries shuttle between here and the community across the river, Iluka (foot passengers only; 4 daily; $5.70; Tel:02/6646 6423) and also cruise along the river. Busways run daily services to both settlements from Grafton.
While there are many motels (Price: $76–130) in sun-drenched Yamba, holiday-makers like the low-key, riverfront Calypso Holiday Park (Tel:02/6646 8847, Web: www.calypsoyamba.com.au ; Price: campsite $30, Price: selfcat $76–160) on Harbour Street. The Pacific Hotel (Tel:02/6646 2466, Web: www.pacifichotelyamba.com.au ; Price: hotel $51-60, Price: motel $101-130) commands a terrific location overlooking the picturesque Main Beach at 18 Pilot St, and has decent pub rooms and good live music (Thurs– Sat). Its restaurant, the Pacific Hotel Bistro, boasts a globally inspired menu (entrees $12–20, mains $22–30). Also try the funky Caperberry Café on the corner of Coldstream and Yamba streets for lunch, and, at 16 Clarence St, Sea Spray Fine Food Café (Tel:02/6646 8336) for casual bistro fare made from fresh local produce.
A few kilometres south is Yuraygir National Park, with plenty of basic but attractive bushcamping (book via Grafton NPWS; Tel:02/6441 1500; Price: $10 per adult per night, vehicles $7 per day) and a spectacular strip of sand at Angourie Point, which became New South Wales' first surfing reserve in 2007.