I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published November 28th 2015
Angourie is the coastal town just south of Yamba, on the NSW north coast. While Yamba gets very busy (it's been voted the best town in Australia by Australian Traveller), Angourie is much smaller and a lot less chaotic, though it does have a few claims to fame.
One of these is its National Surfing Reserve, created in 2007, which was one of the first established in Australia. Most of Angourie's beaches are included, but I usually saw surfers at the one south of Angourie's headland, which was also popular for families. It doesn't have good access though; you need to park at the end of Pacific Street, or Mara Creek Road in Yuragir National Park, and then walk down to the beach from the top of the hill (both car parks have lookouts however).
A view of the headland from the lookout at Angourie Bay picnic area off Mara Creek Road
Angourie headland is worth visiting itself. It's big and grassy with rocks on the seaward side that are great to fish off. If you're here during whale-watching season you'll have plenty of sightings from the top. In fact, I've never seen more whales anywhere else. Once I was even in the position of having to chose between watching whales to the north of the headland or checking out the dolphins to the south.
The other main beach utilised by visitors and residents of Angourie is Spooky Beach, which is much more accessible and probably even more popular with families. It's flat, good for games and sandcastles, and has calm water. There are even a series of huts made of driftwood (including one complete with a seat and roof).
Two great beaches should be enough, but neither of these are actually the reason most families visit; that's to do with the Blue Pools. Originally rock quarries, these large holes have filled with fresh water and make great places to swim.
A small beach next to the pools (only a few metres away in fact) is surrounded by a rockwall so kids can play safely without deep water or waves to cause danger. A carpark and a park with toilets, tables and play equipment is just outside the entrance.
Angourie has only a few shops and cafes, so you'll need to stock up in Yamba if you're staying for a few days. The latter town has shops everywhere, and multiple markets.
Beach driving is possible in the area, but a little annoying because you need two permits; one for the council beaches and another for the National Park beaches (yet there aren't too many of either).
I recommend getting permit form Woody Head and heading to Ten Mile Beach, which is north of Yamba and Iluka. We didn't catch any fish there when we tried, but had more than one memorable moment with the other wildlife, including the discovery of a seal pup and a pelican that seems to know it can get a good feed by hanging around fishermen.
To the south of Angourie is Yuragir National park, the longest stretch of protected coastline in Australia, reaching all the way to Coffs Harbour. From Angourie Bay picnic area there is a walk through it, along the back of the beach. I had one of my most memorable times here, watching dolphins surfing. The rest isn't too accessible from Angourie,
As for accommodation, your best option here is holiday rentals, but Yamba itself has a huge range of holiday parks and other places to stay. Between Angourie and Yamba there is also the Angourie Rainforest Retreat.