I'd travelled to 15 countries since I was last in Yamba.
From the chilly river walks of Zurich, to dodging lizards in Thai markets, to tangoing through Argentina and chancing a Tijuana tortilla - I'd maintained an unquenchable thirst for the exotic, and amassed more air-ticket stubs than a celebrity poodle.
Returning to northern NSW however (an hour and a half south of Byron Bay), a unique travel rush hit me as I reminisced from the balcony of Yamba's Pacific Hotel.
The ocean view was still vast and infinite, the beer was still cold, and without resorting to stainless steel and fancy cocktail lists the pub still let the natural attractions do the boasting. Simply perfection – and no Google Translate required.
Yamba's appeal owes a great deal to its natural beauty and vast range of outdoor activities. On the small fortune cookie-shaped main beach, mornings can be passed ducking in and out of the azure waves or swimming laps in the fresh rock pool; best complimented by an orange for refreshment at intervals and a few dollops of sunscreen.
Nearby rocky trails connecting the beaches will tempt fisherman with one of life's purest exhilarations, as healthy brim and whiting flirt with the water's surface. A catch met with lemon and a Yamba sunset BBQ may rival any international platter.
Yamba Bay. Photo courtesy of Clarence River Tourism
Similarly fishing is well worth it on a hired boat on the Clarence River, just add: reel, bag of prawns and Terry Towelling hat as you prepare for a joust with nature. Or, for the very strong stomachs, call Dave at Reel Time whose daily deep-sea fishing action trips will take you at least eight kilometres from Yamba's coast line.
Cruising the Clarence River near Yamba. Photo courtesy of Clarence River Tourism
Golfers will love the kangaroo-laden golf course. Literally hundreds of roos line the tranquil fairways of the Yamba Golf Club, seemingly unperturbed at sharing their habitat with a healthy tribe of killer snakes hiding in tropical palms next to the greens and tees.
Alternatively 10 minutes from the centre of town lays a deep, blue-green freshwater lagoon at Angourie, one of Australia's most famous surfing towns where the wild-haired masters still line the waves with their boards.
Angourie Blue Pools. Photo courtesy of Clarence River Tourism
If surfing is your thing $40 a day surfboard hire is a winner on the near-deserted Pippi or Turner Beaches, but for the non-surfers, a little trip to the Yamba museum provides a welcome touch of culture. I luckily caught a dedicated surfing exhibition on my visit, complete with bikinis, boards and shell sculptures paying homage to locals who'd tossed their bank jobs for a life making surfboards in the 70s.
While Yamba's old school atmosphere is unspoilt by commercial high-rises or the 'happy high herb' homogeneity of some its neighbours, the little village is still abuzz, enticing salty tourists into the cafes and a wide range of boutiques. Many restaurants collect excellent reviews and the Pacific Hotel regularly attracts live bands and turns the volume up on a summer's Friday or Saturday night.
Like many Aussie travellers, so wrapped up was I in passport stamps and the endless languages with which one can say 'cheers' I'd almost forgotten what a coastal holiday was.
Sure there weren't Bolivian wrestling matches or waiters in fancy aprons serving Perrier under an umbrella, but turns out a few days of sun and sport can rival all the charms in the world.
To boot, I had saved an air ticket and an argument over a Brazilian pizza bill.