Yamba has a growing population of about 7000 and an economy based on fishing and tourism. Due to the ‘sea change’ phenomenon, a large number of baby boomers are choosing to retire to Yamba. However, its relaxed lifestyle and natural advantages also make it popular for young families and those keen to slow down and get more enjoyment out of day-to-day living.
In 2009 Yamba was voted the number 1 town in Australia by Australian Traveller Magazine. It was also declared by the CSIRO and Stanford University as having the best climate in the world (along with San Diego, California and Bunbury, Western Australia).With mild winters and glorious summers, Yamba’s climate is conducive to the holiday of a lifetime.
The Yaegl people are traditional custodians of the coastal areas around Yamba, Iluka and Maclean. Many European observers spoke highly of their craft, skill, culture and intelligence. In 1992 a project map and signpost of significant Aboriginal sites in the Lower Clarence was compiled by Diedre Randall. There are five sites in Yamba, four near Angourie, three in Maclean and one site at Woombah. The Woombah site is the largest midden on the east coast of Australia and has had a core sample done with a dingo tooth being found to be the oldest carbon dated of its kind in Australia.
The self drive brochures are available from local tourist centres and Ulgundahi Art and Culture Gallery Maclean. More information on local Aboriginal culture is available from Yamborra Aboriginal Corporation (02) 6462635, Birrigan-Gargle Land Council (02) 66461664. Alternatively, visit Ulgundahi Art and Culture Gallery in Maclean or Yamba Historical Museum. The museum houses important cultural artefacts for the local Yaegl tribe. A selection of local indigenous art work is also for sale.
The area’s main industries include:
Tourism: The beauty of two national parks and over 100 islands make the area a natural magnet for those who appreciate nature or water based activities. Tourism is worth around (ABS 96-97) $59 million to the Lower Clarence region.
Sugar Cane: Built in 1874 the Harwood Sugar Mill is the oldest existing sugar mill in the Australian Sugar industry. This industry employs around 200 local people. The sugar industry contributes $250 million to the Northern Rivers economy.
Fishing: The combined off-shore and estuary fishing fleets of the Lower Clarence make it the largest fishing fleet on the east coast of NSW. The Clarence River Fishermen's Co-op Ltd is the largest single supplier of fish to the Sydney Markets. At your local fish market, ask if the prawns you are buying are from Yamba. From boats that trawl the river, lake and ocean the catch of the day ends up either locally, or on the national and international market place with the co-op having a license to export anywhere in the world. There are about 600 people who derive their principal income from the fishing industry, with a turnover of $30 million dollars.
Aquaculture: Aquaculture is a thriving industry within the Maclean Shire, with several prawn farms providing exports to national and overseas markets. At Palmers Island, on Yamba’s outskirts, there are two prawn farms. Broomeshead is home to a snapper hatchery. Nestled in Yamba Bay, Gormans Oysters are fresh from the water to the plate.
Coffee: Coffee was grown in the Lower Clarence over 100 years ago. This boutique industry is once again thriving with the establishment of a coffee plantation at Woombah. Known as Wombah Coffee Plantation the owners now export to Harrods in London and Australia wide.
Yamba and the surrounding area has everything you need (and more) to make your holiday to Northern NSW unforgettable. Activities include: