Yamba Beach, New South Wales

Yamba Beach, New South Wales

2018 – 9 Days: Coffs Harbour, Yamba and The Clarence Valley

Coffs Harbour is a major resort town on the New South Wales North Coast. Many say the area has the best climate in Australia with the maximum temperatures rarely falling below 19C, summer or winter. Coffs Harbour was originally a major port town with one of the safest harbours between Newcastle and Brisbane. Today banana plantations provide a backdrop to Coffs Harbour and the jetty, that once loaded tonnes of red cedar, has been restored as a heritage structure. The city today has a population of well over 60,000 and is world famous for its beaches, forest hinterlands and pastoral settings. Yamba to the north, a bustling holiday resort with a large fishing fleet, will be our base for the second part of our tour. It is built around a headland at the mouth of the Clarence River.

Day 1 (D): To the North Coast (Friday)

The North Coast of NSW has always been a popular winter destination for people from the Southern States – and why not? It has a sensational sub tropical climate and stunning scenery. Our tour will be based in Coffs Harbour for three nights before we move north to the seaside village of Yamba. This morning we transfer to Melbourne Airport for our flight to Sydney, connecting to Coffs Harbour. Our Touring Coach will be there to meet us. Welcome dinner on arrival. (Lunch own cost/dinner in the motel)

Opal Cove Resort, Coffs Harbour: 1800 008 198

Dolphin Marine Magic, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales

Dolphin Marine Magic, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales

Day 2: (BD): Exploring Coffs Harbour (Saturday)

After breakfast we depart on a sightseeing tour of the area. First, we head to Bruxner Park via banana plantations and avocado groves to the new Forest Sky Pier. The Forest Sky Pier is located on an escarpment 310 metres above Coffs Harbour offering views out to the coast; on a clear day you can see 100km to the south!

Then it’s onto Coffs Harbour Butterfly House. The Butterfly House is a fully enclosed glasshouse, home to 350-400 live Australian butterflies. As we stroll amongst these beautiful creatures, we will learn of the life-cycle of the butterfly from our guide. The butterflies may even land on us!

We then have some free time to purchase lunch before our afternoon stop at Dolphin Marine Magic. Here we have the opportunity to receive a free fishy kiss from a seal. A photographer will be on hand if we wish to purchase a photo (own cost). We also enjoy a marine show featuring dolphins and seals, afterwards visit Seal Shores and Dolphin Lagoon. Our final stop for the day is the Bunker Cartoon Gallery which is located in a restored WW2 underground bunker. It is now a funky up tempo gallery featuring changing exhibitions of Australian and international cartoons. Back at the hotel, some of us may like a walk along the beach – it’s right at our doorstep. (Breakfast & dinner in the hotel/Lunch own cost)

Opal Cove Resort, Coffs Harbour: 1800 008 198

Dorrigo National Park, New South Wales

Dorrigo National Park, New South Wales

Day 3 (BLD): Bellingen & Dorrigo (Sunday)

Today we will enjoy the magnificent Bellinger Valley and Dorrigo Plateau. We start with a wander through the historic township of Bellingen with its craft shops and galleries. The town’s traditional-style main street (the highlight of which is the restored Hammond and Wheatley Emporium) is as grand as its name suggests.

We then travel up to the Dorrigo Plateau where we visit Dangar Falls and the Dorrigo National Park. We see some magnificent rainforest country and stunning views.

The information centre and a number of easy walks will introduce us to the beauty and serenity of the rainforest. The Skywalk will provide us with some spectacular views. We enjoy a light lunch at the Canopy Café in the Rainforest Centre. This afternoon we head back through the Bellinger Valley to Urunga where we stop to visit the Honey Place before travelling back to our hotel for dinner. (Breakfast & dinner in the hotel/Light lunch included)

Opal Cove Resort, Coffs Harbour: 1800 008 198

Day 4 (BLD) The Big Banana & More! (Monday)

We have a leisurely start this morning before meandering inland to Nana Glen, a small historic village located on the Orara Way. We stop here for our morning break from the coach.

We then continue to Woolgoolga where we drive by the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, built by the town’s Sikh residents whose ancestors travelled to the North Coast around the time of Australian Federation. As we make our way back to Coffs Harbour, we can enjoy both the ocean and mountain views. The most iconic thing in Coffs Harbour is the famous Big Banana. After lunch, we can take a group photo in front of the Big Banana! Then head south to visit Wood We Create Woodturning Gallery. Here we can see, smell and feel the range of handcrafted timber giftware, watch a demonstration, ask questions of the resident wood turner and perhaps purchase a piece to take home. There is some free time this afternoon to enjoy the resort facilities before we move up the coast tomorrow to Yamba. (Breakfast & dinner in the resort/Light lunch)

Opal Cove Resort, Coffs Harbour: 1800 008 198

The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales

The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales

Day 5 (BLD): To Yamba (Tuesday)

We have a leisurely start today before completing our check out formalities and heading north towards the Clarence Valley in the Northern Rivers Region of New South Wales. Our base for four nights is at the coastal town of Yamba at the mouth of the Clarence. We head north along the Pacific Highway to Grafton. Lunch today will provide a perfect introduction to the “Big River” country. The historic Federation style Ulmarra Hotel – built in 1906 – is just 12 kms north of Grafton and sits elegantly on the banks of the Clarence River. We enjoy a leisurely lunch before heading to the coast and checking into our accommodation. The Moby Dick Motel offers lovely rooms (with walk in showers) all with views of the Clarence River. (Breakfast in the hotel/Pub lunch/ BBQ Dinner at the motel)

Moby Dick Motel, Yamba 02 66462196

Day 6 (BLD): Exploring Yamba (Wednesday)

Yamba is a seaside town on the southern side of the Clarence River Estuary. The Yamba Lighthouse is located on South Head, standing 41 metres above the sea.

It offers fine views of the coastline and is a popular whale-watching site in the winter months. It’s beams can be seen 17 kilometres out to sea. Nearby is a replica of the original 1879 lighthouse erected by volunteers for use as a community radio station. This morning we take a drive to the Yamba Lighthouse to see the views and then call into the weekly Farmers Market at the Whiting Beach Caravan Park. Mid morning we visit the award winning Yamba Museum. The museum, its displays and collections are evidence of the settlement of Yamba and its strong maritime history.

The collection includes objects that highlight the diversity of Yamba’s history, from the telescope once belonging to Francis Freeburn, the first pilot and pioneer in Yamba, to the school room display depicting the historical record of public education in Yamba. Lunch today is at the Yamba Golf Club. This afternoon we have planned a sightseeing drive to nearby Maclean also located on the Clarence River. There is a wonderful lookout here which we will stop at, along with an interesting collection of shops and galleries including the MacLean Scottish Shop that specialises in the Scottish heritage of the area offering advice on how to trace family clans. It will be an interesting afternoon! Dinner tonight will be at the nearby Yamba Bowling Club. Our coach will transfer us there at around 6.30pm and we will use the regular, free, Club Shuttle service to return to the motel at a convenient time. (Breakfast in the motel/Lunch at the Yamba Golf Club/Yamba Bowling Club Dinner)

Moby Dick Motel, Yamba 02 66462196

Day 7 (BLD): Grafton (Thursday)

This morning we travel south to the small town of Tucabia. Here we visit Squatters Rest Museum. Surrounded by vintage tractors, engines and farm machinery there are 16 old style buildings including a replica 1880 cookhouse. Whilst here we are provided with a tour of the old house and take a look at the fascinating range of rural memorabilia. We might even have a song or two on the Pianola! Next stop is nearby Grafton. As early as 1866 Grafton Council resolved to consider by-laws for the planting and preserving of trees and shrubs in the streets and recreation grounds. There are now some 7000 trees in Grafton and many beautiful parks. The most famous of the trees is of course the Jacaranda. We have planned a visit to Schaeffer House, now home to the Clarence River Historical Society, the oldest historical society in the country.

Built from 1901 to 1903, the homestead was built by the son of a pioneer German family, Mr Frederick Schaeffer, who was the town’s first architect. Lunch today is at the Grafton Services Club. Our afternoon appointment is at Junction Hill to visit Lanbruk’s Gunyah – a property belonging to Dorothy and Don Enders. They will take us on a tour through the Olive Grove, show us the animals (Alpacas and Dorper Sheep to name a couple) in the paddocks and serve a delicious homemade afternoon tea. We have the opportunity to browse through the gift shop to admire local handicrafts and, of course, pick up a supply of the organic olive oils produced here. There is even a museum housing the fully restored and still running, 1926 Chevy Utility. We then head back to Yamba. (Breakfast in the motel/Club Lunch in Grafton/Dinner at the Yamba Bowling Club)

Moby Dick Motel, Yamba 02 66462196

Glen Ian Ostrich and Emu Farm, Tullymorgan, New South Wales

Glen Ian Ostrich and Emu Farm, Tullymorgan, New South Wales

Day 8 (BLD): Iluka & Tullymorgan (Friday)

After breakfast we take the small ferry from the Yamba Jetty across the Clarence River to Iluka. Our coach will meet us on the other side. Our morning stop is at the Wombah Coffee Plantation, the World’s southern-most coffee plantation. Established 1982 by two ladies, Joan Dibden and Joy Phelps, who still own and manage the plantation and process the coffee from berry to roasted to a packaged coffee. The coffee is produced from the finest Arabica coffee trees, grown in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. The trees are seedlings of original coffee trees brought to the area over 100 years ago. Wombah Coffee Plantation boasts a superior grade of coffee based on quality control during growing and processing, organically based horticulture and selective hand picking without the use of harmful sprays. It is a pleasant mild coffee and is naturally lower in caffeine than most imported varieties. We enjoy a tour of the plantation and morning tea with a chance to try the coffee and make a purchase if you wish.

From here we take a scenic inland drive to the tiny community of Tullymorgan to visit the Glen Ian Ostrich and Emu Farm for lunch.

We are also treated to an insight of these giant birds, in addition to the incubation process and chicks. The Farm is also home to Alpacas and goats…not to mention numerous other bird varieties. Mid afternoon we head back to Yamba. (Breakfast in the motel, lunch at Glen Ian Ostrich & Emu Farm/Farewell dinner at Yamba Shores Tavern)

Moby Dick Motel, Yamba 02 66462196

Day 9 (B): Home (Saturday)

We check out this morning and travel north via Ballina and Byron Bay to the Gold Coast Airport for our flight back to Melbourne. We will be met on arrival for the transfer home to complete a sensational 9 day tour. (Breakfast in the Hotel/Lunch own arrangements & cost).


Tour Price

From $2,200 per person sharing a twin or double room (add $580 for a guaranteed single room). Air fares vary depending on travel dates – costs to be confirmed.

Important Information

The tour price (from $2,200 per person) is valid until 31 March 2019 and is dependent on a minimum of 30 paying customers. Should the group size be less than the minimum number, the tour may have to be re-costed.

Tour Inclusions

Tour Price includes accommodation as per the itinerary, meals as indicated (B= Cooked breakfast, L= Light or packed lunch, D = Buffet or limited choice dinner) deluxe touring coach with seatbelts, attractions/entries as noted. Airfares Melbourne/Coffs Harbour and Gold Coast/Melbourne to be added (ARJ has preferred group airfares available with both QANTAS and Virgin Australia)

Terms and Conditions

Contact ARJ with the preferred dates your Club would like to travel. ARJ will then confirm all the arrangements in your Club Name – subject to availability. The Club’s Group Organiser or Tour Manager should then collect a minimum deposit $200 per person from those members who wish to travel on the tour. ARJ will fully refund this amount for anyone who cancels up to 60 days from departure. The deposit becomes non refundable within 60 days of departure. Balance of payment is due 30 days prior to departure. Any cancellation within 30 days of departure attracts an additional cancellation fee of $200 per person. No refund inside 7 days. Travel insurance is strongly recommended.

All itineraries are subject to change due to occasional restrictions in opening times/days of some attractions, e.g. churches, wineries etc. We cannot be held responsible for any changes due to closures, inclement weather etc.