Follow the coastal emu footprint on this stretch of wild coastline in Yuraygir National Park from Angourie to Red Rock. You’ll traverse empty beaches, time the tides to cross creeks and rock platforms, catch a boat ride across the river estuaries, and watch whales and dolphins on the headlands. You can camp, or you can take it easy and book accommodation and find your dinner in a little village each night. Yuraygir is ideal for a family adventure.
We saw a steady stream of migrating whales and dolphins from the headlands (whale season is from June to October). The birdlife is abundant, crabs extended friendly claws, and bits of shells and pebbles glistened along our path.
Day 1: Yamba to Brooms Head
The Yuraygir Coastal Walk officially begins at the Mara picnic area, but as this intial section from Mara to Lake Arragan was closed when we walked Yuraygir in September 2019 due to recent fire damage, we decided instead to walk Yamba to Angourie. After coffee at the Yum Yum Cafe in Angourie, a taxi spirited us around to Lake Arragan, where we continued south to Brooms Head.
Soon after we headed off from Yamba, we could see the charred areas, like a slightly singed layer cake, with green tips already starting to sprout in sections. Hopefully not long before Mother Nature managed her repairs.
The day included plenty of lovely beach walking with pretty coloured rocks at Red and Grey cliffs, along with our first whale sightings. The occasional sea eagle soared overhead, and unexpectedly beautiful jellyfishes dotted the sand, little works of art.
Our accommodation in The General Store in the first night included some interesting murals – explosions of colour covered entire walls with sea creatures. Dinner was at the Chinese restaurant at the local bowling club.
Day 2: Brooms Head to Minnie Water
We began with a stunning view of the coast from the headland and then a relaxed 9km beach walk to the Sandon River where Lance the boatman safely carried us across.
We then had the choice of another beach or the off-beach Back Track; and for variety’s sake we selected the latter. Our endurance levels were tested on the soft sand and heat of the Back Track. The map was consulted, crashing through dense bush was contemplated, but there is no exit – once you start you are committed to the infamous Soft Sand Track that caused much rolling of eyes for the rest of the trip. Fortunately the flannel flowers nodded at us prettily and many deep (pig?) holes in the sandy track distracted us.
Ice creams, cooldrinks, coffee provided relief at the lovely Minnie Water General Store before the final leg to our accommodation at the Minnie Water Holiday Park. The General Store delivered us a delicious dinner.
Day 3: Minnie Water to Wooli
A great stretch of headlands and beach on the Yuraygir Coastal Walk today, with flannel flowers galore, and out to sea the leaping of a whale, puff of a blowhole or the slap of a tail.
Morning tea and a swim was at Digger’s Camp. With the tide low, we clambered out on to the magnificent rock platform to view the life in the rockpools – part of the Solitary Island Marine Park, although only the Northern Solitary Island is visible here.
Then it was back to scenic beach walking to the coastal village of Wooli and our accommodation at Wooli River Lodges, strategically placed between the river and the Marine Park. Dinner was at the local club, conveniently just next door.
Day 4: Wooli to Red Rock
Our accommodation host kindly gave us a ride to the Wooli River where boat operator Bruce conveyed us safely across.
The morning provided a fair number of challenges in our 5 kilometres of rock platform negotiation in this remote and gorgeous area. Once we arrived at Station Creek, it was off with shoes and socks and in we went. We’d timed our arrival for low tide, to ensure the water was not more than ankle deep.
Then it was on to the final, serene stretch of beach with the hypnotic roar of the ocean and Red Rock headland beckoning. Two birds popped their heads of the low foredunes, not coastal emus, but a pair of elegant brolgas.
At Red Rock, we got a ride across the Corindi River with Nick, then settled in at the Corindi general store for a celebratory coffee and snack. We loved the Yuraygir Coastal Walk!
This is a great walk for those who don’t want to carry a heavy pack, and for families. Thanks to the village accommodation options, you don’t need to carry a tent, sleeping bag or cooking equipment, keeping your pack weight under 10kg.
Transport. We left cars at Coffs, and caught a Greyhound bus from Coffs Harbour to Yamba. We had non-walking family members pick us up at Red Rock, as transport options there are limited. However, we did consider extending the walk an extra day to Woolgoolga, which has much better public transport links for the return to Coffs. Yuraygir Coastal Walk ends at Red Rock, as that is the southern limit of the Yuraygir National Park, but of course Yuragir Coastal Walk links up easily with the Solitary Island Coastal Walk, so there is no need to stop walking at Red Rock.
Accommodation. Brooms Head General Store, Minnie Water Holiday Park and Wooli River Lodges. All provide linen and cooking facilities or have options to buy food. Camping sites are available if you carry a heavier pack.
River Crossings: The National Parks website for the Yuraygir Coastal Walk lists phone numbers of boat operators for Sandon River, Wooli River and Corindi River. Time your walk so that you have a low tide around noon on the last day for the Station Creek crossing.
Yuraygir Coastal Walk guides: Local company Yuraygir Walks are specialists in this area and have a variety of offerings to support and guide you.