Pack a picnic, or your fishing pole, and wander down the coast from Mara Creek Picnic Area toward Shelley Headland on the Angourie Walking track.
These hills burnt in the Black Summer fires of 2019. The track has been rebuilt, and the heathlands are recovering. The walk leaves the carpark on a new bridge across the Mara Creek, where the Yaegl mob have camped for centuries (look out for the bright orange signs of the Yaegl story trail).
There are good views down onto the beach, where new wood and stone steps lead down to the Angourie fish traps (visit them on your return). The track climbs to Durunggan Lookout, where another sign tells the story of Durunggan and the stone canoe, before descending to Little Shelley Beach. Scan the sea for whales in season, and dolphins and turtles. There are rock platforms at both the northern and southern ends of Little Shelley beach.
Shelley campsite is a good spot to stop for a picnic, with a table and some shade under the banksias. If you continue on the Yuraygir Coastal walk to the southern part of Shelley Headland, you can follow a side track onto a small beach where there are some sea caves tucked under the cliff line.
There isn’t much shade and the route is exposed to the wind and swells – so choose a cool day. Time your walk for low tide as this makes the rock platforms and beaches easier and safer. You can return the way you came, or you can follow the steps down to the beach. From the beach, with the distinctive green headland of Angourie Point on the horizon, keep a lookout for a small pole on the dune which marks the track back to the carpark. If you cross Mara Creek on the beach, you have missed the turn off and walked too far!
You can shorten this route by turning back sooner. Or you could arrange a complex car shuffle (or prebook a pickup with the local Yamba taxi) and walk one way from Mara Creek picnic area all the way to Lake Arragan and the Red Cliffs (about 13km in total).