When fire closed part of the Yuraygir Coastal Walk from Angourie to Lake Arragan, we were forced to make a slight change to our plans. Instead of starting at Angourie, we began our Yuraygir experience in Yamba, after coffee, walking along Yamba St directly to Pippi Beach.
As with all beach walks, this walk is best at low tide – the sand is firmer and rocks pools are fun to explore. Pippis are used for bait and a staple in the diet of aboriginal people who are skilled at spotting the molluscs where surf meets sand and scooping them up. Sadly, pippi are not as plentiful as they were before over harvesting and sand mining in the 1900s. Compounding the damage of mining, the South African bitou bush was planted to “rehabilitate” the dunes and now crowds out native vegetation.
Even if you don’t find a pippi, you are sure to see crab balls, oystercatchers, gulls, jellyfish, and whales in season. Tidal rock pools hide periwinkles, starfish and barnacles. Up on the sand dunes are spinifex grasses, pigface, pandanus palms, casuarinas, banksia. There’s a lot of life on the seashore.
At the southern end of Pippi Beach is Barri Point (Flat Rock), Barri or Dump Beach (from the sand mining history) and then Green Point. Curving around Spooky Beach we approach the Blue and Green pools at Angourie. These pools were formed by quarrying for stone for the training wall. The diggers hit a spring and the quarries filled with water, creating two very deep freshwater swimming pools for the locals. The pools may be closed due to algae bloom. Instead, we swam in the natural seawater rock pool nearby.
From Blue Point, we followed the path up to Angourie village and the Yum Yum cafe. If you have time, walk onto the grassy headland at Angourie Point. This area was NSW’s first gazetted surfing reserve, with a right hand point break on a rock shelf ominously called “Life or Death”.
Angourie is the usual starting point for the Yuraygir Coastal Walk, as this is the edge of the National Park. But if you have time, consider adding on the beautiful Yamba to Angourie coastal walk as well.