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!
Everything you need to know about Yuraygir Coastal Walk
Where can I get a map of Yuraygir Coastal Walk?
The walk is easy to navigate, with signposts marked with the footprints of the coastal emu to guide you.
Download and print copies of the NPWS map of Yuraygir Coastal Walk.
Download the GPX track below and load it into a navigation app, such as GaiaGPS, on your phone to help you track your progress.
How much does it cost?
Remarkably, there is no NPWS fee to hike Yuraygir National Park. You don’t need to make a booking either. Your costs can be limited to your transport (getting there and back) and overnight accommodation, which makes for a cheerfully cheap walk. Our costs were less than $300 each!
We did our own cheap self-guided thing, independently organising our own accommodation and transport, walking with light packs, and choosing dates that worked best for us. But you may prefer someone else to take care of the detail for you, have a look at what these companies offer.
- Yuraygir Walking Experiences – self-guided, either an inn-to-inn experience with transport and logistic support, or a stay-and-walk experience with central Minnie Water accommodation and transfers each day. Also a handy transport service for those who prefer to walk independently.
- Lifes An Adventure – guided, daypack only, central accommodation with meals, people and luggage transfers.
- Home Comforts Hiking – fully guided, daypack only, accommodation with some meals, people and luggage transfers.
- Auswalk – self guided, daypack only, accommodation, meals, people and luggage transfers.
- Australian Walking Holidays – this guided walk has 4 nights camping (Angourie, Lake Arragan, Illaroo, Station Creek) but some short sections of the walk are omitted making it a 49km walk instead of 65km
- Other accommodation providers, such as Blue River Apartments in Wooli can offer central accommodation and transfers each day.
How much do I need to carry? Can I walk with just a daypack?
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. You can also eat your dinner out, and top up with supplies at the general stores.
If you only want to carry a daypack with basics, then a have look at the various commercial providers listed above.
What transport options are there?
Yuraygir Coastal Walk is a one-way walk, so you need to solve the problem of transport.
One possible solution is to use the services of Yuraygir Walking Experiences who offer a convenient “end to end transport solution“. The option to leave your car in their parking at Minnie Water is particularly appealing as it allows you to access additional food or clothing half way.
We left our 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, you can simply keep walking!
Yamba Shuttles offer transport from Grafton and Ballina airports to Yamba if you are flying.
Accommodation on Yuraygir Coastal Walk
You can book a bed in the seaside villages, with linen provided and cooking facilities. However accommodation options are limited so best avoid school holiday periods (QLD and NSW) and book well ahead of your planned walk. You may be able to arrange AirBnB, but we found most had a minimum two night stay. There are some restaurants and shops to buy food (again, limited choices).
- Yamba: many accommodation and eating options, check the Clarence Valley tourism site for more information.
- Brooms Head: Brooms Head Caravan Park. Chinese restaurant at the Bowling Club. The Brooms Head General Store changed hands in 2021, maybe it will open again sometime. The Snack Shack down by the beach has fast food, but check opening hours
- Minnie Water: Minnie Water Caravan Park (cabins, camping). General store near the beach.
Yuraygir Walking Experiences also offer the option of central accommodation at Minnie Water with transfers to the trail each day (see cost section above).
- Wooli: Wooli River Lodge (cabins), Wooli Caravan Park. Dinner at the Bistro at Wooli Hotel-Motel. General Store at the service station, 381 North Street Wooli.
Blue River Apartments offer central accommodation at Wooli with transfers to the trail each day.
- Red Rock: Red Rock Caravan Park (cabins, camping). General store at the river edge. Eat at the Red Rock Bowlo, or nearby Corindi.
Camping sites are available at various places such as Lake Arragan, Sandon and Illaroo along the track if you are prefer to camp, and like to carry a pack.
Crossings at Sandon, Wooli and Corindi Rivers
The National Parks website for the Yuraygir Coastal Walk lists phone numbers of boat operators for Sandon River, Wooli River and Corindi River.
At present (2021), there is no boat operator for Corindi, but perhaps you can persuade a local fisherman or kid to take you across. This crossing can be dangerous. Water could be above your waist if you attempt to wade across the estuary at low tide, and you will need to some garbage bags to waterproof and float your pack.
Check the Tide Times for Red Rock, and plan your walk so that you have a low tide between 11am and 1pm on the last day for the rock platforms, Station Creek crossing and Corindi River crossing. Safest crossings are on an incoming tide.
Weather and big swells can also impact river crossings and rocky platform traverses along this walk, so keep an eye on weather as well as tide times.
When is the best time to walk?
Anytime through autumn, winter and spring is a good time on the coast. September is my choice for wildflowers and whale watching!