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Review 3277: Elders Real Estate, Yamba, Breakers 5/4 and 1/4
Apartments in Yamba, Australia
September 2004, 2005, 2007, Three weeks on each occasion
Yamba is a town in Northern New South Wales, an hour south of Balina in the Northern Rivers region. It sits on the mouth of the Clarence River. Yamba is rather like Byron Bay was about 25 years ago - quite a small town with great beaches, a few restaurants and a good pub.
The Breakers apartments are located on Pippi Beach. Some overlook the Pacific Ocean.
Apartment 1/4 is on the ground floor of Block 1 and faces the beach, although there's not much of an ocean view. Apartments on the higher floors of Blocks 1 and 2 have wonderful views and large balconies. Many hours can be spent out there, watching dolphins and whales.
Unit 5/4 is at the rear of the complex. It's a ground floor apartment and is bigger that any of the units facing the beach, but has no view.
We take our car to Yamba and would recommend that anyone going there has a car handy.
The apartments are not in the centre of town and a 10 minute walk is required to reach the shopping centre. There you'll find a few places to have coffee and food and a few shops. There is a small supermarket in the shopping area, a butcher, two bakeries and a green grocer. Further away (about 10 minutes by car) is a larger Bi-Lo supermarket and other food stores. I'm told that it is possible to order food from the supermarket via the Internet and have it delivered.
As for restaurants, these can be reached on foot. This part of Yamba is fairly hilly, so legs get a good work-out with the daily walk. We've found the best food in town is at the Pacific Hotel, which has magnificent views over the beach and ocean.
The building is only a few years old. It is part of the "Beach-side" complex, which also includes an apartment block called "The Sands" next door.
Within Breakers, there are two blocks of apartments facing the beach, with 12 apartments over four floors in each. At the rear of the complex are numerous other apartments. All of the apartments blocks are built around a swimming pool and spa area, with a barbecue.
We have been to Yamba a number of times with friends and, between us all, we have stayed in most of the apartments. Apart from Unit 1/9, which is furnished with some of the shabbiest and most uncomfortable furniture in Australia, all of the others that we have seen were fine.
The pool and spa area is very nice. There are sun lounges provided (although only three). The gardens are very well maintained by the gardener who comes in every weekday.
Both of the apartments that we've stayed in have good, comfortable furniture, with enough bedding and seating for six people. Both were very clean. Unit 1/4 is furnished with better quality furniture and has a more comfortable feel about it, but 5/4 is fine for a family.
Unit 1/4 has two queen size and two single beds, in three bedrooms. Unit 5/4 has one queen, one double and two single beds, in three bedrooms.
We found the beds comfortable, although the pillows in 5/4 were meagre, to say the least. If you rent this unit, take your own pillows, or be prepared for a sore neck. In a worst case scenario, new pillows can be bought from the bedding shop opposite the shopping complex on the main road into town.
In both units, the master bedroom has its own bathroom. In unit 1/4, the main bathroom has a washing machine and dryer installed in a cupboard. This is not the case with unit 5/4, which has a separate laundry.
Neither unit comes with linen or towels. However, I believe that Elders can arrange for these to be hired.
The kitchens in both apartments are a good size. Both have quite large refrigerators.
Unit 1/4 is better equipped with cooking utensils and crockery. The owners of unit 5/4 appear to have a "cheap is best" approach to the utensils they provide. We have found that cheap is not best, and take our own frying pans, coffee maker, corkscrew, rice cooker and salad bowls when staying in that unit.
The oven in unit 5/4 tends to burn everything.
Problems or Bonuses
Unit 5/4 has its own attached garage, which is a bonus for storing surfboards, fishing equipment, etc. It also has a clothesline, which is very handy. Unit 1/4 (as with all other units in the main blocks) have only airing racks to dry clothes (although there are dryers in all apartments).
Apartments in Blocks 1 and 2, including 1/4 have parking and storage cages below ground.
Unit 5/4 has a garden with a grassed area, while Unit 1/4 has a large outdoor paved area.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency is good to deal with. They respond very quickly to any problems. The cost of rental varies, according to the season. Unit 1/4 is more expensive than Unit 5/4, but is worth the extra money. However, it is harder to book, being much more popular. Unit 5/4 appears not to be rented out very often, but is good value for money.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, we'll go back again. We tried to book unit 1/4 in September 2005 and 2007, but it is quite popular and we've not been able to get it for three weeks in a row. However, we'll try again next time we got to Yamba. We've stayed in unit 5/4 twice and it's been fine. We'd have no hesitation in staying there again. If both are booked, other units in the complex are also good (apart from unit 1/9).
Things to do in this area
Yamba has numerous beaches. Pippi Beach is the closest to Breakers, but has a very strong undertow and rips. Unless you are a very strong swimmer, it's probably best to head around to Main Beach or Turner's Beach. Our children have had surfing lessons run by Jeremy Walters, and have really enjoyed them.
Yamba has two cinemas. One is old and the other is in a big tin shed (I'm serious). It's quite an experience going to see a movie in Yamba. But at $4 a ticket, who can complain?
Angourie is a small town near Yamba, which is home to many champion surfers. It has a good beach (as you'd expect) and a restaurant, which our friends say is very good.
Yamba is a Mecca to retirees, and has bowling greens galore, as well as a golf course. Fishing is very popular in Yamba. We catch and eat plenty of fish. Good fishing charters can be taken from Wooli Deep Sea Tours (this requires a very early start and a car is needed to get from Yamba to Wooli). Tinnies can be hired from the Marina in Yamba, for half or full days, to fish on the Clarence River.
Byron Bay is about 1.5 hours away by car. Bangalow is about 10 minutes from Byron Bay, and has some wonderful shops and a good market on the fourth Saturday of every month.
Coffs Harbour is about 1.5 hours to the south and has good beaches, restaurants and the "Pet Porpoise Pool", which has no porpoises at all, but a show with dolphins and seals. Kids love it.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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