Tracks & Trails

Yacaaba Headland
Tracks & Trails | bushwalking | hiking | national parks | North Coast | New South Wales

Yacaaba Headland

Stunning Port Stephens

by Susie Baber  |  20 May 2023

7km return/loop | Hard

The northern headland of Port Stephens, in the southern reaches of Myall Lakes National Park, is a long sand spit with a rocky headland sitting proudly at its tip. The walk to the summit of Yacaaba Headland starts as an easy beach and bush walk, but soon takes it up a gear with the climb to the top.

We spent the weekend camping at the Reflections Holiday Park at Jimmy’s Beach, nestled between beautiful Port Stephens Bay and the stunning white sands of Bennets Beach. From the camping area there is easy access to the walk at the south end of the park. If you are driving in, then park in the carpark at Jimmy’s Beach Reserve before heading between the sand dunes to the ocean beach. This part of the walk, along the beach, is dog friendly, but once you enter the headland reserve the pups will have to stay behind.

From the southern end of the beach, it is 1km to the summit. Following the sign to Yacaaba Headland the sandy track leads into the coastal bush. After this initial signpost the rest of the path is not marked, but it is well trafficked and easy to see. Starting gently, the path undulates through the scrub before the incline gradually increases, climbing steeply through angophoras, banksias and grass trees. Don’t forget to look up and admire the views to the north, along the sandy spit toward Myall Lakes National Park.

About halfway up the track widens into a small clearing with a sign pointing up the hill and a warning that from here the track is unformed and steep. At first glance the correct path is hard to pick out – but it is there, a very steep climb up the rocks. If you have made it to here and enjoyed the views, you might be happy to head back down again. If you are up for a more strenuous climb, then keep going – this is where it kicks up a gear.

The track is rocky and steep, and steep and rocky, for about 400m, then if flattens out for the last run to the top. When you reach the summit, all that climbing will be rewarded with stunning views, even if they are slightly inhibited by the trees. To the south is the other headland of Port Stephens Bay, Tomaree Head (also a lovely but challenging walk), and Shark Island which is connected to the mainland by Fingal Spit. To the north even better views of Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens, Jimmys Beach on the river and Bennetts Beach on the ocean side of the spit. Out to sea the John Gould Nature Reserve on Cabbage Tree Island, protects the only known breeding colony of one of the world’s rarest birds; the Gould’s petrel.

After you’ve enjoyed the summit of Yacaaba Headland, it’s time to do the return leg of the walk. On some of the steeper sections you will need to take it a bit slower, the trip down should still be quicker than the hike up was. We did our return beach walk on the western side of the spit, along Jimmy’s Beach, enjoying some different views over the river to the town of Nelson Bay and watching the para sailing lessons in the bay.

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