Yamba has the reputation as being one of the premier tourist destinations in NSW. That reputation is deserved. Yamba is now a two town destination. The modern and the old traditional Yamba strip and beach. The new is growing fast, and fortunately the ‘old’ is being managed carefully; i.e. development is controlled.
The first European to visit the area was Matthew Flinders, who stopped by in Yamba Bay for six days in July 1799.
Originally named Shoal Bay and later in 1885, to be renamed Yamba with a population of approx 340. In 1908 the Yamba Surf Lifesaving Club was formed, guesthouses and hotels arose, the region's fishing industry began to expand and sugar cane became an established crop. Riverboats and steamers that plied between Grafton and Sydney were gradually replaced by rail and better road connections and from the 1970s Yamba's appeal as a holiday resort started to impact on the people of both New South Wales and Southern Queensland.
The town economy is strongly based on fishing and tourism, but has a diverse range of influences; due to the 'Sea Change' phenomena and the large amount of baby boomers who are starting to retire to the warmer climates In 2009 Yamba was voted the number 1 town in Australia by Australian Traveller Magazine.