About midway between the northern NSW town of Coffs Harbour and Queensland’s Gold Coast sits the sleepy coastal idyll of Yamba, complete with stunning beaches, meandering waterways and national parks. But don’t let this little slice of heaven fool you: there is plenty of retail gold to be found nestled along the sunny streets of this peaceful paradise.
Stop 1: Flots And Jets
Collecting can be an art form, as Flots And Jets owner Megan Ridgway demonstrates in her eclectic, one-of-a-kind store. Opening its doors in April 2015, it’s the new kid on the block, stocking homewares and soft furnishings from yesteryear, as well as some innovative Australian brands. Megan honed her eye for collectable-worthy finds as a kid, growing up with a mum who was also a keen collector. The result: a shop that stocks museum and gallery-worthy pieces that have life and lots of charm left in them. “Things used to be made to last, and I love seeing them get a second life,” says Megan.
Open: Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm; Sat-Sun, 9.30pm-3pm (closed Mondays and Sundays in winter).
Visit: 3/13 Yamba St, 0421 742 122.
Bookmark: Follow Megan’s store on Instagram @flots_n_jets.
Stop 2: Kitchen To Table
Here, customers can pick up all the quality kitchen gadgets and cookware they desire. Owners Meredith and Scott Morschel have a background in five-star hospitality, which is reflected in the calibre of kitchen and table products on offer, with everything from super useful tools to top-notch bakeware, pots and pans, cutlery and fine linens. A cafe at the back of the store doubles as a cooking school for classes run by Meredith and guest chefs. And this October, Meredith will host a trip to Morocco with a group of eager foodies on the first-ever Kitchen To Table food tour.
Open: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm; Sat, 9am-2pm; Sun, 10am-2pm during summer holidays and long weekends only.
Visit: 2/22 Coldstream St, (02) 6646 1577.
Stop 3: Irons And Craig
David Barnier says the cafe he runs with partner Antony Perring has ‘a retro nana hipstery kind of feel’, appropriate given that it was named in honour of their grandmothers, Olga Irons and Joan Craig. Yet, while the furnishings hark back to a bygone era, this light-filled cafe is also very much of the times (above opposite). Coffee is hand-blended, seasonal produce is key – often provided by customers in exchange for coffee – and most meals are prepared from scratch on the premises. The cafe also hosts regular art exhibitions, events and musical performances.
Open: Mon-Sat, 7am-3pm; Sun, 7am-12pm.
Visit: 29 Coldstream St, (02) 6646 1258.
Stop 4 : Shack Yamba
When Alicia Thomas left Yamba at 18 to work in the big smoke, she swore she’d never return. A decade on, she saw a vacant shop and realised returning home could satisfy her yearning for a more creative life, and Shack Yamba was born. “Yamba’s still peaceful and cruisey, but now you can have a coffee, go shopping and not miss out on what other places have to offer,” she says. Alicia sources clothing, homewares and giftwares from international suppliers in keeping with Shack’s coastal lifestyle vibe.
Open: Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm; Sat, 10am-2.30pm; Sun, 10.30am-1.30pm.
Visit: 30 Coldstream St, (02) 6646 3996.
Stop 5 : Island Collective
Artist and interior stylist Fleur Yorston was looking for a studio when she came across the space that is now Island Collective in Yamba’s industrial estate. “I have always been interested in interior design, and I was sick of having to travel up to Byron or down to Sydney to see what was happening,” says the New Zealand native. “So I thought, I’ll bring the products here!” Island Collective is a contemporary art space and designer homewares and furniture store, which Fleur fills with quality brands that have an artistic aesthetic. She also regularly runs events, workshops and art and craft-based cocktail evenings. Island Espresso, a takeaway coffee counter, opens in-store this spring.
Open: Mon-Fri, 10am-3pm.
Visit: Unit 1, 16 Uki St, Yamba industrial estate, 0416 560 201.
While you're there: A five-minute drive south of Yamba is the surf mecca of Angourie Beach. As well as being a picture-perfect spot to catch a wave, enjoy a bushwalk or take a dip, it’s home to the delightful Yum Yum Angourie store, a charming, sun-dappled cafe sitting behind a leafy screen on the corner of The Crescent and Bay St (02) 6646 2467. The friendly staff serves up delicious and healthy breakfasts, lunches, drinks and snacks seven days a week.