Mount Yacaaba, also known as Yacaaba Headland and Yacaaba Head, is a phenomenal summit in Myall Lakes National Park. By reaching the summit of Mount Yacaaba via the Yacaaba Headland Walking Track, you’ll be spoilt by stellar coastal views of Port Stephens in one direction, and, Hawks Nest, in the other. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a glorious white sand beach called Bennetts Beach as well as rugged headland bushland. Regardless of what time of year you plan to visit, expect to have an epic time hiking to the summit of Mount Yacaaba.
Reach the Mount Yacaaba Summit via the Yacaaba Headland Walking Track
Located on the southern boundary of the Barrington Coast in New South Wales, Yacaaba Head is a perfectly positioned headland, with the summit providing glorious 360 views. To the north, across the ocean, you’ll have stunning views of Tomaree Head (Mount Tomaree) and the beautiful beaches on either side of it. To the south, you’ll have even better views of Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens.
Most notable is the thin strip of land at the tip of Hawks Nest that divides the Pacific Ocean and Karuah River. On the riverside is Jimmys Beach, and on the ocean side is Bennetts Beach – a beautiful white sand beach where your Mount Yacaaba hiking adventure begins. To that end, you’ll follow the Yacaaba Headland Walking Track from Bennetts Beach to the summit of Mount Yacaaba. Below, you’ll find the trail specs and a GPS-guided map for the Yacaaba Headland Walking Track.
Highlights of the Yacaaba Headland Walking Track
Start at Bennetts Beach
The Yacaaba Headland Walking Track begins along the sensational Bennetts Beach. Get ready for brilliant white sand, crystal clear turquoise ocean waters and serene coastal bushland. Sand walking can be tough at the best of times, let alone when you’re speed hiking! But at least you’ll have lovely natural surrounds to distract you regardless of your speed of hiking. Plus, one-way, this hike is just shy of 2km, so it’ll actually fly by.
WHAT IS SPEED HIKING? Well, it’s not rocket science! It’s just hiking quicker than your usual hiking speed. Give it a try! Speed hiking makes for a great workout. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy more hikes in a day, which is particularly useful if you have limited to explore an area.
Hiking Bennetts Beach towards Mount Yacaaba will lead you to the southern end of the beach where you’ll find a signpost directing you into the dense bush of the headland. Very soon, you’ll realise the sand hiking was actually the easy part. That’s because the walking trail up Mount Yacaaba is a steep, rocky and dusty path, which makes for a challenging hike.
FYI – Bennetts Beach is 4×4 accessible, so expect a few vehicles on the beach during your hike.
Scramble Through Bush to the Summit
From the open expanse of the beach, you’ll soon be surrounded and sometimes even sheltered by dense coastal bushland on Mount Yacaaba. Upon entering the headland, you’ll quickly begin steeply ascending to the summit of Mount Yacaaba. The track is straightforward enough to follow as there are no misleading false or side trails. However, the steepness of the trail meandering through Mount Yacaaba makes it a fairly tough slog. Expect to work up a sweat, particularly in the warmer months.
The Steep Section to the Summit of Mount Yacaaba
After around 500 metres or so, you’ll reach a dusty, flat section of the trail where you’ll encounter your first viewpoint. With an opening in the dense bushland, you’ll have some nice northerly facing views of Hawks Nest including Bennetts Beach. For some people, the hike will end here. But at this stage, your views will still be partially blocked by bush, so we recommend continuing up to the summit.
So what’s the catch? Well, the next section is the most difficult and steep part of the track. In parts, it’s a bit of a scramble with plenty of loose rocks, but it’s certainly not too hardcore. After about 400 metres of this more challenging section, the track flattens out again, and leads you to the summit!
So all in all, from the base of Mount Yacaaba (the southern end of Bennetts Beach), the track to the summit is just over 1km. But because you’ll be gaining more than 200 metres of elevation, it’ll feel much longer. Thankfully, by reaching the summit of Mount Yacaaba, you’ll catch sensational views of Hawks Nest and Port Stephens.
Mount Yacaaba: Views of Hawks Nest
From the summit of Mount Yacaaba, the best views are facing back at Bennetts Beach and Jimmys Beach. Further in the distance is Hawks Nest, Tea Gardens and the stunning coastline of the Barrington Coast. During the steep ascent of Mount Yacaaba, you’ll catch occasional glimpses of Hawks Nest through gaps in the dense bushland and at the first viewpoint. But, those views are surpassed by the ones at the Mount Yacaaba summit.
If you’ve dabbled in a bit of speed hiking, in only around 1 hour, you would have walked the southerly end of Bennetts Beach and scaled the top of Mount Yacaaba. The glorious views of Hawks Nest will certainly make it worth it!
Mount Yacaaba: Views of Port Stephens
In the opposite direction to Hawks Nest, in a southerly direction, is Port Stephens and the outstanding Tomaree National Park. Admittedly, your views of Port Stephens will not be as good as your views of Hawks Nest. Given the summit is fairly wild, thick bushland will slightly block your views of the stunning Port Stephens coastline. But you’ll still have amazing views to enjoy. Tomaree Head is a standout feature of this coastline – having climbed it in early 2020, it was nice to see it from another perspective.
The Return Journey (The Steep Descent)
After you’ve enjoyed the summit of Mount Yacaaba, it’s time to do the return leg of the walk. Take care as you descend the mid-section of this track, which is steep and has many loose rocks – the perfect recipe to lose your footing! Even though in some sections you’ll need to take it a bit slower for safety, the descent should still be quicker than the hike up. So expect to be back down at Bennetts Beach in no time, celebrating your summit ascent with a refreshing swim!
Indeed, Bennetts Beach deserves more of your time. Bennetts Beach is a truly stunning stretch of coast. Make time to chill out on the beach and go for a dip after your hike. Alternatively, if you’re up for more exploring, there is more of Bennetts Beach to explore north of Jimmys Beach Reserve.
Essential Information About Mount Yacaaba
Hiking to the summit of Mount Yacaaba should be at the top of your hiking to-do list if you ever find yourself in Myall Lakes National Park. There’s much to enjoy on this hike – the drool-worthy Bennetts Beach, the heart-pounding ascent to the summit and the glorious 360 views of Hawks Nest and Port Stephens atop Mount Yacaaba.
We hope this guide has inspired you to experience the Yacaaba Head Walking Track and travel to this beautiful part of the world. For more information on how to get there, nearby accommodation, useful hiking gear and bonus tips for this walk, please continue below.
How to Get There and Where to Park
Park at Jimmys Beach Reserve to begin the Yacaaba Headland Walking Track. Mount Yacaaba is located in Hawks Nest, at the southern end of Myall Lakes National Park. From Sydney, it’s a decent 2.5–3 hour drive, whilst it’s just a stone throw’s away from Newcastle! Either way, if you’re travelling up to Hawks Nest, hiking Yacaaba Head is a good way to start your exploration of Myall Lakes National Park, as it’s located at the southern end.
We camped at the Stewart and Lloyds Campground. Read our Myall Lake National Park guide (coming soon) to find out more about this awesome campground where you can hang out with chilled dingoes! In this guide, we’ll cover information about other nearby attractions such as the beautiful Seal Rocks, Submarine Beach, Fiona Beach and Big Gibber Headland.
If you’re not in the mood for camping, use Booking.com to find yourself some lovely coastal accommodation.
FAQs About Mount Yacaaba
Below, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about Mount Yacaaba and the Yacaaba Headland Walking Track.
How Long Does it Take to Climb Mount Yacaaba?
Starting at Bennetts Beach, it takes around 1–1.5 hours (approx. 3.5km) to summit Mount Yacaaba.
How High Is Yacaaba Headland?
The Yacaaba Headland height is approx. 218 metres above sea level.
What Is the Yacaaba meaning?
The word Yacaaba means big brother. Yacaaba Headland has been of significance to the Worimi people for at least 4,000 years. Port Stephens is actually a fantastic place to learn about Aboriginal culture and arts with many examples of Aboriginal art found across the area.
Getting to Sydney
Flights: Of course, you’ll need to fly to Sydney to do this trip from abroad. If you’re travelling to Sydney from overseas, use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights. When flying abroad, we always get the ball rolling with a Skyscanner search.
Also, if you’re based in the UK or US, you should sign up to Jack’s Flight Club for the best flight deal alert service. By simply subscribing to the free weekly newsletter or buying a premium membership, you could save lots of money on international travel. If you’re interstate, subscribe to I Want That Flight for the best flight deal alerts to and from Melbourne. You can usually find cheap flights with Jetstar or Tiger Airways.
Five Hiking Gear Essentials for Yacaaba Head
Why do you need this?
See it in action
You'll want hiking boots with decent traction, particularly for the steep mid-section of the Yacaaba Headland Walking Track
This is the best compact digital camera out there. You can take high-quality photos and 4K videos with this pocket-size camera
It can get fairly windy at the lookout. Take a windproof jacket!
Capture your hiking footage with this premium action camera
We found the initial viewpoint, about halfway up Mount Yacaaba, as a great place to fly the drone. Although, it's very dusty, so we don't recommend flying if there are people around!
For a more comprehensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Otherwise, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a trip, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
Pack plenty of water: it’s a relatively short hike, but on a hot day, you’ll be baking on the beach and working up a sweat as you ascend to Yacaaba Head. Take 2L of water to be on the safe side.
- Food and other supplies: there’s plenty in the way of shops in Hawks Nest and the nearby Tea Gardens. So, there’ll be plenty of options for stocking up before your hiking adventure!
- You need permission to fly your drone in NSW National Parks (NPWS): please send an application form to NPWS to ask for permission to fly your drone at Yacaaba Head.
- Trail navigation: the Yacaaba Headland Walking Track involves fairly straightforward navigation. But, if you’re unfamiliar with the area, haven’t hiked here before or are an inexperienced hiker, consider downloading an online map before you set out. We recommend using Wikiloc or AllTrails for GPS-guided maps.
- Enjoy other Myall Lakes National Park walks: consider doing some Hawks Nest walks such as the Winda Woppa Walk. Otherwise, there are plenty of attractions at Myall Lakes to simply explore and enjoy.
- Travelling further afield: want to explore more of NSW? Check out the underrated Lord Howe Island. Want to travel outside of Australia? Look no further than New Zealand.
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