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Mount Yacaaba (Yacaaba Headland) – An Excellent Summit

Mount Yacaaba (Yacaaba Headland) – An Excellent Summit

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.

Check out the Pink Caves on the Central Coast or the 4 Best Lake Macquarie Trails

A view of the coastal bushland seen during the Yacaaba Headland Walking Track, starting at Bennetts Beach

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Yacaaba Headland Walking Track: Stats and Map

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 7km
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 220m
  • Difficulty: Grade 4
  • Trailhead: Jimmys Beach Reserve
  • Map: AllTrails

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! But at least you’ll have lovely natural surrounds to distract you. Plus, one-way, this hike is just shy of 2km, so it’ll actually fly by.

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.

Views of Bennetts Beach from Mount Yacaaba during the Yacaaba Headland Walking Track

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!

Hawks Nest is in the distance with Bennetts Beach and Jimmys Beach just beyond the bushland

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.

Views of Mount Tomaree in Port Stephens from Mount Yacaaba (AKA Yacaaba Headland and Yacaaba Head)

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.

Views of Mount Tomaree in Port Stephens
Tomaree Head of Port Stephens seen from Yacaaba Head

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.

Car Hire

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.


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 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 Meaning of Yacaaba?

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

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.

Hiking Gear Essentials for Yacaaba Head

Osprey Skarab 30
Osprey Skarab 30

The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover

A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.

GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.

BUFF Original Ecostretch
BUFF Original Ecostretch

The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII
Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel 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.

Bonus Tips

  • 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.

Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

We acknowledge and respect the First Nations people as the Traditional Custodians of the land/water that we visited and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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