The Clarence Valley

Angourie

The charming seaside village of Angourie, 5kms south of Yamba, is at the northern tip of Yuraygir National Park, which has one of the most spectacular coastal walks in the state.

In the 1960s Angourie became famous as one of the best point-breaks in Australia and is often visited by the world’s best surfers. Many of the world’s top surfers have stayed at Angourie and continue to visit the village on a regular basis. If you’ve never surfed before try one of the local surf schools to get some expert instruction.

While the famous Angourie point-breaks sweeps onto rocks and can be dangerous for inexperienced board riders, there are many kilometres of open beaches surrounding Angourie.

Angourie is also renowned for its fresh water Blue & Green Pools, originally a rock quarry that filled with water when a spring was disturbed. The pools are very deep and it is a very popular picnic spot.

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Brooms Head

Brooms Head is one of those unique beachfront villages that are becoming rare. Originally known as Cakora Point, the name Brooms Head was first used in 1870 when a broom thought to have come from the wreck of the schooner ‘Eureka’, was washed up on the beach. These days many locals affectionately refer to “The Broom” as their favourite holiday destination.

Nestled in the heathland of Yuraygir National Park,  Brooms Head has a timeless quality – pristine beaches, friendly locals, away from the hustle and bustle. The caravan park is located right next to the main beach.

There are a number of points of interest in and around Brooms Head. Go up to the lookout and take in the panorama – it’s also a wonderful vantage point for whale and dolphin watching.

There are some great fishing spots at the base of this headland. “Schnapper Rock” is one that the locals will point out to you. Launch a canoe on Lake Cakora and you’ll find that it extends quite a distance behind the dunes. Jabirus, swans and a variety of other wading birds live on the mud-flats.  Mud-crabs abound in this watery haven and the fishing is good. If you enjoy deep-sea fishing, you can launch a boat on the southern end of main beach. South of the boat ramp is a great spot for snorkeling.

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Grafton

The commercial hub of the Clarence Valley is the beautiful city of Grafton situated on the banks of the Clarence River. Grafton has historic architecture, excellent accommodation, shopping, restaurants and a vibrant artistic community.

One of Australia’s most beautiful provincial cities, Grafton is renowned for its Jacaranda trees, graceful old buildings, sporting and cultural facilities, and its location on the banks of the Clarence River.

As the thriving commercial hub of the Clarence Valley, Grafton has a range of quality accommodation options with great shopping, restaurants, pubs and clubs.

One of Australia’s most majestic waterways, the Clarence River is a dominant feature in Grafton’s landscape and lifestyle. Visitors travel from all over the world to compete in dragon boat, sail, and power boat racing, the Head of the River rowing regatta in December and one of Australia’s premier water skiing events, the famous Bridge to Bridge Ski Race, in October.

Take a leisurely stroll to see many of Grafton’s buildings which have been classified by the National Trust, including the Christ Church Cathedral, the infamous Grafton Gaol, and some fine historic homes.

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Iluka

Iluka has long been famous for fishing and serious anglers never visit without a frypan in the fishing gear. People also come to this beautiful coastal town to experience one of Australia’s rarest and most accessible rainforest remnants. The World Heritage listed Iluka Nature Reserve contains the largest remnant of littoral rainforest in NSW. It supports rich vegetation and abundant bird and wildlife.

Iluka Bluff has a great swimming beach and lookout platform with panoramic views – ideal for whale-watching. There is a netted swimming area at Iluka Bay and beautiful beaches with picnic areas at Back beach, Frazers Reef and Woody Head where camping is available.

A walk along the sea wall is the perfect way to unwind or just sit, meditate and marvel at the tranquillity.  Take a trip on the local passenger ferry across the mouth of the river to Yamba for the day or watch the trawlers at dawn and dusk make their way to and from the harbour.

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Maclean

Three minutes off the Pacific Highway is the river town of Maclean. The town is very proud of its heritage and is “The Scottish Town in Australia”. A cairn of rocks from Australia and Scotland, commemorates Maclean’s Scottish pioneers.

Each year the clans invade for the Easter Highland Gathering and Scottish Week is celebrated in July. Many street signs carry Gaelic translations and more than 200 telegraph poles along the main streets have been painted in the tartans of local Scottish clans. Pop into the local souvenir shop to pick up a map and track down your family tartan if your ancestors come from Scotland.

Explore all the historic architecture of the town, take the heritage walking trail, visit the museum and don’t miss the breathtaking views from the Maclean lookout over the town and the mighty Clarence River.

The town centre boulevarde, with its beautifully restored shop fronts, provides a quiet place to browse through the many and varied shops and galleries. Enjoy a stop along the river bank and soak up the river charm of the mighty Clarence.

Maclean is the southern gateway of the sugar industry and Harwood Island Sugar Mill, the oldest continuous working mill in Australia, has been crushing cane since 1874.

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Minnie Water

The delightfully named Minnie Water is a small coastal village completely surrounded by the Yuraygir National Park.  The village is a picture when the Christmas Bells or the Flannel Flowers bloom in the surrounding parklands. Over 120 species of wildflower have been identified around Minnie Water.

There are two short picturesque walks in the National Park: Angophora Grove Walk and Rocky Point Walk. The rock platforms extending seawards to Rocky Point offer hours of entertainment for those who enjoy examining the microcosm of marine life in tidal pools and rock crevices. Sea urchins, star fish, cunjevoi, coral and a variety of sponges and shells may be found in this area.

Minnie Lagoon is a very popular and beautiful spot for swimming, picnics and safe boat launchings. To find this spot, turn into Hiawatha Road, then left at Pipers Hill following the Waratah Reserve along to the Tree of Knowledge Lookout where there is a steep sealed road down to the lagoon.

If you want to enjoy the tranquil coastal charm of Minnie Water, there is a caravan park at the entrance to the village, camping at Illaroo in Yuraygir National Park and holiday houses available through local real estate agents.

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Nymboida

Nymboida is a small village situated about 40 km south west from Grafton, on the Nymboida River and Goolang Creek, along the road to Armidale. It enjoys stunning mountain bush, magnificent waterways and an abundance of wildlife, including many endangered species. The town is the outdoor adventure capital of the Clarence Valley, being located on the river and the perfect spot to try your hand at some whitewater rafting or canoeing. Also on offer are adrenalin pumping activities of abseiling, canyoning and rock climbing.  The perfect place for those that like a white-knuckle excitement.

The Nymboida River shelters one of the North Coast’s largest platypus communities. These delightful creatures can be viewed in the early morning and late afternoon in these clean waters.  Probably the best spots to catch a glimpse of these elusive marsupials is by hiring a canoe to explore the river for yourself.

 

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Wooli

Wooli is a beautiful seaside village with a storybook setting. On land it is encircled by Yuraygir National Park and the village is located on a narrow peninsula with the Wooli Wooli River on it’s western side and the Pacific Ocean to the east. This section of coastline forms the northern sector of the Solitary Islands Marine Park  which protects the estuaries, beaches and islands from the Sandon River to Coffs Harbour in the south.

As the gateway to the Solitary Islands Marine Park, Wooli is the perfect place for those wanting to explore the natural underwater beauty of the marine park by deepsea diving. Wooli is the only place in the Clarence Valley with a dive shop for those needing diving gear or tank refills.

The Wooli Wooli River can be negotiated for around 20km by canoe or boat with kangaroos, emus, black-necked storks, brolgas, kingfishers, parrots and all manner of wildlife along the banks.

Holidaymakers can find many perfect fishing and picnic spots along the riverbank and the serious angler can chase bigger dreams from the beaches, rocks (the breakwalls are popular) or deepsea where local fishing charters are available into the marine park.

There are many kilometres of secluded beaches in and around Wooli and visitors love to find their own favourite spot to swim, fish, walk or relax.

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Yamba

Spectacular beaches, fabulous seafood, rolling surf, perfect climate and amazing seaside accommodation …. sound like you? Then you’ll love Yamba.  Wake up to the sound of the ocean right at your door. Breakfast at a funky cafe and head off for a day of cruising and discovery.

Mathew Flinders first came to Yamba in 1799 and a maritime station was established in 1854 that remains to this day. To explore the history of the town further take a stroll along one of the Yamba Historical Walks finishing up at the fascinating local museum. Along the way you’ll pass Pilot Hill and the lighthouse precinct which offer visitors beautiful panoramic ocean views.

Check out the marina, hire a boat, take a relaxing river cruise, or order up a latte. And of course you can’t go home without tasting the famous Yamba prawns.

Explore art galleries and craft shops, or follow the locals to any of Yamba’s five stunning beaches. Never swum in an ocean pool before? Here’s your chance. The surfing is great but if you need a little instruction try one of the local surf schools.

Yamba is famous for its fishing and is the home port to one of the largest commercial fishing fleets in the state. Watching the fleet go out of the heads in the early evening and returning at dawn with their catch is a sight not to be missed.

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