Clarence Valley

Memorable holidays begin in the Clarence Valley, from a heritage walk in jacaranda-lined Grafton to kayaking, fishing and surfing adventures. There are mighty rivers, beautiful beaches and World Heritage rainforest to discover, and charming towns, fun festivals and juicy Yamba prawns to enjoy.

The enticing area is in the Northern Rivers region on the NSW North Coast. Grafton is the main town by the Clarence River, Australia’s largest east coast river system. More than 2,000 jacaranda trees grow in Grafton, creating a spring sea of mauve. The Jacaranda Festival celebrates the vivid bloom.

Three girls walking and holdings hands under Jacaranda trees, Grafton

Getting to Grafton is easy by car, train or plane. You’ll find beautifully preserved colonial buildings, a fine art collection in the Grafton Regional Gallery, and the Clarence River is a source of recreation and livelihood. Boating and fishing are popular, and small fishing boats harvest fresh estuary prawns.

Australia’s longest whitewater trail is in the upper Clarence Valley. The canoe and kayak trail flows 195km on the Mann, Nymboida and Clarence rivers in spectacular scenery - the Clarence Gorge is majestic. Rapids vary in difficulty, with some such as Demolition Derby for advanced paddlers only.

Woman gazing over Clarence Gorge from Hayley Lookout, near Grafton

Wild river adventure tours depart from Grafton, in the hinterland. There are also plenty more things to do along the Clarence River as it meanders north-easterly to the sea. You can hire a houseboat and explore the river at your own pace. Maclean is a delightful town with a rich Scottish heritage.

The enchanting seaside towns of Iluka and Yamba are at the mouth of the river. Iluka is on the northern side next to the Iluka Nature Reserve, which is part of the UNESCO-listed Gondwana Rainforests. Clarence River Ferries has daily passenger services to Yamba, on the southern side.

Treetop view towards the Angourie Point surf break, near Yamba

Famous for prawns and surfing, Yamba is a popular destination for a beach holiday and recreational fishing. Surfers chase the perfect wave at the world-famous Angourie Point, one of Australia’s iconic National Suring Reserves. A wonderful multi-day hike in the Yuraygir National Park begins here, too.

The magnificent national park sweeps south to Wooli, a seaside village on a narrow peninsula with the pristine Wooli Wooli River on one side and the Solitary Islands Marine Park on the other. The coastline from Wooli in the south to Iluka in the north is dotted with gorgeous sandy beaches.

Accommodation in the Clarence Valley ranges from waterfront holiday parks and resorts to hinterland retreats, heritage pubs, motels, youth hostels and national park campgrounds. Check out the exciting events calendar when planning your trip for festivals, markets, concerts and shows.


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  1. Yamba River Markets

    Sunday 23 September 2018 to Sunday 27 January 2019 , Yamba

    The Yamba River Markets are on the fourth Sunday of the month, located at Ford Park on the foreshores of the beautiful, scenic Clarence River. There's always something new at the Yamba River Markets, which feature around 120 stalls, and mo…

    23 Sep - 27 Jan
  2. Circus Rio Grafton

    Sunday 23 September 2018 , Grafton

    Be amazed as the incredible performers of Circus Rio take the whole family on a journey around the world, beginning at the famous Carnival of Rio de Janeiro! You'll be left speechless by FMX Motorbikes as they somersault over the stage - …

    23 Sep
  3. Yamba Farmers Market

    Wednesday 26 September 2018 to Wednesday 26 July 2028 , Yamba

    At the Yamba Farmers Market you can buy a scrumptious range of fresh seasonal produce and handcrafted delights, free-range eggs, honey, chillies and chilli products, rosella jam and organic veggies, gluten-free sweets, pecans, jams, relishe…

    26 Sep - 26 Jul
  4. Grafton Farmers Market

    Thursday 27 September 2018 to Thursday 27 July 2028 , Grafton

    Discover the flavoursome taste of seasonal fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs just harvested, much of it grown organically, chemical free and local, purchased directly from the grower. Enjoy the wonderful assortment of condiments in the wa…

    27 Sep - 27 Jul