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. Grafton Dance Eisteddfod

    Saturday 13 April 2019 to Sunday 21 April 2019 , Grafton

    A dance competition for all ages, individuals and groups in a variety of dance styles. Competitors have the opportunity to win prizes including trophies, medals, prize money, scholarships and encouragement awards. Spectators can enjoy a…

    13 Apr - 21 Apr
  2. Grafton Agricultural Show

    Event dates to be confirmed: April 2019 , Grafton

    The Grafton Agricultural Show will be held over a two day period. Features of the show include sideshows, extremely exhilarating rides, food stalls, exhibitions, farm displays, equestrian events, trotting, and the Grafton Show Girl…

  3. Plunge Art and Culture Festival

    Monday 22 April 2019 to Tuesday 30 April 2019 , Grafton

    The plunge Art and Culture Festival is a month long program of events right across the Clarence Valley in northern NSW. From exhibitions, local art and craft, workshops, live music, theatre, film and shows there is something for everyone…

    22 Apr - 30 Apr
  4. The Journey - 8x8 Exhibition

    Monday 22 April 2019 to Friday 26 April 2019 , Maclean

    Lower Clarence Arts and Crafts Association’s Annual 8 x 8 Small Works Exhibition. With the theme ‘The Journey’, artists and creators have been invited to create works in any medium within the confines of the supplied canvas.…

    22 Apr - 26 Apr
  5. Yamba Farmers and Producers Market

    Wednesday 24 April 2019 to Wednesday 01 September 2021 , Yamba

    A few years ago the seaside village of Yamba in Northern NSW was voted by the Australian Traveller Magazine 'the Best Town In Australia'. Not a whole lot has changed except with the introduction of the Yamba Farmers and Producers Market…

    24 Apr - 01 Sep