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.

THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO STAY

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Events

  1. Ashby Monthly Markets

    Sunday 18 November 2018 , Yamba

    On the third Sunday of each month, relax and enjoy a peaceful drive off the highway into the small village of Ashby, and head along to the local markets held in the grounds of the local Community Centre. Ashby locals welcome you to enjoy…

    18 Nov
  2. Yamba Triathlon

    Sunday 18 November 2018 , Yamba

    Say yes to Yamba - the chillest tri on the coast! Bring your mob, grow your mo' for Movember and get active together. They've got your multi-fun vibe covered with a Fun Run, McDonald's Kids Tri, and Tempta/Sprint Triathlon. Early Bird…

    18 Nov
  3. Yamba Farmers and Producers Market

    Wednesday 21 November 2018 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…

    21 Nov - 01 Sep
  4. Grafton Farmers Market

    Thursday 22 November 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…

    22 Nov - 27 Jul
  5. Yamba River Markets

    Sunday 25 November 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…

    25 Nov - 27 Jan
  6. Iluka Markets

    Sunday 02 December 2018 to Sunday 02 June 2019 , Iluka

    Run on the first Sunday of the month and set amongst the trees on the Iluka Sports Ground, the Iluka Markets have become widely recognised as having a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. Wander through this market and you will find variety…

    02 Dec - 02 Jun