With UNESCO World Heritage rainforest and uncrowded beaches, Iluka is a charming village at the mouth of the beautiful Clarence River on the NSW North Coast. Explore the Iluka Nature Reserve and enjoy boating, fishing, surfing and more, such as kayaking with playful dolphins in the calm estuary.
The fishing village is on the northern side of Australia’s largest east coast river. Clarence River Ferries offers scenic cruises and a passenger service to Yamba, on the southern side. You can hire kayaks and stand-up paddleboards from AAA Kayak Tours and explore the estuary, including the Esk River.
For famous Yamba prawns and other fresh seafood caught by the fishing fleet, visit the Clarence River Fishermen’s Co-op on Queen Street. A stroll away is the estuary entrance’s breakwater, a popular spot for surfing and fishing. You can pick up fishing gear and tips from Iluka Bait and Tackle.
You’ll find accommodation options to suit various budgets in Iluka, which is in the Clarence Valley in the Northern Rivers region. The village is three hours’ drive south of Brisbane and 7h 30min north of Sydney. Byron Bay is 90 minutes to the north and hinterland Grafton is an hour to the southwest.
Iluka is home to NSW’s largest remaining seashore rainforest, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Wander under an emerald canopy on the Iluka Rainforest walking track, a 2.6km trail. The easy walk weaves past strangler figs and vines to a spectacular headland.
You’ll hear waves crashing before you reach the Iluka Bluff lookout, an excellent vantage point for whale watching between May and November. Tens of thousands of whales migrate north and south along the coast every year, so keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales breaching the azure sea.
Bluff Beach is a lovely white sandy beach, sheltered by the Iluka Bluff from southerly swells. There are beachside picnic tables at the southern end, where you can access the lookout and the rainforest track. The beach sweeps 1.2km north to Frazers Reef, an enchanting beach 100 metres in length.
There are more gorgeous beaches as well as the Woody Head campground and cabins north of Frazers Reef in the southern section of Bundjalung National Park. At Shark Bay you can drive your 4WD vehicle onto the beach at low tide and head north along the stretch known as Ten Mile Beach.