Maclean

From rich Scottish heritage to sweet estuary prawns, discover Maclean by the beautiful Clarence River in the Northern Rivers region on the NSW North Coast. The town is surrounded by cane fields and farmland, and fishing boats harvest fresh prawns from Australia’s largest east coast river system.

Called the Scottish Town of Australia, Maclean celebrates its heritage with the Highland Gathering, a festival held every Easter for more than 110 years. Two days of family fun, enjoy street concerts, bagpipe competitions, traditional highland games such caber tossing, and lots of dancing in kilts.

Bagpipers in kilts parade at the Highland Gathering festival in Maclean, Clarence Valley

In the charming town centre, browse boutiques and savour cafes and restaurants serving fresh local produce. Colourful tartan power poles dot the streets. The first poles appeared in 2000 to coincide with the Olympic Torch’s arrival, and now there are over 200 power poles painted in clan tartans.

Many street signs carry Gaelic translations. A big Scottish cairn of stones collected from around Australia and Scotland is in the Herb Stanford Memorial Park. You can explore the history of the area at the Maclean Bicentennial Museum next to the Stone Cottage, built in 1879 from local sandstone.

For spectacular panoramic views of the Clarence Valley and beyond, the Maclean Lookout is 2km from the town centre. Stroll from the lookout to near the Pinnacle, a balancing rock formation that is surrounded by subtropical rainforest. The Pinnacle is an important Aboriginal cultural heritage site.

Spectacular views of the Clarence Valley and beyond from the Maclean Lookout

The Clarence River Arts Festival is in July, with everything from fine art to quilting, jewellery and photography. Or visit the Ferry Park Gallery and shop for local arts and crafts at any time of the year. There are markets, too. The Maclean Community Markets is on the second Saturday of the month.

Fishing and boating are popular, with plenty of spots along the river where the fish bite. And you can enjoy freshly caught seafood, including the juicy estuary prawns, from various locations in the town. What about a romantic picnic? Well, Valley Pop-up Picnics will help you by doing all the preparation.

You’ll find plenty of riverside accommodation options in Maclean, a short drive west of Yamba’s gorgeous beaches and Angourie Point, a famous surf break. What about a river houseboat holiday? Houseboats are available for rent at Grafton 2 Yamba Houseboat Hire in Brushgrove, near Maclean.

Grafton Airport

Fly into Clarence Valley Regional Airport, Grafton

Clarence Valley Regional Airport is located 12 km from Grafton’s town centre. Use the taxi services available at the terminal to make the short trip northwest. Alternatively, rent a car from the hire services available at the airport and explore the region at your own pace.

Regional Express operates more than 30 weekly direct flights to and from Sydney. For other major Australian cities, connect via Sydney for travel into Grafton.

THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO STAY

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Events

  1. Maclean Community Monthly Markets

    Saturday 10 November 2018 to Saturday 11 May 2019 , Maclean

    Maclean Community Markets are held on the second Saturday of each month in the main car park, near the Maclean Bowling Club. Stalls offer an array of items including jewellery, clothing, plants, craft items, freshly baked cookies and cakes …

    10 Nov - 11 May
  2. Maclean Macmarket Day

    Saturday 05 January 2019 , Maclean

    The Maclean MacMarket is an annual market held on the first Saturday of the year hosted by Lions in the main street of the town. Thousands of people descend to this riverside village for the event. River Street is closed to traffic and t…

    05 Jan
  3. Maclean Highland Gathering

    Friday 19 April 2019 to Saturday 20 April 2019 , Maclean

    Grab your kilt and get to Maclean, the 'Scottish Town in Australia'. Walk among the clans that invade the town for the Highland Gathering every Easter from around the country. Piping competitions take place non-stop at different venues, as…

    19 Apr - 20 Apr