Ulmarra is one of those quaint country towns you may not have heard of, but that will quickly win you over. Part of the Clarence Valley in Northern NSW, this former river port abounds with heritage listed architecture, antique shops and unique galleries that show how much talent regional towns are blessed with.
The galleries here are definitely worth exploring. Coldstream Gallery promotes the work of local artisans from the Clarence River, you’ll find everything from artworks to sculptures to jewellery and Fibre Delights is a craft cooperative of 15 artisans showcasing their sewing, quilting and handicraft skills.
Artist Peter J Hill may be in his 80’s, but he’s only semi-retired. You’ll find him painting and up for a chat at PJ Art Gallery. There are fine art prints at Ulmarra Collective alongside French soaps and handmade homewares imported from Morocco, Mexico and Turkey or order beautiful, bespoke furniture made from Australian native timber at The Wood Shop.
Antiques and shopping
There is something about country towns and antique stores; they’re definitely worth rummaging around. Contrary’s on Clarence is chock-a-block with antiques and collectibles while Old Codgers Antiques is bric-a-brac heaven and the place to pick up French copper cookware.
Vintage Soul Design is the kind of retro boutique you wish was nearer to home, selling handmade designs, unique millinery and even award-winning jams. DivaNix is a wearable art boutique based on the work of local artist Diane Valerie Nixon and you can find unique pieces at Rathgar Retro Op Shop.
Eat and drink
The Ulmarra Hotel, built in 1906, has a beer garden with spectacular jacaranda tree and its Café Clarence also serves up Toby’s Estate coffee. Ulmarra Collective also has a café, so you can enjoy a cuppa under the Poinciana and The Little Local Café is by the river. Also see if the sunset Riverside Picnicsare on when you’re there.
Getting there and where to stay
Ulmarra is a 6hr 30min drive north of Sydney and 3hr 30min south of Brisbane. It’s just 15 minutes from the regional centre Grafton, which you can get to by air, rail and coach. There are a handful of places to stay in town, including the historic Ulmarra Hotel, B&Bs and self-contained apartments.