Grafton

Jacaranda trees, Clarence River Tourism / Image courtesy of Clarence River Tourism

Population 17499

With over 6500 trees in 24 parks, Grafton is known for its riverbank parks and jacaranda trees. Its city centre adds to the charm with wide streets, elegant Victorian buildings and the Clarence River passing through. Water lovers are spoiled for choice with everything from whitewater adventures, waterskiing and fishing.

Visitor Information

Clarence River Visitor Information Centre, Pacific Hwy, South Grafton; (02) 6642 4677

www.clarencetourism.com

Nearby national parks

  • Yuraygir National Park

    Yuraygir National Park protects the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in New South Wales, a glorious sweep of beaches backed by...more

  • Gibraltar Range National Park

    Gibraltar Range National Park preserves an area of immense natural beauty and spectacular scenery on the eastern perimeter of the New...more

  • Bundjalung National Park

    Bundjalung National Park protects a superb 38-kilometre stretch of the state’s far north coastline, including secluded beaches,...more

Nearby towns

  • Yamba

    This quiet holiday town at the mouth of the Clarence River offers excellent sea, lake and river fishing. It is the largest coastal resort in...more

  • Iluka

    Located at the mouth of the Clarence River on the north coast, Iluka is a relatively uncommercial fishing and holiday village. Its...more

  • Woolgoolga

    'Woopi' (as it is affectionately known to locals) is a charming and relaxed seaside town with a significant Sikh population. Punjabi...more

In Town

Susan Island This rainforest recreation reserve in the Clarence River is home to a large fruit bat colony. Dusk is the time to visit to watch the bats flying off in search of food (wearing a hat is advisable if visiting at this time). During the day the island is a good spot for rainforest walks, barbecues and picnics. Access is via hired boat, skippered cruise or Clarence Islander ferry.

Regional Gallery: rated as one of the most outstanding regional galleries in Australia, the Grafton Regional Gallery inside Prentice House has permanent exhibitions such as the Jacaranda Art Society and Contemporary Australian Drawing collections; closed Mon; Fitzroy St; (02) 6642 3177.

National Trust–classified buildings: include Schaeffer House, home of the Clarence River Historical Society, Christ Church Cathedral and the notorious Grafton Gaol; heritage trail brochure from visitor centre.

Local art and craft shops: brochure from visitor centre.

Nearby

Museum of Interesting Things Australian actor Russell Crowe chose Nymboida's coaching station for the home of his amazing collection of film memorabilia (mostly from Crowe's films, like Gladiator and L.A. Confidential), vintage cars, motorcycles, a giant Cobb & Co coach and other 'interesting things'. Open 11am–3pm Mon–Fri, 10am–5pm Sat, 10am–3pm Sun; 3970 Armidale Rd, Nymboida; (02) 6649 4126. 47 km SW.

Nymboida Waters pumped by the hydro-electric power station from the Nymboida River into Goolang Creek provide a high-standard canoe course that hosts competitions throughout the year. Canoe hire and lessons are on offer and facilities range from the learners' pond for beginners to grade III rapids for the experienced, thrill-seeking canoeist. The beautiful rainforest surrounds are excellent for bushwalking, abseiling, trail rides and platypus viewing. 47 km SW.

Ulmarra Village: National Trust–classified turn-of-the-century river port with exceptional galleries, craft shops and studios where you can watch artists at work; 12 km NE.

Yuraygir National Park: highlights include Wooli for unspoiled surf beaches and Minnie Water for walking trails, secluded beaches, camping and abundant wildlife (especially the very friendly wallabies). Minnie Lagoon is a popular swimming, picnicking and boating spot; 50 km SE.

Fishing: river fishing for saltwater or freshwater fish, depending on time of year and rainfall; details at visitor centre.

Fishing spots near town

Coffs Harbour - Fishing Sub-region 71 km

My introduction to fishing north of Sydney was at Coffs Harbour, an area with a diverse range of options. The first time I fished here I was into land-based game and spent most of my time on the ledges of Mutton Bird... Find out more


Eco-friendly activities around town

Cycling around Armidale and Coffs Harbour 69 km

A 5-kilometre bicycle track leads from Harris Park in Armidale to the University of New England. Bikes can be hired from Armidale Bicycle Centre or the University’s Sports Union. The 26-kilometre-return ride from... Find out more


Golf courses around town

Bonville Golf Resort 75 km

Bonville is Australia’s most beautiful inland course. Carved from 250 hectares of flooded gums and blackbutt forest, with small pockets of subtropical rainforest, Bonville is often described as Australia’s... Find out more


Cafes & restaurants around town

Georgie’s

Tucked away inside the Grafton Regional Gallery, Georgie’s is an extremely popular restaurant-cafe serving home-cooked meals. The courtyard is a favourite dining spot, so grab a table and be dazzled by the freshly cooked... Find out more


Moos Restaurant

Moos Restaurant is part of the Jacaranda Motor Lodge, on the outskirts of Grafton. Popular for its plump and juicy steaks, Moos Restaurant also serves succulent prawns freshly plucked from the Yamba River, which,... Find out more


Victoria’s Restaurant

The elegant in-house restaurant at Grafton’s Quality Inn is a popular special-occasion dining destination for locals and visitors alike. Victoria’s hosts a barbecue night on Sunday evenings in summer, and... Find out more


Campsites around town

Illaroo camping area 36 km

Just north of Minnie Water, via Minnie Water Rd off Wooli Rd, this is a large and spacious camping area with 60 sites shared between Illaroo north and Illaroo south. There’s room for tents, campervans and trailers.... Find out more


Nymboida River camping area 36 km

You’ll need a 4WD vehicle to get to this secluded camping area near Nymboida River, in the south-eastern corner of the park. Follow the T Ridge Rd 57 km west of South Grafton; take Dobby Rd, then Ramornie Rd from... Find out more


Rocky Point camping area (walk-in camping) 36 km

This is a walk-in camping area with no facilities, accessible via an easy 100 m walking track leading from Illaroo camping area. Campfires are not permitted, so bring your own gas/fuel stove and drinking water.... Find out more


Diggers Headland Reserve Camping Ground 37 km

There are up to 26 camping sites here, tucked in among coastal banksias, only a stone’s throw from the beach. To get here, follow Diggers Camp Rd off Wooli Rd, about 12 km north of Wooli. It’s a pretty basic... Find out more


Boorkoom camping area 37 km

In the southern section of Yuraygir National Park, small and secluded Boorkoom is north of Wooli near Diggers Camp. The 10 campsites here aren’t suitable for caravans or camper trailers; access is via the unsealed... Find out more


Sandon River camping area 38 km

You get the best of many worlds from here: sweeping sandy beach to the north; rockpools to the south at the base of Sandon Bluffs; and fine fishing in Sandon River. The 40 sites in the camping area are suitable for... Find out more


Grey Cliff camping area 41 km

Next to Red Cliff camping area on the headland south of Lake Arragan, Grey Cliff is 5 km north of Brooms Head along the unsealed Brooms Head Rd. The campsites are big enough for camper trailers and caravans. Bring... Find out more


Red Cliff camping area 41 km

This is next to Grey Cliff camping area, on the headland south of Lake Arragan, 5 km north of Brooms Head along the unsealed Brooms Head Rd. The campsites are big enough for camper trailers and caravans. Bring firewood... Find out more


Lake Arragan camping area 41 km

Next to a small coastal lagoon ringed with paperbarks and nodding reeds, this camping area is just as popular with migratory and resident birds as it is with campers, but with 50 campsites there’s room for... Find out more


Station Creek camping area 42 km

This is a popular spot in peak periods, positioned by a peaceful creek with access through the sand dunes to the beach. Bring a canoe and go for a paddle, or set out on the Corkwood and Scribbly Gum Walk (1.5 km, 1 hr... Find out more


Caravan parks around town

The Gateway Village 3 km

This is a very good quality caravan park, 3.5 km north of the town centre, along the Summerland Way. Good facilities and a lovely garden setting make this an attractive spot for those wishing to explore Grafton. Bookings... Find out more


Brooms Head Caravan Park 40 km

In an out-of-the-way place, this park spreads along more than 1.5 km of beachfront, surrounded by national park. This is a popular beachside holiday destination and bookings are required in peak periods and a... Find out more


The Lorikeet Tourist Park 46 km

This wonderful park has excellent facilities, including a games room and tennis, basketball and volleyball courts. It is easily accessible from the highway, with good access to long stretches of beach. Bookings are... Find out more


NRMA Darlington Beach Resort & Holiday Park 47 km

This popular park has very good quality facilities. It offers absolute beach frontage, a restaurant, a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, outdoor bowling area and archery range. Bookings are required in peak periods... Find out more


Yamba Waters Caravan Park 48 km

This is a spacious quality park about 2.5 km from the centre of this popular tourist destination. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies at Christmas and Easter.... Find out more


Blue Dolphin Holiday Park 49 km

This riverfront, award-winning park is on the Clarence River estuary. It is an excellent park, with everything you would expect of a park of this quality, including a cafe. Bookings are required in peak periods and a... Find out more


BIG4 Saltwater @ Yamba Holiday Park 49 km

This neat, spacious, riverfront park 10 km from Yamba has very good facilities. Quiet and out of the way, it is situated on a large, sweeping bend of the Clarence River and has great appeal to those who enjoy estuary... Find out more


Calypso Holiday Park 50 km

This older-style park has a great position on the waterfront. It is a short stroll to the centre of town and just a brief walk to the beach. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies at... Find out more


Iluka Riverside Tourist Park 51 km

At this large well-appointed park, enjoy the riverside barbecues and picnic tables, the grassy waterfront sites or the fully equipped camp kitchen overlooking the river. Bookings are required in peak periods and a... Find out more


Anchorage Holiday Park 52 km

This is a well-established, owner-operated park with very good facilities. It is situated across the road from the wide Clarence River estuary and is 2 km from the town centre. Bookings are required in peak periods and a... Find out more


Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Blooms Cottage

Offering two guest rooms with garden views, ensuites and their own entertainment system, this self-contained cottage allows guests free use of its kayaks for a paddle on the Clarence River. It is located near the centre... Find out more


Ivy Cottage

This is a lovingly restored cottage in the Clarence Valley offering B&B accommodation. There are two guest rooms complete with antique furnishings and modern comforts – an ideal place to tuck yourself in for... Find out more


Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Lily Pily Country House, Bellingen 87 km

The owners of this stylish B&B have spent seven years revegetating and securing wildlife corridors along the riparian zone here, planting some 4000 trees and 2000 reeds, resulting in an increase in bandicoots,... Find out more


Rest areas around town

McPhillips Creek rest area 8 km

50km N of Woolgoolga (R) or 10km S of Grafton (L)

Just off the highway behind a few trees.


Glenugie Creek rest area 13 km

45km N of Woolgoolga (L) or 15km S of Grafton (R)

Just off the highway behind a few trees.


Halfway Creek rest area 31 km

26km N of Woolgoolga (R) or 34km S of Grafton (L)

Large grassed area just off the highway behind the roadhouse.


Maclean park area 36 km

At Maclean

Small area on the riverbank just off the highway at Ferry Park Café.


Lollback rest area 39 km

115km E of Glen Innes (R) or 45km W of Grafton (L)

Just off the highway with good views over the Mann River.


Beekeepers rest area 53 km

28km S of Woodburn (L)

Adjacent to the highway. For southbound only.


Woolgoolga rest area 53 km

At Woolgoolga

Just off the highway in the middle of town.


Mulligans Hut camping area 59 km

T/O 69km E of Glen Innes (R) or 91km W of Grafton (L)

Secluded campground in a natural bush setting 9km (unsealed) south of the highway in Gibraltar Range National Park.


Bellbird camping area 64 km

T/O 73km E of Glen Innes (L) or 87km W of Grafton (R)

Small campground 4km (unsealed) north of the highway in a secluded bush setting deep in the forest of Washpool National Park.


Boundary Falls camping area 69 km

T/O 60km E of Glen Innes (L) or 100km W of Grafton (R)

Secluded campground 2km (unsealed) north of the highway in the forest of Gibraltar Range National Park.


New Italy rest area 69 km

At New Italy

Just off the highway under shady trees near the museum and cafe. Big rigs at north end of the rest area.


Trustons Hill rest area 76 km

40km S of Woodburn (L)

Just off the highway behind some trees. For southbound only.


Woodburn park area 79 km

At Woodburn

Adjacent to the highway overlooking the river.


What's on around town

Markets: Lawrence Rd, last Sat each month; Prince St, Grafton Showgrounds, 3rd Sat each month; Armidale Rd, South Grafton, every Sat morning.

Autumn Artsfest: Apr.

Grafton Cup: horserace; July.

Grafton to Inverell Cycling Classic: Sept.

Bridge to Bridge Ski Race: Oct.

Jacaranda Festival: Oct–Nov.

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