We ❤️ the Clarence Valley

by Elize Strydom

Welcome! You’ve found yourself in the idyllic Clarence Valley. 

We acknowledge and thank the Yaegl, Bundjalung and Gumbaynggirr people who are the traditional custodians of the land we live and work on. 

The Clarence Valley is a picturesque playground of natural wonders. It features long winding rivers, pristine beaches, rugged bushland, a thriving artistic community and spirited sporting clubs. Known for surfing, fishing, farming and festivals, the Valley boasts one of the most temperate climates in the world. From the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range to the ocean between Yamba and Iluka, the Clarence River snakes through this rich and bountiful land. The Big River connects the three main towns of Grafton, Maclean and Yamba as well as the many charming villages and communities in between. 

The city of Grafton was built on the banks of the Clarence from 1831 onwards after cedar-getters discovered a wealth of ‘red gold’. Grafton’s many historical buildings and businesses still take pride of place. The Saraton Theatre is Australia’s largest and oldest theatre and cinema and the beloved ‘bendy bridge’ connects the northern and southern neighbourhoods. This central hub is home to the annual Jacaranda Festival, the oldest floral festival still celebrated in Australia. ‘Plunge’ is Grafton’s art and cultural festival and brings the Valley’s many artisans and creatives together. The long weekend in October draws everyone to the river for the Bridge to Bridge Ski Classic and the town’s sporting calendar is always full.    

Riverside Maclean is known as Australia’s Scottish town. A large number of early settlers in the town were of Scottish origin and the town takes its name from Scot, Alexander Grant McLean. Every Easter the town celebrates these origins with a Highland Gathering. It’s midway between Grafton and Yamba and features a mix of coastal and country charm. Stroll down the main street and you’ll find modern boutiques, specialty coffee shops and roasteries, health food stores, restaurants and retail outlets. Wellness practitioners, a podiatrist, chiropractor and more will look after your mind and body. Don’t skip this delightful town with endless business potential – you never know what you might discover!

Coastal paradise Yamba is a relaxed holiday town at the mouth of the Clarence. The Pacific Hotel is perched high on the hill overlooking the endless ocean. Lifesavers at one of the oldest surf clubs in the world keep watch over swimmers and surfers at Yamba’s main beach. With 11 beaches to choose from, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is where to swim or surf. Why not hire a bike and take in the sights on wheels? When it comes to cafes, restaurants and bars, this small town punches way above its weight. You’ll find fresh, local produce on every menu  and wholesome and delicious options aplenty. Contemporary accommodation to suit every budget – from holiday parks to resorts and boutique BnBs – and retail stores complete the picture and explain why many people never feel the need to leave this gem! 

The Clarence Valley’s riverside and coastal villages should not be overlooked. In Wooli, Ulmarra and Iluka you’ll find friendly locals, cute cafes, small galleries, bush and coastal walks and an antique store or two.  

If you’re after a comprehensive collection of detailed tourist information, we highly recommend visiting My Clarence Valley.  Pop on over and peruse some of their stunning guides.  

We’re so glad you’ve decided to explore the wealth of professional, innovative and unique businesses in our region! 


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