The Clarence River

Post date: Dec 26, 2010 11:08:38 PM

We have been at Grafton for a few days over Christmas. The trip up the river took a few days as there were things to see and do on the way. We looked at a Nantucket 44 at the slipway near Harwood, for sale. It needed way too much work to get it back in the water . . .

We had to wait for the bridge at Harwood to open.(photos below) It needs 24 hours notice for the operators to come from Ballina to open it. And on to Maclean. This is such a pretty town, but very quiet on a Saturday evening! Its power poles are all dressed in tartan - so cute.(see photo) We will spend more time exploring there on our way back down the river.

The next stop was at Ulmarra, where we were to meet some friends of friends who were expecting us. We spent a pleasant afternoon on their yacht. (photo)The next morning 3 yachts headed upstream to Grafton. We were all checking our heights to make sure we could get under the power cables listed at 19.8m. we all did it with ease and anchored at Grafton just before lunch.

The Clarence River is one of the largest waterways on the east coast of Australia. It is a major sugar and dairy region and has been a timber region as well. There is evidence all along the river of its past. Because of the recent and current rain on the eastern seaboard the vegetation is so lush and green. The riverbanks are reedy and the river is full. It is absolutely beautiful and so restful.

We had Christmas dinner with friends on their yacht. They called before we arrived t o let us know that the first guest had arrived (a beautiful green tree frog possibly arrived on a raft of weed as it floated down river or on the dinghy as it returned to the boat from shore. (photo)

We like it here

Over the next couple of weeks we will return to Iluka taking our time to check out all the small places and interesting features the river has to offer.

We said goodbye to our friends and Grafton on the 27th December and we started our journey back to the mouth of the river with plans to stop and look a the towns along the way and to do a few jobs on the boat.

Our first stop was Ulmarra with its heritage listing. It has been the setting for a few Australian movie productions (Fields of Fire, and The Picture Show Man) We walked all the way up one side of the street and back down the other "admiring" the buildings, craft shops and 2nd hand (antique)shops. It took several minutes.

After lifting anchor we motored to Lawrence where we had dinner with some friends at their house along a small creek. It was a lovely night and we could see Lupari's anchor light along the river behind the trees. They came to visit us on the boat the next day. We enjoyed their company and hospitality.

After Lawrence we stopped at Brushgrove and had lunch at the delightful pub. Prawns in potato nets - very nice!!!!very clever!!

Little did we know that 2 weeks later they would be underwater. Then on to Maclean for a couple of days. The weather here was intermittently raining and we were trying to get some work done on the boat. We did clean out the anchor locker and rust proof it all (hopefully). Having lots of fresh water available is very useful for washing things down. We have never experienced that before.

After Maclean it was down to the bridge and through to Iluka again. We were only going to stay a few days which extended into 2 weeks because of the terrible flooding in that river and across the north east of NSW and SE Queensland. We met the crews of a few other yachts there and weathered the floods in style - coffee, tea and drinks.

Our picnic on the beach was a great success.

Every day we looked at the swollen river and the debris coming down the main channel but we were safe in Iluka