Cattle & Cane
MACLEAN > LAWRENCE > GRAFTON > ULMARRA > MACLEAN
Distance: 102 KM
Drive time: 1hr 52m
It’s hard to imagine cramming more delightful Australiana into a short few hours. We’re talking canefield atmospherics, Osprey nests, Moreton Bay Figs, curious cattle, egrets in shallows, free car-ferry crossings over the Clarence, riverside village antiques, bookshops, and no shortage of indulgent treats.
> This trip sets out from Maclean, The Scottish Town of Australia, where too much Scottish is never enough. Check out the tartan painted power poles, the Scottish Cairn, the Pinnacle Rocks and the panoramic views from the lookout at the top of Maclean Hill before heading south across historic McFarlane Bridge onto Woodford Island.
> Woodford Island covers 37 square kilometres and is the largest inland island in the southern hemisphere, (and the largest inland island in the world with its own mountain range). There are water views along the way, especially across to Ashby on the other side of the river.
> Leaving Woodford Island you’ll use the vehicle ferry to cross the Clarence. And the trip is free! Disembarking the ferry brings you to Lawrence. Simply follow the signs to Grafton. On your right hand side after a couple of kilometres is a large tower that has a big Osprey nest at it’s top. The owners may be in so keep a look out as you pass.
> Coming off of the ferry and following the road around, the open wetland along Rutland Street is a great opportunity for birdwatchers to view the Egret rookery. Continuing through the little township, you can stop for a delicious meal at the Lawrence Tavern and enjoy some of that real good old honest country pub vibe. If you have an interest in history then a visit to the Lawrence Museum and the Ross McLeod Bell Collection is a definite should do.
> When leaving Lawrence, just after you cross Sportman’s Creek Bridge, turn left onto Riverbank Road where you will start to pass stretches of cane fields and join back up to the Southgate-Lawrence Road. The cane industry is still a vibrant industry for the Clarence Valley so depending on the time of year you could see them as the first green breaks through the tilled soil, to when the plants stand taller than you, to when the farmers are harvesting their crop for the season. Turn left and continue heading for Grafton which will take you past the Alumny Creek School Museum on your right.
> Tourist Drive 22 ends at Grafton but from here you can easily wind your way back to Maclean via the Pacific Highway, making sure to stop in at the delightful village of Ulmarra and bask in the historic charm of the 19th century river port village. Antiques, collectibles, art & craft shops abound.