Grafton’s Jacaranda Season is a Spectacular Sight
We like to think of Grafton’s Jacaranda Season as an opportunity to connect with a sense of wonder – seeing the trees do their purple freeze-frame fireworks display; a tree-lined avenue looking like something out of an impressionist painting; or just glancing up and seeing the sky through a curtain of purple blooms – there’s nothing like these moments to plug us into a sense of gratitude for the here and now.
After early consultation with the trees, it’s looking like the official season will be from 20 October through to 10 November. However, nature has been really off on its own path lately, so if we get an update we’ll let you know.
When is Grafton’s Jacaranda Season?
Jacaranda season is surprisingly brief, which only makes the experience more rare and memorable. Generally speaking, the purple blossoms start to show themselves in early-to-mid October. The second half of October sees the streets and parks of Grafton look like something out of a dream, with the trees in full bloom. (And that dream becomes even dreamier at night in See Park when “Illuminate” lights up the Jacarandas!) By mid-November, the roads and footpaths are carpeted in fallen purple blossoms as the Jacarandas prepare to don their lighter, green summer outfits.
How about the Grafton Jacaranda Festival?
The Grafton Jacaranda Festival occurs over the last week of October and the first week of November. Whether you’re seeking a little piece of yesteryear, where locals still line the main street of Grafton to watch (with a purple ice cream in hand) the annual float parade, or you love the flamboyance and pageantry of drag queen bingo – Grafton’s Jacaranda Festival has something for everyone. One of the most popular days is “Jacaranda Thursday”, where main streets close, local businesses dress up and people meander throughout the CBD, soaking up the atmosphere.
Where are the Jacaranda trees around Grafton?
Where and when is Illuminate?
The enchanting blossoming of the Jacaranda trees, usually only visible by day, is now a spectacular at night!
The incredible evening experience, Illuminate, allows you to admire the trees in See Park while they’re spot-lit to stunning effect daily from dusk to 10:30pm. Illuminated sculptures floating on the pond bring additional sparkle that kids – and the young at heart – love.
Things to do in and around Grafton’s Jacarandas.
Grafton's Jacaranda Season Top 10 Activities!
01 JACARANDAS: SPECTACULAR BY DAY, SENSATIONAL BY NIGHT!
Presumably, you’re here for Jacaranda Season, so number one on this list HAS to be experiencing the glorious, dreamlike ambience of Grafton’s Jacaranda-lined avenues and parks. Too much purpleness is never enough! The map overleaf gives you a good indication of the streets to see. And while the sun does a splendid job showing off the trees in the daytime, our night-time ILLUMINATE project lights these ethereal blooms in the most magical way imaginable – make sure you stay the night! The trees are lit nightly – 7:30(ish)PM to 10:30PM in See Park, for the entire season.
02 GALLERY VISIT!
Once your senses have been invigorated by the Jacarandas, a visit to the Clarence Valley’s hub of fine art – The newly renovated Grafton Regional Gallery – is a must! Prentice House (the heritage building that is home to part Gallery, part Visitor Information Centre) is an art piece in itself. Enjoy the quietude of the courtyard, take the perfect selfie on the famous “big purple chair”, browse the gift shop for your Grafton Jacaranda merch, and grab a coffee and a bite to eat in Rubony’s Café at 158 Fitzroy Street.
03 HANG OUT AT THE COOL SIDE OF TOWN
Speaking of creativity … South Grafton’s authentically retro main street has a quirky boho vibe. Eclectic cafes, recycled clothing stores mix with rural supply providers. Murals and arty street blisters reflect local Gumbaynggirr history and culture. The boulevard by the marina provides shade, BBQ and picnic facilities. You might even catch a play or local musician at the Pelican Playhouse on Skinner Street.
04 GET ON THAT BIG BEAUTIFUL RIVER!
OK, enough creativity for the moment! Do you have some sort of floating craft in your possession? Perhaps a small tin boat or kayak? If so, make sure to get on our big, beautiful river! It’s an easy(ish) paddle from town around Susan Island (depending on the tide!) Susan Island is a registered significant site to the Aboriginal women of the Clarence Valley. Or paddle downriver and discover a shipwreck! Keen eyes will spot the remains of the Induna, which served as a rail-ferry before the bridge was completed in 1932.
Pontoons located Prince St Grafton or Skinner St South Grafton.
05 BRIDGE WALK
Sure, you can do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk, but the Sydney Harbour Bridge doesn’t change direction on a jaunty angle halfway along now, does it? This makes the Grafton Bridge Walk clearly superior to its Sydney imitator. Combine new and old by looping over both neighbouring bridges to get those daily steps up, plus there are great photo opportunities from this high up. Access the footbridge off Fitzroy or Greaves St Grafton or Bridge Lane South Grafton
The Walking and Cycling Heritage Trail booklet is available at the Clarence Valley Visitor Centre.
06 TIME TRAVEL! (SORT OF)
Until we iron out some bugs with our backyard time machine, Grafton’s Walking and Cycling Heritage Trail is still the best way to visit another era. Set your co-ordinates to 1884 and marvel at the Christ Church Cathedral – (revolutionary at the time for breaking away from established religious design), or 1893 (The imposing Grafton Gaol). The many private residences let you imagine what life was like in this thriving country town in the 1900’s.
07 STROLL FIG TREE AVENUE
The Jacarandas may get all the glory but trust us, this garden city has got more than one tree up its sleeve! This magnificent avenue of giant fig trees is a National Trust listed site. They form an arch about 30 metres above the asphalt, making it a lovely cool spot to wander and wonder. There’s a little green space for a snack or a picnic, where you can take in the water views.
Breimba Street Grafton, access ‘Fig Tree Ave’ from Bacon Street. Green space is at corner of Breimba and Pound Street.
08 WITNESS A FREAKY NATURAL PHENOMENON
Each dusk, the sky over the Clarence River becomes a swarming apparition as Susan Island’s flying fox colony wake from their daytime slumber and go in search of their evening meal … (of fruit).
Watch the spectacle from a riverside pub or riverside park.
09 EAT AND DRINK!
We should have put this at number two after the Jacarandas! Here in G-Town there are myriad epic places to eat, drink and relax. There’s top class coffee, great seafood (the coast is only a hop, skip and jump away), and all your dietary requirements will be catered for.
10 EXPLORE MORE!
And why not extend your stay and experience the delights of the Clarence Valley. Grafton’s not far from the coast, including the gorgeous coastal towns of Yamba, Wooli and Iluka (only 40 minutes away) and the well-kept secret of the Clarence Valley hinterland is just a short (and very picturesque) drive away.
Great road trip ideas are to be found at www.myclarencevalley.com
Make your visit to see Grafton’s Jacarandas a truly memorable experience!