3 Days in Ulmarra Itinerary

Just what the soul needs.

Ulmarra > Maclean > Lawrence > Ulmarra. 

If you’re looking for a home away from home, with all the homely familiar comforts but without any of the cooking, you’ll find it right here in Ulmarra. 

A road trip that takes you off the highway, and into serenity. Quant, quirky and quite simply idyllic. 


Ulmarra on Yaegl and Gumbaynggirr Country

Welcome to Ulmarra, where your tranquillity begins! The beautiful village of Ulmarra sits peacefully alongside the mighty Clarence River on Yaegl and Gumbaynggirr Country. As you arrive at Ulmarra, the peaceful ambiance envelops you, offering a sanctuary to unwind and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty. Check into your accommodation at Ulmarra River Retreat and take a moment to breathe in the fresh air and picturesque river views.

After settling your bags, head down to the backyard where cozy couches and a firepit await by the river’s edge. This serene setting invites you to relax, sip on a refreshing drink, and simply soak in the tranquillity. The gentle sounds of the river flowing by and the rustle of leaves in the breeze create a perfect backdrop for you to leave the hustle and bustle of everyday life behind you.

Once you’ve embraced the calm pace of Ulmarra, it’s time for a short stroll down the street for a spot of shopping. But this is no ordinary shopping trip. Ulmarra’s shopping is a unique treat. You would be forgiven for thinking you can quickly gander in this small town’s array of eclectic shops, but this is rarely the case. The art galleries, woodworking, and antiques stores that dot the street entice you in and keep you there. From the charming Second-Hand Bookstore to the boutique stores showcasing local artisans’ creations, every corner reveals a piece of Ulmarra’s artistic identity.

As you meander through the town, don’t miss the opportunity to admire the public mural depicting the region’s First Nations, the Yaegl and Gumbaynggirr people. This vibrant artwork adds a cultural depth to your exploration of Ulmarra, highlighting the rich heritage of the area.

By now, shopping and sightseeing may have stirred your appetite. Head to the Ulmarra Hotel, for an early dinner so you can savour the sunset as you dine on banks of the Clarence River. Ulmarra Hotel is the place for a top-notch classic pub meal with five-star views of the mighty river, the ultimate “dinner with a view” experience to complete your first day on your Ulmarra holiday.

Ulmarra to Maclean on Yaegl Country

Set off on day 2 with a scenic ferry road trip through the Clarence Valley. On this relaxing half day drive through the Clarence Valley you’ll find yourself on one side of the mighty Clarence River and then the other. You’ll get lost in small-town charm. Each town boasts its unique identity, inviting you to explore its history, culture, and natural beauty.

Head along Big River Way, once the Pacific Highway, now the quiet country road. The road contours the river’s edge as you head downriver (which is actually heading north on a map, try wrapping your head around that) and you’ll find yourself at Maclean. Known as Australia’s Scottish town, and loved for being the home to Scottish Souls, you can’t help but notice hundreds of tartan-painted power poles as you wander down the historic streets. Try and find your Scottish name and tartan – You can find a map at the local Scottish Shop in town, don’t worry if you don’t have a Scottish Heritage – adopt a name for the day and feel the excitement every time you pass it by.

For spectacular views of the Clarence Valley, head to the Maclean Lookout. Stroll to the viewing platform for The Pinnacle, a unique rock formation surrounded by subtropical rainforest, and an important Aboriginal cultural heritage site. 

As lunchtime approaches, indulge in the freshest fish and chips at McLachlan Park, a serene riverfront picnic spot. It doesn’t get much fresher than eating the mornings catch by the river it came from.

Maclean to Lawrence on Yaegl Country

After lunch, continue your journey over the heritage McFarlane Bridge to Woodford Island, the largest island in NSW to be exact. It’s so large is has its very own mountain range.

Jumping off Woodford Island now, take the famous Bluff Point Ferry, known fondly as the Lawrence Ferry, which will carry you calmly across the Clarence River to Lawrence. In true country town style, there is no timetable and no fees, and the ferry operates 24/7. What a rare treat in this modern age.

Crossing the river, you’ll arrive in Lawrence, where mural artist Austin “Nitsua” collaborated with Lawrence Public School pupils to create a breathtaking water tower mural, deserving of a place on Australia’s Silo Art Trail and earning Silver for the Best Monument or Memorial in the Australian Street Art Awards 2023.

Before leaving Lawrence, take a detour to Everlasting Swamp National Park, an out-of-this-world nature haven. A favourite for bushwalkers, canoe and kayakers. Known to bird watchers as the Kakadu of the South, Everlasting Swamp National Park is one of the largest freshwater wetlands on the NSW North Coast and protects 26 threatened species. Don’t forget to pack your binoculars and the ‘Bird Routes of the Clarence Valley’ guide.

Lawrence to Ulmarra via Brushgrove on Yaegl Country

As you bid farewell to Lawrence, reflect on the day’s discoveries and the natural beauty that surrounds you. Your return journey to Ulmarra via Brushgrove offers one last scenic adventure before the day ends. Brushgrove boasts the unique point where the Clarence River splits into two, known as the North and South arms. Here is where you hop on board the houseboat for a night of adventure, Welcome aboard Captain! Enjoy a barbeque dinner onboard while casually pottering back upriver to Ulmarra, where you can anchor for a restful night’s sleep to the gently swaying of the boat.

Ulmarra on Yaegl and Gumbaynggirr Country

Day three of your Ulmarra cultural adventure is off to a great start on the riverbank at Bailey Park. Here you start a historic journey noticing the first of 3 Way Finding Signs, sharing the tale of Ulmarra’s story. Learn about the Ulmarra that was and how it has become the great place it is now. 

Pick up the Ulmarra Heritage Trail brochure at the Coldstream Gallery and embark on a guided tour through time. The Ulmarra Heritage Trail will take you on a journey through town and through time. Admire the mid-late Victorian and early Edwardian architecture and imagine life on horseback as you stroll through Coldstream and onto River Street. While you may not keep a horse in your backpack, you can easily walk this trail discovering 20 of Ulmarra’s historic buildings.

Cap off your cultural exploration with a visit to Ulmarra Food Co, renowned for its delectable pies and local flavours. Indulge in a renowned pie as you relax in Bailey Park, enjoying a spot of fishing in the Clarence River. The tranquil setting and culinary delights create a perfect finale to your Ulmarra adventure.

As you reflect on your journey through Ulmarra and its surrounding areas, cherish the memories of scenic landscapes, cultural discoveries, and moments of relaxation. Whether it’s immersing yourself in nature’s beauty, exploring rich heritage, or indulging in culinary delights, Ulmarra offers a multifaceted experience that leaves a lasting impression.

While you’re here, don’t forget to tag us on your adventures at #myclarencevalley!