Grafton waterfront precinct

4 Days in Grafton Itinerary

Welcome to Grafton, named the first official city on the North Coast.

Prepare for a heritage-inspired 4-day adventure through the Clarence Valley, starting right here in the beating heart of the region.

Tailored for people who enjoy the freedom of taking it slow, and making their own adventure, this 3-night, 4-day getaway will fill your pockets with experiences and your hearts with appreciation for the country charm regional Australia is proud of.

Immerse yourself in all that the Clarence River has to offer, either on it, beside it or over it, and follow the flow as we lead you upstream to other inland havens all bursting with their heritage offerings.

Discover the CBD and wonder and wander as you go.

A busy day of exploring is ahead so we suggest filling your belly before you fill your cup at one of popular cafes that line Prince Street. 

Wherever you decide to get your coffee fill, if you’re in the CBD youre only a short 5-minute walk to the Grafton Regional Gallery where you can pick up your local map, and heritage trail brochure and start your heritage adventure in Prentice House.  

Prentice House, a heritage-listed building is an art piece in itself. Combining old with new, this newly renovated space includes 5 state of the art exhibit spaces and is home to exhibitions such as the Archibald and JADA. Immerse yourself in the latest exhibitions and pick up some local crafts in the Gallery Shop if you so wish. We highly recommend taking home some locally made Bakarindi tomato relish or finger lime pickle. Yum.

Pick up your copy of the Grafton Heritage Trail and walk back in time as you discover endless history and the plethora of heritage-listed buildings that have stood the test of time. Grafton is blessed with broad avenues and magnificent architecture, and most can be reached by foot so take your time and make your own path. For buildings such as Grafton Gaol, hop in the car. You can reach anywhere in Grafton within a few minute’s drive. 

Just up the road from the Regional Gallery is Scheaffer House Museum, and a stop here is highly recommended for more in-depth historical information about Grafton and its surrounds.

Walk under the canopies of sky-scraping trees – Grafton’s Jacaranda Trees are the most iconic and popular during the months of October and November, as the streets of this country town is transformed as the trees explode in all their purple glory. Another favourite among locals and visitors alike are the Giant Fig Trees which are a key feature around town, you may even find yourself under the Fig Tree Avenue canopy.

Take a stroll along the Old Grafton Bridge and loop the loop over both old and new via both Grafton bridges on a connecting pedestrian path– It’s here you’ll get spectacular views of Grafton that you can’t get anywhere else. Enjoy the front row seat view of Susan Island and if you happen to be out and about at just the right time you’ll come across a breathtaking sunrise or sunset from this very location.

After a day of getting your steps up, you’re probably looking forward to a chilled evening so why not head to the Saraton theatre, you would have seen this on your heritage walk, and enjoy a movie in one of the oldest theatres in NSW. 

*Bonus points awarded to visitors who visit Grafton during Jacaranda Season (late October-Early November).

Take a trip South down memory lane

Hang out on the cool side of town. A little bit vintage, a tad bit retro, South Grafton is a refreshing contrast to the modern architecture that dominates the cityscapes these days.

South Grafton’s main street has a quirky, interesting vibe about it. Eclectic cafes, and recycled clothing stores mixed with rural supply providers. Let’s just say there’s something for everyone around here. The ‘’Clarence Kitchen Collective’’ is the place to go for amazing coffee, fine tea, wholesome treats and nourishing meals.

Colourful murals and arty street blisters reflect the local Gumbainggirr history and culture. Located around the boulevard right by the river marina, trees provide cooling shade and it’s the perfect spot to set up a picnic.

A sort 10 minute drive out of South CBD, take a visit to the Remember When Cottage.

This one hundred year old cottage has been lovingly restored and transformed into a delightful museum to help preserve the rich history of the Clarence Valley. Enjoy the vast displays of photographs, artwork, tools and agricultural artifacts that take you back in time to the rich dairy history of the Clarence.

With a dedication to art, theatre and live music, South Grafton will provide a well-earned night of live music at Grumpys Cafe. With a laid-back, open mic night feel, you’ll be able to enjoy all the South has to offer after dark.

Get on the river. Kayak around Susan Island or take on the thrill of the Clarence Canoe and Kayak trail.

For those adventures amongst you who have your own paddle boards or kayaks, bring them along and head out on the Mighty Clarence from the pontoon at Memorial Park. Take in views of the 90ha Susan Island, including 19ha of subtropical rainforest known as Susan Island Nature Reserve. A significant First Nation site, we encourage this nature reserve to be enjoyed from the water.

If you’re looking for a more white knuckle ride, the Clarence Canoe and Kayak Trail can be found in the Grafton hinterlands and is the longest mapped white water trail in Australia. 8 sections of river systems to enjoy, there is something for all abilities and confidence levels. This adventure needs to be enjoyed with a professional tour guide, and a full list of operators can be provided who will assist with equipment and safety gear so you can have a safe and fun-packed day on the water.

Explore the region.

After the fun packed adventures of yesterday, today you can take your time and explore more of the Clarence Valley from the comfort of your car. Follow the Street Art road trip that will take you on a colourful journey from Grafton, through Ulmarra and Maclean and over the car ferry to Lawrence where you will discover award-winning street art along the way.

Each of these villages has its own unique identity and each offers great places to eat and drink along the way. Ulmarra, the quaint and quirky historic port village is a 15-minute drive north of Grafton, equipped with its own heritage trail and vintage antique shops and art galleries.

Keep heading north to reach Maclean. Turning off the highway at Harwood Bridge, you will be welcomed by four painted river sentinels. Silver winner of the 2023 Australian Street Art awards for Best Monument or Memorial, these painted pylons are one of 34 pieces making up the Clarence Valley 2022 Flood Memorial Murals project. Maclean,  the region’s Scottish town, is dotted with over 200 tartan-painted poles and is the region’s great connector between the river and the coast. Head over Macfarlane Bridge onto Woodford Island and take the car ferry to Lawrence where another of the memorial murals can be found on Lawrence water tower. Lawrence Museum is a must-visit while you’re in town, and the local tavern serves up fresh produce and daily specials on the banks of the Clarence River.

Today is a day for you to take the road less travelled, and you can complete your journey back to Grafton along Lawrence Road, also known as Tourist Drive 22.

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