Maclean, on Yaegl Country, is defined by something unique and special.
Maclean is the Clarence Valley’s great coastal connector. It’s equal parts river village and coastal town. Close enough in proximity to the Pacific Ocean to feel the salt on the sea breeze, while retaining its country town charm.
Loved for being known as Australia’s Scottish town, you can’t help but notice hundreds of tartan-painted power poles as you wander down the historic streets. With over 200 poles to choose from, check out the map to find your own, or simply adopt one as your own for the day! Bonus points if you adopt a Scottish accent for the day.
Home of the annual Scottish Highland Gathering, Maclean is alive with the sound of pipe bands and drummers each Easter Long Weekend. Witness the incredible creative expression of traditional dancers, while hundreds of pipe band performers march along River Street. You can even take part in the Highland Games if you want a piece of the action.
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.
Relax with a fishing rod at many superb fishing spots along the river. And you can buy freshly caught seafood – including local prawns – from various locations in the town. You’ll find popular cafes with freshly roasted coffee and seasonal menus, and small family-owned boutiques that offer friendly service and quality products.
McLachlan Park – on the northeast flank of the town, is a great spot for pulling up on your boat. The pontoon and undercover deck provide shelter and barbecue amenities for all. Check out the Clarence Cruising Guide for more on how to enjoy life on the water.
Step back in time and discover Maclean’s historic buildings or wander through the quaint local art galleries and museum. The 3km Maclean Heritage Trail will take you on a journey through the CBD and Riverside Precinct, showcasing historic jewels such as the impressive St Marys Roman Catholic Church, built in 1890 from local sandstone.
And truth be told, on a clear, still winter’s morning, when river mist cloaks the town in a soft shroud, the Loch Ness monster could pop up next to the pelicans and upriver dolphins, and you wouldn’t be too surprised.
But Maclean is more than tartan power poles, Scottish souvenir shops, amazing cafés and galleries.
Maclean serves as a junction: it connects people to the beachside jewels of Red Cliff, Brooms Head and Sandon River, and to the inland valley gems of Ashby, Woodford Island and Lawrence. We have some great road trip ideas to help you explore the region more.
Fitting then, that they’re all visible from ‘The Pinnacle’ – Maclean’s commanding 360 degree vantage point.
And while you’re here, keep an eye out over the river. Legend has it Loch Ness is rumoured to frequent here. You may just see an unfamiliar face amongst the pelicans as you look out over the river, eating your fish and chips.
But we don’t know anything about that…