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Things to do in Grafton & the Clarence Valley

things to do in grafton

What’s on in Grafton and the surrounding area?

The city of Grafton is located in the picturesque Clarence Valley and on the banks of the Clarence River,  the largest river system on the NSW east coast.  Attracting water skiers from around the world and anyone who has a love of watersports and the natural environment, the mighty Clarence River winds through deep ravines, broad plains, ancient forests and lush farmlands.

Affectionately known as the Jacaranda City, the pretty tree-lined streets are lined with grand, historic buildings, classic country pubs, cafes and quaint shops. When the jacaranda trees blossom in mid-October and early November, Grafton explodes in purple glory. It’s a spectacular sight.

Grafton is a 1 hour drive from Coffs Harbour, approximately 4 hours from Brisbane, 2.5 hours from Byron Bay (north) and Port Macquarie (south), and 6.5 hours from Sydney.  The Clarence Valley Regional Airport (Grafton Airport) is only 30 minutes from Big River Holiday Park and flights from most major capital cities and regional airports are available each week.  Trains and buses provide convenient access to Grafton.

Surrounding towns in the Clarence Valley include Yamba, Maclean, Iluka and Wooli.

Grafton Bridge to Bridge Ski Classic

Held in October, this high calibre 108km race from Grafton to Harwood Bridge and return, sees skiers exceed speeds over 120 km/hr.  Towing two skiers and considered one of the toughest water ski races, it’s no wonder the event attracts competitors from around the world.  Fun for the whole family, there are various attractions including live music, food vendors and more.

Grafton Jacaranda Festival

With over 2,000 Jacaranda trees lining Grafton’s streets, the town turns purple in late Spring when these trees bloom. The iconic Jacaranda Festival is held from the last weekend in October to the first weekend in November. On Jacaranda Thursday there is a parade, markets and entertainment in the city.

Grafton Heritage Trail

Explore early Australian Victorian and Edwardian architecture by walking or cycling the Grafton Heritage Trail. Many buildings on the trail have been classified by the National Trust including Grafton Gaol.

Schaeffer House & Historical Society Museum

Originally built in 1900, Schaeffer House is home to the Clarence River Historical Society and Museum.  The house is open to the public and is an example of fine fittings and workmanship. The grounds feature statues, a sunken garden and rare plants.  The museum displays various treasures donated by residents from all around the area and is meticulously maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers.

Nymboida National Park

Immerse yourself in nature, hike beautiful natural wilderness, canoe down rapids, and explore the regions geological history at Nymboida National Park. The National Park is approximately 2.5 hours from Big River Holiday Park.

Grafton Regional Gallery

Located in Prentice House, a beautifully preserved 1880 building, you can see works from a range of Australian artists such as Ken Done, Doris O’Grady and contemporary indigenous artists. The gallery features a diverse range of works and aims to stimulate and develop the diverse culture of Grafton and the Clarence Valley region. The Little SmARTies program features fun and interactive activities for young children with hands-on craft activities. The gallery is located at 158 Fitzroy Street, Grafton and is open daily from 10am – 4pm. Visit the Grafton Regional Gallery website for more information.

Clarence Valley Country Muster

Since it’s inception in 2013, the Clarence Valley Country Muster has become a must-see for country music fans.  Big River Holiday Park is only 30 minutes from the venue, contact us for accommodation availability. The Clarence Valley Country Muster is held in October each year. Check website for details.

Grafton Farmers Market

Every Thursday in the Christ Church Cathedral Carport, Fitzroy Street, Grafton. Visit their website for updates and more information.

G Fest

G Fest is Grafton’s biggest music festival and is held at the Grafton Racecourse in December. Visit the G Fest website for details.

Grafton Show

The Grafton Show features a wide range of the Clarence Valley region’s rural activities and interests.  Attractions include Showman’s Guide rides, Demolition Derby, the Clarence River Championship Woodchop, Young Farmers Challenge, and the Blacksmiths Working Exhibition. There are arts and craft, farm displays, equestrian events, show jumping, and so much more. And of course, what country show isn’t complete without sideshow alley and rides. This is a fun day out for the entire family.  Visit the Grafton Show website for details.

Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic

This demanding 228 kilometre ride starts in Grafton and finishes in Inverell. The race is approximately 6-7 hours long (weather dependent). The finish line in Vivian Street, Inverell, has a carnival atmosphere and offers a fun day out for friends and family.

Grafton Horse Racing Carnival

The Grafton Carnival is the richest non-metropolitan horse racing carnival in Australia and is held each July.


caravan park grafton

Need somewhere to stay in Grafton?

At Big River Holiday Park & Ski Lodge we offer a range of comfortable and affordable accommodation all conveniently located on the banks of the Clarence River and a short drive from Grafton Town centre. If you love water-sports and would like to combine your passion with an escape to the wide-open spaces of the beautiful Clarence Valley countryside then Big River Holiday Park & Ski Lodge is the place for you.

Holiday cabins and campsites »

At Big River Holiday Park you’ll enjoy a riverside escape where you can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere only a few minutes from Grafton. Guest facilities include a swimming pool, tennis courts, jumping pillow for the kids, large grass areas and modern, clean facilities. With ample camping room, a range of affordable accommodation options, and plenty of things to see and do. The park has a camp kitchen, convenience store, petrol station, ice and gas– everything you need is in the one spot!

Guest facilities and amenities »

You’ll never be short of things to discover at Big River. From the moment you wake up to the amazing waterfront views, you’ll face endless options — stroll along the grassy shoreline, relax with some estuary fishing, take a boat out onto the river, go bird-watching, take a swim in our outdoor pool, challenge yourself to a game of tennis, light up our public BBQ.

Because of our central location, we are also only a short drive away from many of Grafton’s attractions, including the Golf Club, the Racetrack, and Susan Island Nature Reserve.

Plus, the Big River Holiday Park & Ski Lodge is surrounded by a hub of annual activities, with some events, like the Grafton Bridge to Bridge Ski Race and the beautiful Jacaranda Festival, attracting visitors from all around the country.

Things to do in Grafton & the Clarence Valley »

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