Welcome to Australia’s hidden whitewater heaven, and your next big adventure.
You want bragging rights? You want to silence everyone at your next dinner party with the words, “Guess where I’ve just been?” Then welcome to the Clarence Valley.
The Clarence Canoe & Kayak Trail is not only the longest mapped whitewater trail in Australia – covering more than 195km of river between Nymboi-Binderay National Park and the township of Copmanhurst – it also contains some of the most diverse paddling conditions found anywhere in the world.
The combined weight of three spectacular river systems are at your disposal here: the Nymbodia, Mann and Clarence. Which means that one moment you can be gently cruising along glassy sections with barely a ripple admiring the beautiful scenery, and the next moment you’re holding on for dear life through bone-rattling Grade 3 and 4 rapids with names like Tombstone and Demolition Derby.
Breathtaking outdoor experiences
Considered by many pro paddlers as some of the most challenging conditions Australia has to offer, Clarence Valley attracts visitors from all over the world, and rightly demands their utmost respect. But the adrenaline-fuelled element of a visit to the region is barely half the story. There’s stunning Clarence Gorge to explore, with several major waterfalls – including the seriously pretty Rainbow Falls – to occupy even the most feverish outdoor photographer.
There’s some of the most fantastic freshwater catch-and-release fishing conditions to be found anywhere in the country – especially along the Nymboida/Mann River System, where the bass and cod are just waiting for you to come and test your mettle. There are wonderful campgrounds for you to become totally immersed in the back-to-nature experience, complete with curious wildlife and birdlife, cautious platypus and turtle sightings and more, plus the unparalleled joy of utterly switching yourself off from the outside world in this remote, wild and bewitching region.
A camp lover’s wonderland
If you’re not quite up to the challenge of conquering the trail in a single day or you’d prefer to take it one section at a time with a comfortable bed to return to, then Clarence Valley has plenty of options to choose from.
One option would be to base yourself in Grafton – the gateway city to the Clarence Canoe & Kayak Trail. Grafton is the beating heart of the Clarence Valley and offers a variety of accommodation styles; from quaint overnight lodgings, like the Clarence River Bed & Breakfast, to 4-star motels.
But, with 18 National Parks, 26 holiday parks and campsites, eight primitive sites and over 40 state forests to pitch a tent, the Clarence Valley (a region encompassing nearby towns of Yamba and Wooli) is a true wonderland for campers. Get a copy of The Clarence Valley guide to Happy Camping to find your perfect spot in nature.
Next time you’re considering a break from the everyday, treat it instead as a chance to challenge yourself with a memorable leap into the unfamiliar. That’s the promise of a visit to the Clarence Valley: you’ll be tested; you’ll be awestruck; and you’ll return home with bragging rights to last a lifetime.