The Jacarandas of the Clarence Valley draw thousands of visitors – but the region offers so much more to explore year-round.
A purple dream
Every now and then, you just have to stock up on the feelings that remind you that life – and the world – is beautiful. The Clarence Valley Jacaranda season in Grafton is a way to plug into that sense of wonder, as Grafton’s streets and parks are transformed into something out of a purple dream.
Beginning on the last weekend in October each year and running through to early November, this wonderful floral event – and its crowning glory, the Grafton Jacaranda Festival, the oldest in the country – has been likened in significance and glamour to Japan’s famous cherry blossom celebrations.
Visitors flock from near and far to the largest Jacaranda display in the country, wandering the tree-lined streets, posing for photographs and enjoying all the magic of this very special time of seasonal transition.
More than Jacarandas
But did you know that the region is also home to more than 100 annual celebrations? There’s April’s plunge Arts & Culture festival, Art in the Paddock at Yugilbar Castle – yes, it’s an actual castle! – in June, the always-exciting Grafton races in July, regional flagship food event Gate to Plate held in September, the multicultural celebration of the Camp Oven Festival in August at Nymboida, not to mention big-ticket touring artists like Lee Kernaghan, local lasses The McClymonts, plus all the entertainment of the Clarence Valley Country Muster – one of the must events on the Australian country music calendar.
The heart of Clarence Valley
Grafton is a city of trees, but it’s also a place of beauty, heritage and soul hidden from the highway – and a delight to all those who venture within. The first city on the NSW north-coast, it remains the beating heart of the Clarence Valley. And while it may be famous for its Jacarandas, you’ll also find Cape Chestnuts, Golden Trumpet Trees, Tree Waratahs, Tibouchinas, Poincianas, Silky Oaks, giant Figs Trees and many more botanical highlights to marvel at.
Blessed with broad avenues and magnificent architecture, Grafton’s long-standing concern with civic beauty shows itself in the abundance of beautiful trees, parks, statuesque civic buildings and fine residences. Take a walk or cycle along the streets and pathways to reflect on the region’s great heritage and history.
Stroll on under Grafton Bridge for expansive views of the Clarence River in all its glory, and Susan Island. While there, see if you can spot the wreck of the Induna, 200 metres upstream from the bridge.
Planning your visit
If it’s the Jacaranda season that captures your imagination, remember it’s surprisingly brief, which only makes the experience more rare and memorable. Pick up a novel, perhaps one set in Grafton itself (The Mint Lawn for example, written by Clarence Valley Ambassador Gillian Mears), stretch out, start reading under the trees and let the blossoms fall as you while away the hours.
Don’t forget to pick up some delicious produce from a cafe, emporium, farmers market or deli to have a picnic in your own patch of purple?
Here’s our favourite: How about doing nothing? Just for a moment. When was the last time you put aside your device, switched off from modern life’s distractions, stopped thinking, stopped doing? Being in the presence of these remarkable blossoms encourages stillness – even if only for just a few minutes. We can’t wait to see you here.
For up-to-date events info, check out myclarencevalley.com – or better yet, come join us on Facebook via @myclarencevalley.