Worth a Trip: Grafton to Yamba
The delta between Grafton and the coast is a patchwork of farmland in which the now sinuous and spreading Clarence River forms more than 100 islands, some very large. Here you'll see the southernmost sugar-cane plantations and Queenslander-style houses – wooden structures perched on stilts and with high-pitched roofs to allow air circulation in the hot summers. The burning of the cane fields (May to December) adds a smoky tang to the air.
It’s worth taking a small detour from the Pacific Hwy to Ulmarra, a heritage-listed town with a river port. The Ulmarra Hotel is a quaint old corner pub with a wrought-iron verandah and a greener-than-green beer garden that stretches down to the river. There's a great cafe here, too.
Maclean is a picturesque little riverside town (with no less than three pubs) that takes its Scottish heritage seriously, even wrapping its lamp posts in tartan. Stroll the riverfront, check out the shops and have a meal at the unexpectedly hip On the Bite.
If you're keen to explore further or overnight, the Clarence Valley Visitor Information Centre can help.