Grafton is a city in northern New South Wales, Australia. One of Australia's most beautiful provincial cities, Grafton is renowned for its jacaranda trees, graceful old buildings, sporting and cultural facilities, and its location on the banks of the Clarence River.
The city was founded in 1855, and in 2021 had a population of 19,000.
Clarence Valley Airport is 12 km SE of the city, but as of May 2023 has no scheduled flights, after Rex airlines cancelled their routes to Sydney and Taree in mid-2022. The nearest airports with commercial service are at Coffs Harbour, 87 km to the south, or Ballina, a 140-km trek to the north, and car hire is available from both (advance booking recommended).
A variety of bus services stop in Grafton on their trips between Sydney and Brisbane.
Most major car rental services can be found in the city. 4WDs are recommended if travelling to remote National Parks and beaches, but most can be accessed by 2WD vehicles and campervans.
XPT trains stop daily in Grafton from Sydney and Brisbane. The trains are comfortable and clean, but slow and lack modern amenities like wifi or at-seat charging, but all services have a full buffet car service, and fares are generally much cheaper than flying. Three trains daily run to Sydney taking about 10 hours, serving Coffs Harbour, Wauchope for Port Macquarie, and Newcastle en-route, along with various smaller towns. One daily service runs north to Brisbane, but is a sleeper service from Sydney that passes through Grafton at around 1AM, arriving into Brisbane at 5AM, making it very inconvenient. The train station is in South Grafton, across the river from the CBD.
Busways provides local bus services.
Lying on two sides of the Clarence River, the town is connected by a single, unique bridge. Completed in 1932, the bridge is a dual-level railway (bottom) and road (top) bridge plus a centre bascule section (essentially a drawbridge).
- Beautiful parks and gardens. Grafton has some very beautiful parks and streets lined with amazing trees and native gardens. The best time of year to visit is late November or early October when the jacaranda trees are in full flower.
- Amazing national parks. Grafton is the central point to visit the most amazing and secluded national parks in Australia. Huge areas have been set aside as nature reserves ranging from the rugged Great Dividing Range to the coast.
- 1 Grafton Regional Art Gallery, 158 Fitzroy St, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Has the largest collection artwork on the northern coast of NSW with more than 40 exhibitions ever year. Features paintings, prints and sculptures.
- Jacaranda Festival. The world-renowned Jacaranda Festival is held yearly in Grafton from the last weekend in October to the first weekend in November. It expresses people's thanksgiving for the generosity with which nature blesses this part of the world. Inaugurated in 1935, this was the first of Australia's folk festivals and is based upon the magnificent spectacle of the hundreds of lilac-blossomed trees that grow in Grafton's broad tree lined avenues.
- Fishing. Grafton is close to both freshwater and saltwater fishing environments. Bass, bream, flathead, and cod can be found in the Clarence River or in the smaller creeks and streams that surround. Be aware that the Clarence River cod is an endangered species and must be released when caught.
- Sailing. The Clarence River is one of the best sailing rivers in the world. Wide, deep, and with the beautiful afternoon sea breezes in summer, it is the perfect place to launch a boat or sail in through the large ocean bar. Clarence River Sailing Club race every Saturday from 1PM (except winter). The club is located under the north side of the bridge. A great bunch of people who welcome new and experienced sailors.
Grafton Shoppingworld provides some specialty shops, as does the nearby main streets.
South Grafton also has its own local shops.
- 1 Blue River Apartments, 69 Riverside Dr, Wooli, ☏ , email@example.com. Within walking distance of the beach and shops. This is pet-friendly accommodation for families and couples.
|Routes through Grafton|
|Ballina ← Yamba ←||N S||→ Coffs Harbour → Newcastle|