Grafton is 625kms north of Sydney. The beautiful town is bisected by the Clarence River, has wide streets, elegant Victorian buildings, 24 parks and many thousands of trees, some planted as early as 1874.
Grafton is also known as the Jacaranda City. The first ornamental stands were planted in 1907 and the two weeks festival held in October/November each year is popular with locals and out-of-towners. Streets are a mass of the hue of jacaranda blue and each year a Jacaranda Queen is announced.
Three sisters who grew up in the town, and still live there, are the McClymonts. Their success in the country music world is the result of doing the hard yards at talent quests. Their grandma's house has a room full of trophies, recognising the girls' talents as individuals, a duo and then group.
Brooke plays acoustic guitar, Sam plays bass guitar and Mollie plays mandolin. Brooke signed her first record deal at just 17 and is now one of Australia's most prolific songwriters. Olivia Newton John, Hilary Duff and Kate DeAraugo have recorded covers of her works. They are heading towards becoming household names and after hectic road-trips, they love heading home to Grafton for R&R.
Great Time Cruises is a favourite way of the McClymonts to show off their city. A leisurely cruise along the river aboard a 17-metre catamaran which meanders through the Clarence Valley is a lovely way to see the town. An upper deck comfortably seats 22 passengers and the main cabin takes 48. River Explorer II tours range from one-hour coffee cruises or two-hour lunch or barbecue cruises, half-day, full day, breakfast and dinner cruises, to two, five and seven-day excursions.
The Crown Hotel, dating to the late 1800s, is on the banks of the Clarence. It is family owned and run and offers the only riverfront accommodation in town. The gracious old building has a terrace, and at dusk you can enjoy a drink while watching the mass departure of the flying fox colony from Susan Island. It's also a great observation place to watch many of the town's events which are held on the river.
The hotel has 27 rooms on the first floor. Some have ensuite facilities. There are 18 air-conditioned motel units in a separate building, 10 of which overlook the river. They all have facilities and there is plenty of parking.
The north coast of New South Wales.
Great Time Cruises depart from Prince Street Wharf. Prices start at $17 per person for a two-hour cruise, including lunch.
Crown Hotel standard hotel rooms start at $45 a night and motel rooms start at $75 a night.
Prices quoted are correct on November 2, 2006.
Great Time Cruises
Grafton NSW 2460
Ph: (02) 6642 3456
Fax: 02 6642 6692
1 Prince Street
Grafton NSW 2460
Ph: (02) 6642 4000
Ph: 13 6789