A DAY AT THE RACES
The big event on the Grafton Racing Calendar, is "The Grafton Cup" which is run on the second Thursday in July, and is the richest race in Rural Australia. The carnival draws many nationally rated jockeys and horses competing, so for visitor's, its a great time to have a day at the races!
Horse racing is VERY popular here, so much, that Cup day is a half-day holiday!
Grafton is regarded as one of the country capitals of Australian racing, holding 40 meetings a year.
Not only a Racecourse, but located in the centre is a 9 hole golf course.
The waters stilled
There's several places along the river where you can get good photos but the problem is they're mainly on private land and you're not always welcome on some properties, even if it is just to take photos. You have to respect that.
Still, there are many spots where you can access the river and, if you have a boat, there's no limits to where you might end up.
Somedays you just happen to get a special shot with your camera. Sometimes others don't rate the shot as you do. It's all a matter of where you're approaching the shot from.
Personally, I just love the opening shot. It clicks for me.
I would have probably felt the same about the second one because it's so hard to get bees in the right position in a flower.
The third is of a banksia flower, named after the slightly lesser known man from Cook's famous voyage who left us with a fabulous treasure trove of botanical knowledge whilst the fourth shows the melaleuca forest after rain. These trees are apparently something of a pest in Florida when they've gone totally feral to the detriment of natives. Here they are completely natural.
The final snap shows a pied oyster catcher wandering the dunes adjacent to the creek crossing.
HOME OF THE STUNNING JACARANDA FESTIVAL
"A LITTLE HISTORY................."
Grafton, like many other settlements in the area, was first opened up to white settlement by the cedar-getters.
It was an escaped convict, Richard Craig, who 'discovered' the district in 1831.
With the wealth of 'red gold' cedar just waiting for exploitation, he was
given a pardon and one hundred pounds to bring a party of cedar-getters
on the cutter 'Prince George" to the region.
Word of such wealth to be had did not take long to spread and one of the
arrivals was pioneer John Small on the 'Susan' in 1838, and he first
occupied land on Woodford Island. 'The Settlement' was established
By 1851, the first sale of town blocks was taking place and Governor
Fitzroy officially named the town 'Grafton', after his grandfather, the Duke of Grafton.
By 1885 it had developed sufficiently to be proclaimed a city.
There are many beautiful heritage buildings in Grafton which have been classified by the National Trust.
Along with many private houses, the large Christ Church Cathedral, the
Grafton Jail and Historic homesteads have also been preserved,
The mighty Clarence River, which brought in the first white settlers, still
plays an important role in the city's life, though no longer the
Boating and watersports as well as fishing, both commercial and
recreational, are a major attraction.
Water-ski enthusiasts shouldn't miss the annual Bridge to Bridge Ski Race,
which is held every October long weekend, and the Bridge to Bridge Sailing
Classic is held every November.
There are more than 6,500 trees, a lot of them Jacaranda's providing
shade and colour in the city.
The world-renowned Jacaranda Festival is held yearly in Grafton, from the last weekend in October to the first weekend in November.
And, on your left, Grafton
In the 21st century this bustling town has shown its ability to survive being bypassed. Once upon a time there were only ferries across Australia's fastest flowing river, the Clarence, and these were stationed at several points, mostly downstream from Grafton where you needed to cross more than one to get to the other side of the delta.
That changed in 1932 with the building of the bridge that finally made a link between the first settlement, South Grafton, and the town proper.
A legacy of wide streets, some striking Victorian buildings, a sense of permanence and a long-standing concern with civic beauty have seen this town survive where others have wilted. In fact, the first ornamental trees were planted as early as 1874 and the city's most famous claim to fame is nearing its centenary, the much-publicized jacarandas having first been planted in 1907-08. The festival surrounding them commences on the last Saturday in October each year.
"Back to the coast"
Although Grafton is well inland you can access the north coast beaches in just over half an hour either heading towards Coffs Harbour or Yamba. Either way will put you beside some of the north coast's finest.
This particular one is Pebbly Beach, part of Yaraygir National Park.