Grafton Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Grafton

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    FINE WOODCRAFT EXHIBITION

    by balhannah Updated Nov 8, 2013

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    I really love seeing items made out of different types of wood that has been beautifully polished when finished.
    The Northern Rivers Woodworkers Association were holding their annual exhibition during the Jacaranda Festival.

    Not only was there a good display put on by members, some of the members had their machines there and were busy making pieces. All of the items were for sale. I guess the smallest pieces were wooden biro's, and the largest, a dressing table or hall mirror & cabinet.
    I found it interesting seeing the colours of the different local wood in the bread & cutting boards. Fruit tree wood had been used and had polished beautifully!

    Wooden Teddies, a Kombi Van with small drawers that open, lots of excellent children's toys, wooden birds, wall plaques, clocks, kitchen bowls, log books, a teapot and furniture are a few of the many items on display.

    The logbooks were a favorite of mine, such intricate, delicate work, how clever was the person was who made these! {these photo's are in my Travelogue}
    The toys, even though expensive, I imagine would be unbreakable and would last for ever.
    This was a wonderful exhibition!

    ADMISSION in 2013 - $2
    OPEN 9-5pm
    It is held upstairs or you can catch a lift.
    Free parking in the street and car park.
    Located at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club

    See more items in the travelogue.

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    Driving Around at Jacaranda Time

    by wise23girl Written Nov 6, 2013

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    Grafton is a very beautiful city, set on the banks of the mighty Clarence River...and she is a beauty...the Clarence River that is. So if you choose a quieter time of day when the traffic has eased you will enjoy the Jacarandas and some of the beautiful buildings.
    At the end of Prince Street there is a pub right on the river where you can park enjoy a cold one...maybe after you take a stroll along the banks of the river...I even found a very interesting restaurant among the trees...do the circuit and come back to your car.
    You can cross the bridge and then explore South Grafton.

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    HISTORIC SOUTH GRAFTON

    by balhannah Written Nov 5, 2013

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    If you like seeing old historic buildings, then do not forget to visit South Grafton, located on the Pacific Highway side of the Clarence River. Pick up the heritage trail from the Tourist information centre.

    Some sights I saw, were St Matthew's Anglican Church (1886), that contains stained-glass windows from the English chapel of the Duke of Grafton, after whom the town is named. Couldn't get inside this Church, nor St. Patrick's Catholic Church, built in 1881, and located at the corner of Skinner and Ryan Streets
    There are some massive Hotels in south Grafton - the Marina Hotel from 1909 and the Post Office Hotel.
    Another heritage building that is attractive, is the Post Office, and also in this small main street, a few buildings with architecture of the time. It would be nice to see them restored and painted, I do hope this happens one day.
    I found some lovely old homes with lace work, and one had decorated pressed metal on the outside walls, something you hardly ever see. Usually, the pressed metal is used on ceilings.
    One person had all types of Gnomes in their garden, unfortunately the notice said somebody had been stealing them, so sad!
    On this side of the city, there a lots of little settlers cottages, probably some of the first buildings in Grafton.
    I thought it was worth having a look around. One of the best Jacarandas in bloom was in South Grafton.

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    JACARANDA FESTIVAL PARADE

    by balhannah Written Nov 5, 2013

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    The Jacaranda Festival Float Parade is always held on the last Saturday of the Festival.

    Local businesses are in the parade, a form of advertising for them. There a lots of floats representing community groups, each with their own display. The vintage cars were in the Parade, bands, children's characters, dogs, motorcycles, roller-bladers, schools, aboriginals and of course the Jacaranda Queen and Princess.

    The parade goes along Prince street, a two way street, so goes up one side and back the other.
    DO BRING YOUR OWN SEATING, as there isn't any, and you may be very tired after standing still for over an hour.
    Thousands of people turned out for this fun event.

    BEGINS AT 5pm Takes about an hour for the whole Parade.

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    CELTIC ENTERTAINMENT

    by balhannah Written Nov 5, 2013

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    Scottish Pipe Bands are part of the Jacaranda festival and are in the Parade.

    Before the Parade begins in the late afternoon, the Scottish Pipe bands play to the public in Market Square, beginning at 1.30pm.
    Grafton has its own pipe band, they were joined by Pipe bands from Maclean, Armidale and the Coffs Coast.

    They have a "wee" rest, before having to march and play in the annual Jacaranda Festival Parade.
    Poor people, such a hot day, and they were in their tartans! Didn't affect their ability to play their bagpipes, although one must have had a fit, and his hair turned purple ...just kidding!

    FREE ENTERTAINMENT

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    WOODEN BOAT SHOW

    by balhannah Written Nov 5, 2013

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    The wooden Boat show was another attraction at the Jacaranda festival

    The wooden boat show was held in Corcoran Park which is beside the Clarence River. There is quite a large free car-park, boat ramp, picnic tables, bbq's and toilets.
    All the boats on display were made by people, not in a factory, this made them extra special.

    We paid a gold coin donation and walked to have a look at the first display of lovely wooden canoes and Kayaks. Some people had patterns running through the top of the kayak and all were highly polished, they looked a treat!

    Further on, were different size sailing Boats, a couple of Surf boats, a Snapper fishing boat, a steam powered boat and even a Viking boat!
    Quite a few were painted, depending of the style of boat.
    My husband is building a ski boat from wood, so he was very interested in the show.

    Also on display was a Blacksmith, Stationary Motors that were working, Model boats, a man giving Fly casting tuition, Vintage Outboard motors, Nautical Knot display and food vendors.

    ENTRY Gold coin donation - Either $1 or $2 coin.
    OPEN 10 - 4pm.

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    Visit The Clarence River Country Muster in October

    by wise23girl Written Nov 5, 2013

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    Well if you enjoy country music here is something special...visit the Clarence Valley Country Muster. The very first ever was October 2013.....three days of country muster entertainment but campers are welcome to come in earlier in the week....see dates on current website.

    Held at Jacaranda Festival Time..... gates opened 28th October in 2013.....see website

    from the brochure
    " Just a short drive from Ulmarra is a tiny settlement called Calliope. It’s pronounced kel-eye-oh-pea and has its own rich heritage in milk and cream production.
    Now Calliope is about to move into the 21st century with a country music festival never before seen in this part of the world.
    The first Clarence Valley Country Muster will be held over three days – November 1, 2 and 3 – on a Calliope property owned by Wendy Gordon."

    As regulars at Hartwood camp fires and country music our friends who host that awesome event asked us to pop in to the Clarence muster and say hello for them.

    So did just that called in for a short while just to say "Hi" and what a lovely warm welcome we were given....it felt "just right" and when we hopped out of the car one of our favourite entertainers was on stage..... and I also got a wave from Peter the muso who we met earlier at the pub.
    We could not stay long as this trip was for the Jacaranda Festival and we had other folk waiting for us....but next time....
    And there was some wonderful food and all fresh...I had a very tasty pie made from their own beef...

    For more information and photos follow this link to my Ulmarra review

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    ST. ANDREW'S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

    by balhannah Written Nov 4, 2013

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    St. Andrew's Church
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    This Church is a change from the other Churches in Grafton as it is not dull bricks, but has been plastered and painted white. Even though it was built in 1886, it still is in good condition and looks beautiful with its tall tower. Looking through the Jacaranda trees to the church made it extra pretty.

    Located beside the Church fence, were what is commonly known as the Coral Tree. This is a smallish tree which has thorns, so be careful, but it does have the most beautiful Red Flowers.

    As with most Australian Churches, the door was closed, so no entry to the inside.

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    VINTAGE CARS AT THE JACARANDA FESTIVAL

    by balhannah Updated Nov 4, 2013

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    The Grafton Vintage Motor Vehicle club had on display at the Grafton Jacaranda Festival, Vintage, Veteran and Classic Cars

    Vintage cars are the oldest Cars, made between 1919 to 1930.
    Hudson produced the Essex in 1919, there was the Model T Ford and a Chevrolet on the market at the same time.

    At the show, there was a gorgeous Model T Ford Coupelet on display. Painted orange, this car was being admired by many. The price paid for it when new was $750 Australian $'s.
    No dashboard full of dials, just very a plain with a steering wheel that looked like it may come off in your hand! The horn was polished and shiny, it was a beauty!

    There were other Vintage cars on display, I have the photo's in my travelogue.
    Also in my travelogues are photo's of the Veteran and Classic cars.

    Although this show wasn't big, what was on display were mainly restored and a credit to their owners.
    We were asked for vote for the car we liked the best.

    The Show was located in the middle of Duke Street, Grafton.
    There was plenty of FREE street parking as the majority of people were at the Tafe Markets.
    DISPLAY WAS FROM 8.30 - 1.30 pm.
    FREE ENTRY

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    TAFE MARKETS

    by balhannah Written Nov 4, 2013

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    Home -made ceramic pots
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    The Grafton Tafe Markets are traditionally held the last Saturday of the Jacaranda Festival.

    I was eager to visit as quite a few locals had said "Don't miss the Tafe Markets!"
    Tafe happens to be the name of the college grounds where the market is held. I had already been to the excellent Pound Markets, so was wondering how much better these could be. Well, I don't think they were better, just as good though, although much more crowded because of the limited walking room.

    These markets had lots of stalls from the pound market, and some second-hand goods for sale, nearly all were under large shady trees, something I appreciated on a hot day.
    The only part I didn't like the overly loud screaming band, they were awful! They must think we are deaf, we will be after their music! They were in the centre by the children's ride area.

    They say there are over 140 market stalls, I didn't count! I did like the layout, with food in one area, second-hand another, plants another and so on.....
    Frog lovers, plenty of ceramic frogs, beautifully painted and other ceramic animals.
    I love the shed signs that were at the start of the markets, have a read and a laugh [photo 2]
    Soaps that look like edible cakes, too nice to use! [photo 3]
    Soft toys [photo 4]

    There were heaps of people here, and getting parking was easy for us as we had some luck with a car about to pull out as we were driving along. The streets were full of parked cars, so you could expect quite a walk.

    They were excellent markets, a must see during the Jacaranda Festival.

    FREE
    OPEN FROM 8 - 2pm ON SATURDAY.
    LOCATION - By the river bridge. No turn right if coming across the Bridge.

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    FIREWORKS

    by balhannah Written Nov 4, 2013

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    At the end of the Venetian Carnival during the Jacaranda Festival, come the Fireworks.
    This is worth remembering if you don't wish to see the stage entertainment, just come down to the riverside before the fireworks begin at 8.30pm. You don't have to be in amongst the crowds to see them, just along the bank.
    I thought the fireworks were pretty good, they were very loud and some of the highest I had ever seen! Might be too much "bang" for young children! The fireworks were fired from a barge in the centre of the River, this gave lovely reflections!
    Each time I see fireworks, there seem to be some new ones, and here at Grafton there were some beauties.

    FREE!

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    THE VENETIAN CARNIVAL

    by balhannah Written Nov 4, 2013

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    The Venetian Carnival is a yearly event at the Jacaranda Festival

    Located in Memorial Park, on the banks of the Clarence River at Grafton, it is an evening of FREE ENTERTAINMENT.

    it is a good idea to bring your own seating, or a rug to sit on the lawn as there isn't any seating. We brought our own fold-up chairs. Having arrived at starting time, we found the best locations taken, although through people moving all the time, I did manage to see the stage. If you can't see the stage, then you can still hear the singing.
    It is daylight at the beginning, continuing on till night.
    Performers were mainly young, from clubs and schools from Grafton and surrounding areas. Entertainment was varied and included singing, dancing, bands, acrobats and more, all performed on a floating stage on the Clarence River.
    I really didn't think some of the performers were much, a comment agreed to by a Tourist guide who came every year. He agreed it wasn't much this year and there weren't stalls like other years, just a few food stalls.
    Anyrate, the audience seemed to enjoy it, I guess most of them knew some-one on the stage!

    Held every year during the Jacaranda Festival
    Where - Memorial Park, Grafton
    Time - 6 - 8.30pm

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    THE CLARENCE RIVER

    by balhannah Updated Nov 4, 2013

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    Sunset on the Clarence River @ Grafton
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    The Clarence River is the largest river on the eastern seaboard, this is why you will hear it being called 'THE MIGHTY CLARENCE RIVER!" When you first set eyes on it, I'm sure you will agree, it is a mighty river. From start to finish where it empties into the Ocean, the River travels 394kms.
    Majestic is another word that comes to mind when describing the River.
    The river was named by Captain Henry Rous in honour of Prince William, 1st Duke of Clarence and St Andrews and Lord High Admiral of the Navy prior to his ascension as William IV.

    The main city centre of Grafton is located inside the huge bend of the River, a bit like a crooked horse-shoe. Around the outside, is South Grafton. The city is protected by levee banks, although these do not stop the big floods, like the one in 2013, when Grafton received the residual effects of Tropical Cyclone Oswald and the associated monsoon trough. It was the highest flood level every recorded at Grafton - 8.1 metres. The levee banks did help prevent a massive flood.

    Looking at the River in Grafton, you will notice an Island, this is Susan Island Nature Reserve.

    What would Grafton be without the River?

    My answer- No where near as nice!

    The River was important in the olden days for transportation, today, it is recreation that the River is used for. This brings people from all around Australia and the World to compete in The Head of the River rowing Regatta, Dragon boat racing, Sailing, Water skiing events, Power Boat racing and the famous Bridge to Bridge Ski Race. The banks are lawned, there are many picnic areas all around the river where you can sit under a shady Jacaranda tree and enjoy watching life on the Clarence River.
    OR, You may be under a shady tree trying to catch one of the many elusive River Fish!

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    TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE

    by balhannah Updated Nov 4, 2013

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    The Clarence River Visitor Information Centre in Grafton, is the Pacific Highway side of the Grafton River bridge. Just follow the blue signs with the gold letter "i" to the visitor centre. It is not far from the bridge and has plenty of FREE PARKING and even a McDonalds next door!

    The centre is excellent, and is a must visit to decide what your going to do in Grafton. There is a 12 minute film that gives an overview of the area, I have never seen it, as I have been to Grafton many times. There are plenty FREE BROCHURES & MAPS, just help yourself to what you want. If it isn't there, then ask one of the friendly staff behind the counter!

    FREE WI-FI is also available.

    The centre also has a good array of souvenirs and many local hand made crafts, made by members of different local Galleries and Craft groups. There were "bargain" boxes too - If you happen to be the right size for one of the reduced price T Shirts, then lucky you!

    Outside is a very nice lawned area and a large pond full of Water Lilies which just happened to be flowering - quite a picture!

    At Jacaranda Festival time, the centre has maps and details on all the activities held over the time of the Festival.

    OPENING TIMES ARE 9am - 5pm
    Closed Christm as Day and Good Friday

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    Visit The Markets

    by wise23girl Written Nov 4, 2013

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    Well we were lucky...we were there for the Jacaranda Markets in November....Festival time. and what a show it was . But of course Markets are held all year round so anytime would be good.
    There were more than 120 Stalls with a large variety of goods, entertainment and displays,and of course food.

    My friend and I were very adventurous and now we each have a temporary tattoo.....took the boys a while to notice!
    There was one really great band and unfortunately wisedancer had left to look at vintage cars or we would have been dancing....so the ladies had a coffee instead. This was when we met some of the cast of "The Boyfriend" ....

    NB...The pedestrian crossing across Clarence Street was a temporary one and downright dangerous.

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