10 great events that put Clarence Valley on the map

THE Clarence Valley must be resourceful in the coming years to be prepared for when the Pacific Highway Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade is completed.

Expected to be finished by 2020, there are fears tourist numbers will drop off as travellers miss popular hot spots off the highway.

However, with adequate marketing campaigns and highway signage, local tourist operators and authorities should instead use it as an opportunity to boost tourist numbers by promoting their local hotspots and major events.

Here is a list of ten of the biggest major events in the Clarence Valley capable of capturing the attention of travellers.

1. Maclean Highland Gathering (Mar 25-26): The Lower Clarence Scottish Association's annual gathering features pipe bands, drummers, dancers and of course the Highland Games, celebrating its proud Scottish cultural heritage. Check out the event website.

Tony McFarlane of Yamba was competing at the Maclean Highland Games hammer throwing event on Saturday at the the Maclean Showground. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Tony McFarlane of Yamba was competing at the Maclean Highland Games hammer throwing event on Saturday at the the Maclean Showground. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner Debrah Novak

2. Plunge - Art and Culture Festival (Mar 26-Apr 26): A month-long celebration showcasing the Clarence Valley's diverse culture with more than 100 events including music, dance, theatre, exhibitions, workshops and markets. Event guide is now available.

MC was Daphne at the opening of Plunge, Art and Culture festival held at the Grafton Regional Gallery in Fitzroy St, Grafton. Photo: Leigh Jensen / Daily Examiner March 26, 2015
MC was Daphne at the opening of Plunge, Art and Culture festival held at the Grafton Regional Gallery in Fitzroy St, Grafton. Photo: Leigh Jensen / Daily Examiner March 26, 2015 Leigh Jensen

3. Maclean Agricultural Show (Apr 12-13): The Maclean Show Society has played an integral part in the Lower Clarence region for the past 122 years. Originally formed to bring early settlers together to share knowledge about farming and show the district their achievements, the annual attraction allows exhibitors from all walks of life to display their talents. Visit the event website here.

Maclean Show fruit and vegetable section judge Clive Taylor has a closer look at the small and big novelty entries at the Maclean Show. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Maclean Show fruit and vegetable section judge Clive Taylor has a closer look at the small and big novelty entries at the Maclean Show. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

4. Grafton Show (Apr 15-16): Promoted as Grafton's number one family event, the Grafton Show celebrates its 150th Anniversary in 2016. The Grafton Show features plenty of events including woodchopping, a demolition derby, freestyle motorcycles, working dogs, show jumping, pavilions and of course rides and fireworks.

George Farmer of Cangi during the wood chopping event at the 2015 149th Grafton Show at the Grafton Showground on Saturday 2nd May. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
George Farmer of Cangi during the wood chopping event at the 2015 149th Grafton Show at the Grafton Showground on Saturday 2nd May. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner Debrah Novak

5. July Racing Carnival (July 7-17): One of the premier country horse racing events in Australia, the July Racing Carnival attracts the biggest trainers, owners and jockeys - Gai Waterhouse won the Grafton Cup in 2015 with Bonfire. It's not uncommon to spot celebrities in the crowd either - last year Tony Abbott and Socceroos goalkeeper Matt Ryan both turned up for a flutter. The Clarence River Jockey Club has hosted the event since the 1860s.

Blake Shinn takes top weight Bonfire to the lead around the first corner in front of the main straight - and held onto win the 2015 Grafton CupPhoto Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Blake Shinn takes top weight Bonfire to the lead around the first corner in front of the main straight - and held onto win the 2015 Grafton CupPhoto Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

6. Grafton Bridge to Bridge Ski Race (Oct 1-2): One of the top ski races on the east coast calendar, the Grafton Bridge to Bridge sees competitors start and finish in Grafton, with speed boats reaching up to 180kph along the wide stretches of the Clarence River before turning around at Harwood Bridge. A boat called Superman has won the event multiple times in recent years. Click here for more information.

Superman crosses the finish line after a new record setting run to claim their third Grafton Bridge to Bridge title in a row. Photo Matthew Elkerton / Daily Examiner
Superman crosses the finish line after a new record setting run to claim their third Grafton Bridge to Bridge title in a row. Photo Matthew Elkerton / Daily Examiner Matthew Elkerton

  7. National Goanna Pulling Championships (Oct 2): A chiropractor's dream, the Australian National Goanna Pulling Championships are held in the coastal hamlet of Wooli each year. While there's not exactly a national circuit for this little known sport, some of the top competitors take it very seriously. Event website.  

Corey Ricketts (left) and Samuel Parks were competing in the 2014 Australian Goanna Pulling Championships at Wooli on Sunday, 5th October, 2014. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Corey Ricketts (left) and Samuel Parks were competing in the 2014 Australian Goanna Pulling Championships at Wooli on Sunday, 5th October, 2014. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner Debrah Novak

 

8. Surfing The Coldstream Festival (October): A one-day festival in Yamba comprising two stages plus street theatre and busking featuring dozens of local and national touring acts. The festival kicks off at 9am with entertaineers in the Yamba CBD and from midday onwards the action moves up the hill to Flinders Park. Follow the link for more information

Yamba teenager Nick Evans performs at Surfing the Coldstream. Photo Clair Morton / Daily Examiner
Yamba teenager Nick Evans performs at Surfing the Coldstream. Photo Clair Morton / Daily Examiner Clair Morton

9. Jacaranda Festival (Oct 29-Nov 6): Grafton's most famous festival was inaugurated in 1934 and celebrates the spectacle of the hundreds of lilac-blossomed trees that grow in Grafton's broad tree-lined avenues and come into bloom in October. Henry Volkers introduced the first Jacaranda trees, which are native to Brazil. Events within the Jacaranda Festival include the Jacaranda Ball, Venetian Carnival, Float Procession and Queen Crowning.

The smiles may match the brightness of the bloom behind them, but tomorrow night there'll be some nerves for the Jacaranda Party (l-r) Charlotte White, Leah Wallace, Matron of Honour Debbie Bowling, Kirsten Knox and Kahlia Payne as they wait to see who is crowned Queen of the Jacarandas for 2015.Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
The smiles may match the brightness of the bloom behind them, but tomorrow night there'll be some nerves for the Jacaranda Party (l-r) Charlotte White, Leah Wallace, Matron of Honour Debbie Bowling, Kirsten Knox and Kahlia Payne as they wait to see who is crowned Queen of the Jacarandas for 2015.Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

10. Head of the Clarence River Regatta (November): The Clarence River has a rich, proud rowing history and the Grafton Rowing Club resides on one of the most ideal stretches of water for rowing. It's here in Grafton that students from the most prestigious schools in Brisbane and Sydney converge each year for the Head of the Clarence River Regatta.

Newington College at Stanmore Sydney 1st Eight in their final training run for the Head of the River feature event on the Clarence River in Grafton on Saturday and Sunday. Photo: DEBRAH NOVAK/The Daily Examiner.
Newington College at Stanmore Sydney 1st Eight in their final training run for the Head of the River feature event on the Clarence River in Grafton on Saturday and Sunday. Photo: DEBRAH NOVAK/The Daily Examiner. Debrah Novak

 

Which of our top ten Clarence Valley events is the best advertisement for the region?

This poll ended on 31 December 2016.

Current Results

Maclean Highland Gathering

7%

Plunge - Art and Culture Festival

9%

Maclean Agricultural Show

0%

Grafton Show

2%

July Racing Carnival

20%

Grafton Bridge to Bridge Ski Race

5%

National Goanna Pulling Championships

2%

Surfing The Coldstream Festival

12%

Jacaranda Festival

38%

Head of the Clarence Rowing Regatta

0%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

 


Rental plan frustration

Rental plan frustration

State and business owners disagree on new letting plan

Big U-Turn on the road ahead to reach zero emissions

Big U-Turn on the road ahead to reach zero emissions

Zero Enissions Byron U-Turn event.

Watch out Splendour: It's Snoop Dogg Hotdogs

Watch out Splendour: It's Snoop Dogg Hotdogs

From the makers of Happy Kanye and Nicolas Cage on a Cage

Local Partners