I often drive from Brisbane in Qld, down south to Coffs Harbour which is on the NSW mid north coast. A good trip usually takes me about 4 ¼ hours of driving which is getting better with the constant upgrading of the Pacific Hwy. I am fortunate enough to have a break along the way with my brother and sister in law who live in the little village of Woombah which is just off the highway in the Northern Rivers of NSW on the Clarence River.
When I stay for a few days in Woombah, we always make a point of driving in to Iluka, a sleepy and charming fishing village and “get away from it all” holiday destination at the mouth of the Clarence River. Iluka is sitting in between kilometres of empty beaches and UNESCO World Heritage-listed rainforest, this charming little fishing village is the ultimate beach retreat.
Coast Guard beach at the mouth of the Clarence River
We usually take our puppy dogs for a visit to coast guard beach in Iluka. This beach is right at the mouth of the river, is safe and doggie friendly and is always clean, clear and beautiful with views across the river over to Yamba.
After some time with the doggies running around on the sand and in the water, we then usually call in to the Clarence River Fishermen’s Co-op on Queen Street where we pick up the freshest and best locally caught prawns, local fish, chips, etc and head up to the North Arm of the river to enjoy our seafood lunch by the river. It is always so peaceful and inviting. Mind you, we do know when the right days are to go, which are not in school holidays nor long weekends when the crowds arrive.
This sleepy little village, although not big on night life or in fact even restaurants, still has much to offer thanks to Mother Nature. Boating, fishing and surfing are very popular here for both locals and visitors from NSW and Qld. You can hire kayaks and stand-up paddle boards and explore the river or take scenic cruises with the local ferry service.
And if you feel like a bush walk, there is plenty on offer. Iluka is home to NSW’s largest remaining seaside rainforest, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. The Bundjalung National Park stretches along the coast from Iluka to Evans Head. It covers 18,000 hectares, 38 km of beaches and ranges from rainforest through heathland, coastal cypress stands, lagoons and wetlands to coastal plains. The park is home to 205 bird, 30 mammal, 38 reptile and 13 amphibian species
I always come away from here feeling good, refreshed and happy after several days of spontaneous fun.