Maclean – May 2016 – Part 1

Wow! It has been a fairly full on few weeks!  Once again heaps of photos and it is going to be hard to choose which ones to put on this time.

Birds 3Following on from our last blog, after spending time with Tui’s brother we stayed on at the Pine River Showgrounds for almost a week.

As mentioned Tui was concerned about the weight of the trailer.  We found a Public weigh bridge not too far away and got a bit of a shock, too heavy for our liking!! !  If a trailer weighs more than 4.5 ton you have to have air brakes.  Had a couple of guys look at it and we would be up for a considerable cost!  To cut a long story short we upgraded the hitch on Tiki Tourer and figured worst case scenario, Jude would have to follow in the car. Also had some issues with air leaks in our suspension and brake boosters.  Tui spent hours trying to locate the problem.  After replacing height adjusters, still not fixed.  More about all that later!

Di Jude & Tui 2Dianne & Ray paid us another visit and we went to the Lawnton Tavern for tea.  Lovely food, good price and of course awesome company! It was in walking distance so managed to walk off a bit of our indulgence.

It was then time to start heading south.  Really disappointed we didn’t get to catch up with Sandra & Nev but with all the hassles and Tui wanted to get the other side of Brisbane before the weekend traffic.

As we had been to the Gold Coast several times we just made a bee line down the Motorway/Freeway, not deviating until the Byron Bay Turn off.  Finally crossing the Border! Yeeha another State at last!!

Heading towards Gold CoastNSW Border

A couple of tunnels along the way!

TunnelTunnel 2

We decided to take the Coast Road from Byron Bay to Ballina.  A headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. Driving in we thought we had made a grave mistake as with a narrow road and lots of traffic it was a bit of a mission to get Tiki Tourer & Trailer through but we made it!! Couldn’t get to the most Eastern point in Tiki Tourer!

Byron BayByron Bay 2

Clarkes Beach Byron Bay 2Clarkes Beach Byron Bay

The first industry in Byron was cedar logging from the Australian red cedar. The timber industry is the origin of the word “shoot” in many local names – Possum Shoot, Coopers Shoot and Skinners Shoot – where the timber-cutters would “shoot” the logs down the hills to be dragged to waiting ships.

The drive down the coast was hassle free and a pleasant drive, taking in Lennox Head where we grabbed a pie for late lunch! The village has grown considerably in recent years and remains ever popular with beach-goers, sea-changers, and holiday-makers.

Coast Byron Bay to Ballina 2Coast Byron Bay to Ballina 3

BallinaDrove through Ballina which was established in the 1840s on the northern shore of the Richmond River. We were now approx 600 km north of Sydney and 189 km south of Brisbane. The Richmond River was an important transport route for the region for the first 100 years after settlement. The river and its estuaries abound with marine wildlife and provide for recreational fishing and water sports.

MacLean Yamba Sign

The plan was to stay at Yamba or MacLean a couple of days to catch up with Jeff, Debbie & Brooke & Paul who we spent time with when we were in Mossman.   They now live here.  However as you will see this time frame has been extended, a lot!


First stop was the MacLean Showgrounds.  What a beautiful spot, right on the Clarence River.  In our Camps 8 Book & Wiki Camps it states, Toilets, showers, power and water, which would make it up to Caravan Park Status. However because of escalating Insurance costs there are now no showers or power.  Can’t complain though as at $10 a night it is a pretty good deal.  Maximum time allowed is 3 nights but you can go away for a couple and come back which we have done a few times now.  Met up with a couple of Kiwis with a big Bus, Wayne & Maureen, that night and had a very long Happy Hour!!

Clarence River MacLean ShowgroundsMacLean Showgrounds 2

The popular Maclean Highland Gathering has been held for over 100 years  We just missed it! Participants and bands contest traditional Scottish athletic and cultural competitions, such as caber tossing, highland dancing, band competition, and bagpiping. The “Maclean, The Scottish Town In Australia Association”, is a community group which was formed in 1986 works to promote Maclean’s strong Scottish origins. The work of this committee over the years has ensured that Maclean now has national and international recognition as ‘The Scottish Town’ in Australia.  Its industries are tourism, sugar cane production, farming and river-prawn trawling.

MacLean main StreetLookout MacLean 3

The Clarence River is amazing with some 101 islands and 95kms of navigable waterways. MacLean is the base for a fishing fleet with Sea Mullet & Prawns being netted in the River.

Clarence River MacLean 2Sunset MacLean Showgrounds

We had heard a lot about Yamba, which is at the mouth of the Clarence River. so we headed over to have a look. Beautiful place, totally different atmosphere to Maclean.  The town economy is strongly based on fishing and tourism, but has a diverse range of influences, due to the ‘Sea Change’ phenomena and the large number of baby boomers who are starting to retire to the warmer climates.  People swim in the ocean at Yamba all year round, and in fact the water is often warmer in July than it is in February due to a warm current finding its way down the coast at that time.

Yamba 2One of the Beaches Yamba

Yamba Jumping off rocksYamba boasts eleven beaches within the 2464 postcode. Whiting, Turners, Yamba (Main), Convent/McKittricks, Pippi, Flat Rock (Barri Point), and Barri (known locally as Dump Beach). Nearby beaches to the north include Woody Head, Iluka Bluff, Back Beach (Iluka), and to the south Green Point, Spooky, Angourie Bay, Angourie Point, Back Beach (Angourie), Shelley, Caves, and Plumbago. Also watched kids jumping into the sea off the rocks.

Yamba LighthouseView Yamba Lighthouse







Yamba Lighthouse also known as Clarence River Light

Dianne hold told us that we must go to the Pub as the views were spectacular.  We saw a sign Yamba Tavern and thought that must be it.  Sent her a photo and were told wrong Pub!!  However the views were good and we decided to have some wedges for lunch while we were there.  There is a resident school of Bream at the Yamba Shores Tavern.
These fish act more like piranha with the bread that is being fed to them. They push their heads clear of the water to get to the bread. Pure torture for a fisherman as you can’t cast a line in their for them.

Yamba TavernFish Yamba Tavern

Back around to the Lighthouse area where we found the Pacific Hotel that Dianne was referring to.  She was right, spectacular views.

Swimming Pool Yamba BeachView from Pacific Hotel

Back to the MacLean Showgrounds! We had looked into the cost of Caravan Parks in Yamba but they put their rates up really high for the ANZAC long weekend and it was only a 20min drive back to MacLean. Finally got hold of Jeff & Debbie and went up to their place for coffee the next morning.  Jeff now works on the radio towers so he took us to Woodford Island which is accessible by bridge to show us one of his Towers. Great view!

View from Jeff's TowerJeff at work

With our 3 days up at the Showgrounds we decided to try and find a free spot onSite opposite Boat Ramp Woodford Island.  It is formed by the Clarence River where it splits into the South Arm and North Arm at the small village of Brushgrove then reforms at the town of Maclean. The island covers 37 square kilometres.

Parked on an old Cane Pad right opposite the boat ramp where the fisherman enter the river.  That turned out to be a great decision!!  First night there we were given Sea Mullet.  We had to fillet and clean them and had fresh fish for tea.  It was delicious!! Not at all like the muddy Mullet in NZ.

Filleting free fishJude filleted the 1st 2 then Tui was given more by another fisherman so he filleted them.  Had fish in the freezer as well.  Bonus!!


Mud crab


Next morning along came another fisherman with 2 huge Mud Crabs.  They had a couple of claws broken off so no good for selling.  Out came the little cooker, Tui cooked them and Jude did the shelling.




Cooking Mud crabsCooked Mud Crab

Jeff & Debbie were going to Grafton the next day so asked if we would like to go for a drive.  Approx 44kms from Maclean, Jeff took us on the Ferry, through Lawrence instead of the Highway, .Lawrence 2

Lawrence Ferry 3

What a lovely little town with a great Tavern.   Apparently you can free camp behind the tavern with showers provided for $2.  Great reviews on the food there too. As Jeff had to visit another site it was onto another Ferry, which put us back on the main highway.

Ulmarra Ferry SignUlmarra Ferry 2

Had a bit of a tour of Grafton then to a Club for lunch. A very pleasant day.  Thanks Guys!

Grafton BridgeLunch grafton

After spending 4 nights at the Boat Ramp it was time to empty our tanks and fill up with water so back to the showgrounds. We were a bit sorry to leave that spot.  We saw quite a few Prawn Trawlers working on our last day.  Didn’t get any though!

Jetty's Woodford IslandTrawler Clarence River

Another 3 night stint! Jeff decided to take Tui up towards Tweed Heads to give him a hand to cut some trees etc at one of his Towers so Debbie and Jude went for a drive to Brooms Head. We first went into Yuraygir National Park and had a look at Lake Arragan & Redcliff camping areas, to the north of Brooms Head.

Lake Arragon 2Lake Arragon 3

$11.50 per adult per night. $6 per child per night. Child rates apply for children aged 5-15 years only. Children under 5 years are free of charge.  During NSW & QLD school holidays and long weekends a minimum camping fee of $23 per site per night applies. On top of that there is a park entry fee.

Redcliff Beach MacLean 2Redcliff Beach MacLean

Brooms Head is one of those unique beachfront villages that are becoming rare. Originally known as Cakora Point, the name Brooms Head was first used in 1870 when a broom thought to have come from the wreck of the schooner ‘Eureka’, was washed up on the beach. These days many locals affectionately refer to “The Broom” as their favourite holiday destination.

Brooms Head 2Brooms Head

Right on the Beach is the Snack Shack.  Debbie had fish and chips, Jude Opted for Calamari. Very nice!

Snack ShackDeb brining lunch

As this Blog is getting rather long we think a part 2 is in order, maybe in a few days or so! Keep an eye out!!

Until then “Laugh more, live longer!”



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