Leaving the big smoke of Grafton, head west towards Copmanhurst. From here you criss cross past farms that seem to have stood still since the turn of the century. Stopping at Copmanhurst there is a basic shop that offers the essential bread, milk and a quick ice cream. As you leave here heading towards Lilydale, the country side turns green as you drive along beside fertile river flats. From Lilydale the road turns to dirt and winds its way through bushlands giving you glimpse’s of the Clarence River. This road is narrow in parts so care must be taken, but after all it is a holiday. Some amazing views can be had as you get closer towards The Gorge Station. As you pass some of the old homesteads on this road, you get a feeling that people move here for life. The road twists and turns as you make your way through several properties.
Cattle, horses and the odd kangaroo often shoot across the road so be aware as you continue on. Passing cattle stock yards, crossing creeks and driving past old run down sheds will have you engrossed for the whole trip. As you get closer, Camelback Mountain will start to shadow you on your left, all part of the experience of coming here. Arriving at the Gorge Homestead the owners make you feel right at home, with a country handshake and an escort to your campsite if this is your first time. Every campsite has something different to offer, there is ‘’the beach’’, sandy river frontage just below the main house, then there is ‘’blueberry hill’’, down stream with river views both upstream and downstream.
Then there are several secluded spots further down stream and several further up stream. Fire wood is provided and your rubbish is collected daily, all part of the service they offer here.
As this property is a working station, there are several rules here including, don't chase the cattle, the animals have right of way, stay on the designated tracks and save your scraps for the pigs! This section of the Clarence River is known for its wild Bass fishing, so make sure you bring your rod, reel and favourite lures as these fish can be feisty little buggers. Most of the bigger fish here are caught early dusk or at dawn, but don't let this deter you as they don't go far during the day. There is a great walk (or boat trip you have one), upstream. This take you to Rainbow Falls, a spectacular spot where two rivers meet, creating several large waterfalls.
There are several large waterholes below the waterfalls but I would recommend swimming right away from here as water movement can change suddenly. At night all you here in this wonderful valley are frogs croaking, the cows calling out, and the occasional owl hooting through the valley. For the keen 4wder there are several challenging tracks around Camelback Mountain giving you great views from the top ridge and also a chance to gather some more firewood if needed. No bins are provided here as the rubbish is collected, so by recycling you help the owner reduce their time sorting the rubbish.
At every campsite there is a large thick bbq plate provided for those great Aussie outdoor cookups. For those who like to shower there is a hot water shower near the main house along with a toilet, but these are the only facilities available here. No powered sites, just good old family camping. If camping isn't your thing you can hire out the large bunk house that sleeps up to 15 people overlooking the river. Other attractions here include the skinny dip hole for those who indulge in a little privacy, fishing trips and boat hire can also be arranged through the owners. I highly recommend this destination for anyone looking for a peaceful getaway wether it is for a weekend or a week.
Clarence River Gorge is situated approximately 105 km north west of Grafton via Copmanhurst. The Gorge Property has an area of over 8300 acres and has approximately 10 km of river frontage on the Clarence River.
Camping sites are available all year round, this hidden valley can get extremely hot in summer and winter can be very chilly, best times would be March and September. Booking is essential as there are limited camping areas as The Gorge is a working property.
FUEL AND SUPPLIES
Nearest fuel and limited supplies is Copmanhurst, approximately 70km away.
The Gorge Homestead...66472173
A great place to unwind, no papers, limited phone reception. Swimming, bass fishing, relaxing, walking to several waterfalls.
Hema..................North East Region