We departed the Gold Coast to tackle the drive down to the border of New South Wales and Victoria to the Murray River to start our adventure. Our first stop was a mere 2 hour drive south to the coastal and riverside village of Iluka. Our main reason for visiting the sleepy village of Iluka was to catch up with good friends that have retired to this charming little place.
Iluka is an enchanting laid-back village in Northern New South Wales, located on the banks of the Clarence River and is extremely popular with fisherman. However it also conceals more treasures, and that is the beautiful World Heritage listed rainforest reserves and spectacular long stretches of white sandy beaches.
So not only can you throw a line in, but you can also relax on gorgeous beaches, including the white sandy stretches in the southern section of Bundjalung National Park. Plus you can amble along the Rainforest walking track in the World Heritage-listed Iluka Nature Reserve.
Home to more than 140 colourful bird species, the nature reserve walk leads to spectacular coastal views from Iluka Bluff lookout, a vantage point for whale watching between May and November. Pack a hamper for a picnic lunch and enjoy swimming, surfing and snorkelling in the nature reserve.
Commercial fishing has been the lifeblood of Iluka for many years, and the local fleet still plies its trade from the Iluka harbour returning with its catch to the local fishing co-operative. Recreational fishing in Iluka is excellent and well renowned, with an abundance of good fishing spots along the river, out in the oceans off the coast of Iluka, from the breakwall or ocean shores.
There are many unspoilt and relatively uncrowded beaches in Iluka, including a long stretch at Shark’s Bay or Ten Mile Beach that is actually 17 kms in length.
The closest beach to the town is Illuka Beach, a straight 2.5 km long beach located between Iluka Bluff and the northern Clarence River entrance wall. There is 4WD access onto this stretch of beach near the break wall.
Frazer Reef is a curving 100 m long beach wedged in between Middle Bluff and the low Frazer Reef. It can be reached from the Frazer Reef Picnic Area, a 5 minute drive out of town, located towards the northern end of adjoining Bluff Beach.
Bluff Beach curves from Frazer Reef for 1.2 km south to the prominent 30 m high Iluka Bluff. This is the most popular surfing beach in Iluka, owing to the reasonable access from the car park located at both ends and the moderate waves.
Iluka has three riverfront caravan parks or a fabulous beachfront camping ground at Woody Head that is located within the Bundjalung National Park.
Whilst certainly not overdeveloped, Iluka offers a wide range of visitor accommodation from motels to caravan parks, to swish self catering holiday apartments. You will not find any traffic lights or shopping malls in Iluka, but you will find retail outlets offering all you need to survive including a local pub, a butcher, small supermarkets, bakers, cafes, gift shops, a post office, a newsagent and a chemist.
Years ago, when our children were little, we spent a couple of weeks camped at the wonderful campground at Woody Head, within the Bundjalung National Park. It was pre-caravan days, when we owned a large two room tent. So this meant packing everything but the kitchen sink, to camp here for this length of time.
Woody Head is only 4.8kms from the town of Iluka. In the vicinity of the campground there is a boat ramp, 4×4 beach access onto the beach, rainforest walks, shallow reefs and rock pools to explore. It’s a very child friendly spot to camp with shallow and safe water for the kids to poke around in.
The camp sites at the campground are open, (some with minimal shade) and well grassed. Most sites have their own picnic table and wood barbeque. The great thing about the campground is that it also has a kiosk if you run out of supplies or just want a cold drink or icecream.
Iluka just has that something that makes you want to keep coming back again and again. In the words of our retired friends that have now lived in Iluka for 10 months: “We wouldn’t want to live anywhere else”. They have found their patch of paradise and I can understand exactly why!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
merry christmas 2017