The Gorge Station, Clarence River
Hidden on the upper reaches of the Clarence River is a getaway where you can relax, fish or canoe to your heart’s content while the world passes you by.
Located 75km north-west of Grafton, The Gorge Station is a hidden getaway where access is sometimes controlled by the massive floods that occur in the catchment area of the Clarence, also known as ‘The Big River.’
The Gorge Station is a property of more than 8,000 acres with 10km of river frontage on the Clarence. It has been owned by the same family for over a century. And before tourism came calling, the property has long been a working cattle station. This spot is perfect for day trippers or campers seeking an escape in a peaceful and beautiful environment.
Finding this destination is almost as exciting as spending time there! To get there, head out and pass through the hamlet of Copmanhurst, looking out for Appletree Flat Road on your left at the 10km mark which is signposted, ‘The Gorge Station.’ It won’t be long before you hit Lilydale Bridge. This bridge has been kept low for a reason. Massive floods often impact this area and keeping the bridge low lets the flow and water and debris pass over the top, allowing for minimal disruption when the levels subside.
After crossing the bridge, it’s a right turn at the sign for The Gorge and then you follow your nose for the next 35km. The road twists and winds its way along the ridges, giving you glimpses of the Clarence River below on one side and spectacular mountain views on the other. Crossing grids and splashing through causeways is all part of the drive as is watching out for wildlife along the way – such as the cattle in no hurry at all and the kangaroos with their unpredictable road crossing behaviour even in the middle of nowhere.
The welcoming sign for The Gorge Station appears but it is still another 4km to the homestead.
A stop at the homestead often means being greeted by the owners of the property. Along with a great old country chat, you’re likely to get directions and other helpful advice.
The great thing about staying in this region is the variety of camping areas on offer from water access, terrace camping, water views and even bushland campsites. The sites are nicely spread out too giving you a sense of privacy from other campers.
The Gorge is renowned for water activities such as bass fishing (catch and release only), canoeing and swimming in the fresh, clear water of the Clarence River. There are also ample opportunities to bushwalk and take in the incredible waterfalls and mountain scenery. For a small fee it’s also possible to hire a tinny and zoom upstream towards the waterfalls, to experience the reason they call this spot The Gorge.
Heavily timbered hills lie in the distance with small pockets of micro climates that are in and around the old fig trees and plants grow from the rocks that line the river. Fauna lovers will appreciate the range of wildlife here too – from wallabies that bound around the water’s edge, to the plentiful birdlife and if you’re lucky, you may hear a dingo howling in the hills at night.
This is a great destination for a weekend getaway. It’s only two hours from the coastal hustle and bustle yet it provides a great sense of isolation. You will need to be self-sufficient when venturing here.
The Gorge is a popular spot for those who have already discovered it – those well-aware that it’s a very affordable hidden escape, so be sure to book ahead.
For bookings and further information, contact the owners of The Gorge Station on Ph) 6647 2173 or find them online here.
Kevin Smith is a mad keen fisherman, camper, mountain-biker, explorer and all-round adventurer. He has been based on the coast for the better part of 30 years and runs Woolgoolga Off Road as a sideline hobby. He loves getting out and about, be it by vehicle, kayak or SUP. Kev can be reached via Facebook and Instagram @woolgoolgaoffroad