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Taking a road trip around the Clarence

As we slowly emerge out of our Covid-19 lock down and back into life, what can we do to occupy our weekends now that all the odd jobs around the house have been done.

It’s time to take a break, pack up a picnic and go for a drive to some of the many beautiful spots around the Clarence Valley.

Before you head off why not call in to the Grafton Regional Gallery at 158 Fitzroy Street, Grafton and pick up a map of the Clarence Valley from the Clarence Valley Visitor Information Centre.

Six months ago, over half of the Clarence Valley was ravaged by the bushfires. The rains which followed on from the fires, have helped to regenerate the countryside and bring new life and hope to the small villages and communities that were impacted.

As we move forward, we need to get out and support these communities by stopping off in these villages and talk with the locals. You can grab a counter lunch at a pub, purchase some fuel, grab a coffee or a fresh loaf of bread and let them know that they are not forgotten.

The village of Nymboida which is around 40 kilometres south of Grafton, was greatly impacted by the Liberation Trail Fire.

Taking a drive down through Coutts Crossing you’ll see where the fire stopped just short of entering Coutts (on the southern side of the town). Travelling south-west from Coutts to Nymboida you will see the new regrowth on charred trees with the hillsides starting to regenerate after being decimated by the inferno. There is still plenty around to indicate just how intense this fire was.

Drop into the Nymboida Camping and Canoe Centre office and pick up an ice-cream or drink and have a chat to find out first-hand about the fire. You can also check out the nearby Nymboida Power Station which is close by the Canoe Centre.

As you enter the Nymboida village, turn right at Glens Greek Road and head north towards Glens Crossing. This road which starts off as tar, turns into a dirt road, which has recently been graded and is not too bad to drive in the average car, as long as you take it slowly.

Turn right at Glens Creek onto the Old Glen Innes Road heading back towards Grafton, crossing Obx Creek, Chambigne and travelling over the historic truss Bawden Bridge, on the Orara River, which was built in 1874.

The Old Glen Innes Road is narrow in a lot of places and there are a few pot holes (at the time of writing this), so just drive to the conditions. The old church and homestead on the left at Chambigne, are reminders of bygone days and provide a great photo opportunity – if you can pull off the road safely to capture them.

The old Glen Innes Road will eventually bring you to the Gwydir Highway at Waterview Heights, where you can turn right back to Grafton.

This drive will give you a glimpse into the extent of just how bad and extensive this fire was and the communities which were, and still are, impacted by them.