Grafton turns purple in the spring, when more than 6,500 jacaranda trees burst into bloom. Planted in the 1870's, the trees line the avenues and parks of Grafton, located on the Clarence River in New South Wales. A list of things to do during a Grafton travel experience is extensive -- Grafton is surrounded by some of the most breath-taking natural areas -- but a good place to start is with those famous jacaranda trees.
Held each year in the last week of October, when the blooms are most spectacular, the festival celebrates with a parade, music, art and children's activities. From a formal ball to the Crazy Day Retail Sale, the festival has something for everyone.
Jacaranda Dragon Boat Races
Head toward the Clarence River on the first weekend of the Jacaranda Festival to see rowers propel colorful dragon-shaped boats in a race that is the largest in New South Wales.
Clarence River Jockey Club
If horse racing gets your blood pounding, be sure to visit the Grafton racetrack, known as the country-racing capital of Australia. The club's July Racing Carnival draws some 30,000 spectators to races such as the country's premier bush sprint.
Make It, Bake It or Grow It Produce Market
Organic fruits and vegetables, home-baked goods and preserves are just a few of the foods available at the produce market. It's held each Thursday from May through January at the Christ Church Cathedral.
Chaelundi National Park
Drive, hike or bike through the magnificent scenery of this park near Grafton. Visitors can explore gorges and waterfalls with the opportunity to see wildlife such as rock wallabies. History abounds; Aboriginal artifacts and old gold-mining sites can be found along the trails.
Get in touch with nature during your Grafton travel trip by booking a wildlife tour with the Birdrangers, a company that provides both full-day tours with hotel pick-up from Grafton and self-drive trips with guides. View diverse habitat from the Pacific beaches to the rain forests of the Great Dividing Range and see birds, marsupials and aquatic animals.
Grafton Heritage Trail
Pick up a brochure listing 25 historical sites in the city and wander past Victorian and Edwardian buildings. Many of them, such as Grafton Gaol and Christ Church Cathedral, are on the National Trust. Brochures are available at the Clarence River Visitor Information Center.
Clock Tower Gallery
Find your next treasure at this gallery filled with work by local artisans, including wood, leather and paintings. The gallery is located at the visitor center. Gallery members hold a market day on the first Saturday of each month except January.
Afternoon at the Proms
Show tunes and favorites from the London Proms are on the program for this performance by Clarence Valley Orchestra Chorus. Tickets sell quickly for the November 1 event, so it's best to book early by calling the Saraton Theater in Grafton.
Fay Boyd's Fine Art School
Delve into your creative side by taking a class at this boutique art school. Leading Australian tutors teach the workshops and encourage exploration of each student's chosen visual arts medium. Workshops are held in September.