Calm at Clarence Head
  |  First Published: December 2010

Situated on the eastern side of the small town of Iluka on the northern banks of the mighty Clarence River is the compact but well appointed Clarence Head Caravan Park and Camp Grounds. It has wide appeal with quiet and comfortable features to enjoy a seaside holiday out of the hustle and bustle.

The emphasis at Clarence Head Park is to supply a quality holiday camping experience for young and old with sites neatly allocated across its 1.8ha grassland.

Tucked unobtrusively into its World Heritage listed rainforest surrounds, the park gives surprisingly easy access to town features. The park is located at 113 Charles Street Iluka, which is the main road leading east from the business centre and leading to the Iluka Beach and Clarence North Wall. The renowned fisheries co-op, The Sedgers Reef hotel and Iluka Bowling Club (both offering delicious meals) and other popular retail outlets are all within walking distance.

And the boat ramp is a couple of hundred metres away.

The camping ground is the closest to the fabulous Iluka Beach and the Clarence River’s north retaining wall, which makes a visit to either for a fish at prime times a three or four minute drive on a very quiet road.

Visitors to Clarence Head can opt to select a powered or unpowered camp site (all are quite spacious) for their tent, camper trailer or caravan, or simply hire any of the existing accommodation of very well appointed thoroughly modern self contained units with TV and all modern conveniences. Camp sites bordering the beautiful rainforest are very popular and may need to booked well in advance.

The principal emphasis by management is that of friendly service and security for visitors and at great rates: a theme that should receive plenty of acclaim these days. Visitors will also appreciate the handy camp kitchen for all to use plus the amenities are kept spotless and in a very good condition at all times.

Main attractions

The town of Iluka caters for visitors in ample form.

Along with the previously mentioned Bowls Club and Hotel there is also a well designed golf links on the outskirts of town. There are well stocked bait and tackle outlets, a medical centre and pharmacy, fuel and marine dealerships, comprehensive food and general stores (including excellent take away food outlets) great bakers, a butcher shop plus virtually everything one might need when living away from home.

For those that like to get back to nature there are walks through the beautiful Iluka Nature reserve where everything from scrub turkeys, wallabies to emus can be encountered within the rainforest.

The Fishing

It’s hard to visit Iluka and not wet a line. One can walk to the Clarence River from the Clarence Head camp grounds (around 75m away) and catch a bream, flathead or some gar from within the adjacent Iluka Boat Harbour.

Boat owners can launch and fish the extensive Clarence River training walls or head out to sea in a suitable craft in the right conditions. Beach fishing at the nearby Iluka Beach can yield anything from a mulloway to a dart or whiting, with plenty of bream and tailor on the side, depending on sea conditions and gutter formation. Beach worms are also in plentiful supply here.

The north wall of the Clarence is very popular with anglers at this time of year with the keen rock hoppers trying for whiting and dart just inside the break, bream and tailor behind it, and mulloway virtually anywhere in the deeper water. Fast moving pelagics such as spotty mackerel and tuna are also available for the dedicated with their buckets of live baits, aerators, and balloons to swim the livies out away from the wall.

If live baiting for the big stuff off the sea wall is your caper make sure you take the long gaff! Hooking a big tuna and playing him out on the wall is hard enough without trying to walk him back 400m to the beach as well.

Other rock fishing hot spots nearby take the form of the Little Bluff and Main Bluff where anything from tailor to tuna are again on the cards depending upon sea conditions and bait quality. Lure fishing with heavy spin tackle is very popular at these locations.

Getting There

Iluka is well signed on the Pacific Highway around 30 minutes drive south of Woodburn when heading south: around 10 minutes drive north of the second crossing on the Clarence River if heading north. The turn off is on the eastern side of the M1.

Travelling east, then south on the main Iluka Road will see rainforest surrounds giving way to housing with a major intersection of Charles Street looming before long. A turn left into Charles Street will see the Clarence Head Caravan Park and camp grounds at Number 113 soon in sight.

The Clarence Head Office also doubles as a news agency and general store which allows visitors to purchase a lot of items on site, plus take care of ice and gas requirements with ease.

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