I first enjoyed a stay in the Iluka Riverside Tourist Park, located right in the heart of the beautiful coastal town of Iluka in northern NSW, back in the mid 1960’s.
The Iluka Caravan Park, as it was then known, was virtually the only one in town and was a very laid back affair. The town, in those days, had one general store opposite the camping grounds, a garage, plus perhaps one or two other retail outlets.
The place was, and remains to this day, surrounded by some of the best fishing available thanks to the presence of the mighty Clarence River, which offers great river fishing for everything from jew to whiting. Within fifteen minute’s drive from town, there is a mix of very accessible beach and rock fishing thrown in as well
Iluka is bill boarded on the highway turn off as a Fisherman’s Paradise and very few anglers having spent time at the place dispute the claim.
Back in the 60s the Iluka Caravan Park was a tree filled place with plenty of grass plus access to the Clarence River on the southern side.
These days the well laid out Iluka Riverside Tourist Park has greatly increased in size with a corresponding increase in sites while the single toilet/amenities block has become several units throughout the Park. What’s more there are also additional features in the form of a camp kitchen, riverside barbeques and a children’s playground. And camping has moved on from tents and caravans to cabins and well-appointed riverside villas for hire. Ample campsites are still there of course, with a choice of either powered or unpowered, with plenty of concrete pads for caravans to fulfil all needs.
But let me add that the grassed areas seem even better, trees even more shaded and river access for the shore based angler seems to be even better thanks to roads, pathways and the like along the foreshore. There are even campsites right next to the Clarence River these days where the camper can watch the sun set across the wide expanse of river.
Access to the main shopping complex of Iluka involves nothing more than a walk across adjoining Young Street where a large number of retail outlets involve a short walk and this will also allow access to the town’s medical centre and other various retail outlets.
There are several bait and tackle stores in town, plus outboard sales/service outlets and garages for fuel.
For an interesting family day out, a trip to Yamba across the Clarence River on the ferry, which comes in to a landing next to the, Park will see the visitor enjoying cafes, restaurants and a great shopping experience after an enjoyable boat ride.
Other popular Iluka pastimes are a visit to the fishing Co-Op, the art galleries, a game of golf or bowls, a look at the world heritage listed rain forest reserves nearby or perhaps just having a relaxed fish in the river. On that topic the Park’s pontoon makes an ideal place to teach youngsters to fish in complete safety. Boat owners will also appreciate the Park’s private boat ramp with adjoining fish cleaning tables.
Good as all these diversions are most people go to Iluka for the fishing. While it’s not hard to catch a bream, possibly a flathead from the river wall of the Riverside Tourist Park, the more adventurous angler will find plenty of really good fishing not far from base.
The Tourist Park is located at the corner of Charles Street and Young Street. A drive up Charles Street with rods on the racks will offer access to the north wall of the Clarence River where jew, tailor, luderick and bream are the selected targets of the angler.
The adjoining Main Beach to the north offers excellent beach fishing in the many gutters and holes while further north again the Two Bluffs and Woody Head headland offer great rock fishing when sea conditions are suitable.
Beach fishing along the wide expanse of Shark Bay through the Bundjalong National Park on the northern outskirts of town is also on the agenda for the four wheel drive owner who has obtained an access permit from the National Park’s Office at Woody Head.
But above all, don’t overlook the fact that the river walls right behind the Park still offer excellent fishing.
Iluka is around 300km south of Brisbane and 670km north of Sydney. When heading south the turn off (to the east) is around 30 minute’s drive from the town of Woodburn and easily located. Northbound from Maclean or Yamba the turn off is around 5 minutes from the river crossing and again well sign posted. Around 15 minute’s drive will see the car arriving in town with a right turn into Charles Street putting the vehicle right outside the entrance to the Tourist Park.
The managers are Lynne and Mal, friendly people who take pleasure in introducing visitors to the charm and laid back atmosphere of Iluka. Contact information is phone (02) 6646 6060 or on the net at --e-mail address hidden-- .Reads: 6650