The city of Grafton is a quiet, old city located on a horseshoe bend of the Clarence River in the Clarence Valley on the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia.  Located some 65 kms from the river’s mouth and populated by approximately 18,500 people, Grafton’s streets are lined with Jacaranda trees and Heritage buildings. 

The city bursts into vibrant colour every spring for the Jacaranda Festival, held either in the last week in October or the first week in November. But while Grafton celebrates the jacaranda, flame and wheel trees, the riverside parks and majestic old buildings are also major contributors to the city’s distinctive character and charm. Among the most interesting of the National Trust-protected buildings include Shaeffer House which is home to the district historical society, Prentice House, which guards one of the best regional art collections in Australia, the courthouse, Christ Church Cathedral and the forbidding Grafton jail.

The beautiful purple-flowering jacaranda trees are an integral part of the image of Grafton, and their flowering is celebrated in the famous annual Jacaranda Festival.   As I write, there are still many flowers on the Jacaranda trees however, the main spectacular show is well past it’s best.

The city (to us it seems more like a town the size of Lytham St Annes) is also known for its double-decker road/railway bridge, opened in 1932, completing the standard gauge rail connection between Sydney and Brisbane, and also forming a vital link for the Pacific Highway. This bridge is a one of a kind and is a major feature on the Clarence River in Grafton.