Tag Archives: Cycling from Coffs Harbour to Yamba

Coffs Harbour to Yamba – A Beautiful 2-Day Ride (150 km)

Coffs Harbour on a Sunday morning.
Coffs Harbour on a Sunday morning.

We decided to take the direct route to Grafton along the Omara Way rather than hug the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway. We’re very happy with our decision as the two- day ride was a change of scenery and terrain with wide-open vistas, hills and valleys,  and small towns catering to Sunday tourists with cafes, brick oven pizzas, cold beers and plenty of sunshine.

The climb out of Coffs Harbour is fairly steep but after that climb, the rest of the day is filled with gentle rolling hills and lots of flats. If you’re lucky, like we were, you’ll also have a nice tail wind to push you along.

A great lunch stop is the small town of Glennreagh. We enjoyed a picnic along the river at the Lion’s Club Park but the tavern was hopping with motorcycles and other Sunday tourists.

Getting a photo with the dingo in front of the Glennreagh Tavern seemed to be a popular thing to do.
Getting a photo with the dingo in front of the Glennreagh Tavern seemed to be a popular thing to do.

After Glennreagh, the road degenerated but the traffic was also less so it didn’t seem too bad.

The bridge across the Clarence River is VERY narrow but just before the bridge (it’s unmarked) we found a pedestrian/cycle path on the left path attached to the railroad bridge below the car bridge.

The cycle/pedestrian path attached to the railroad bridge beneath the car bridge. (There were no signs and it took us awhile to find it.)
The cycle/pedestrian path attached to the railroad bridge beneath the car bridge. (There were no signs and it took us awhile to find it.)

Grafton is known for it’s Jacaranda Festival in the spring with lots of tree-lined streets in full purple bloom. It also hosts the July Racing Carnival where  women wear fancy hats just like Ascot in England.

We were pleasantly surprised with Tourist Drive #22 leaving Grafton. Although the road is in poor condition, it is flat with little traffic which gave us ample opportunity to appreciate the grazing cattle, sugar cane farms and widest river in Australia, the Clarence.

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Tourist Route #22 took us along the one-lane River Road just south of Lawrence.

On this road we cycled past a farm selling macadamia nuts so we stopped and bought a kilogram.

We probably would have gotten more use out of the lemons as macadamia nuts are hard to crack.
We probably would have gotten more use out of the lemons as macadamia nuts are hard to crack.

After lunch at the Lawrence Tavern, we headed north to catch the ferry.

Aside from the beautiful river, the best part of the Lawrence Ferry is that it's free.
Aside from the beautiful river, the best part of the Lawrence Ferry is that it’s free.

My favorite part of the ride were the 10 kilometers between the ferry and McLean. The road meanders along the river with great views.

Entering the very Scottish town of McLean.
Entering the very Scottish town of McLean.

Everything about this town appears to be Scottish from the store fronts, to the banners to the plaid patterns painted on all the telephone poles. A picnicking family even used a plaid wool blanket for their tablecloth.

Plaid painted on telephone poles along with Scottish surnames.
Plaid painted on telephone poles along with Scottish surnames.

The last 10 kilometers into Yamba were nerve-wracking due to tiny roads and lots of traffic. But, the scene from our campground took all the stress away.

The colors of the setting sun from the Blue Dolphin Caravan park in Yamba.
The colors of the setting sun from the Blue Dolphin Caravan park in Yamba.