Clarence River Trip

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Sun 17 Apr 2016 22:57
Clarence River Ferry Trip
Bear suggested we go on the Clarence River Ferry Trip complete with local band. Great, at least today we will know where the ferry goes from and arrive in plenty of time, so much in fact, we had a cup of cappuccino in the cafe at the dock. All aboard, Michael (owner and todays skipper) eased us off the jetty and soon we were treated to so many birds lined up on the wall in front of the Scout Hut, then past our anchorage to get into deeper water, effectively a big u-turn.
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Quite a beast out for a Sunday drive. We met Sweet Pea, totally solar powered.
We settled upstairs and took in the beauty of the river. 
The Clarence River (Aboriginal: Breimba or Berrinbah), a mature wave dominated, barrier estuary, which is situated in the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales. The river rises on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range, in the Border Ranges west of Bonalbo, near Rivertree at the junction of Koreelah Creek and Maryland River, on the watershed that marks the border between New South Wales and Queensland. The river flows generally south, south east and north east, joined by twenty-four tributaries including the Tooloom Creek and the Mann, Nymboida, Cataract, Orara, Coldstream, Timbarra, and Esk rivers. The river reaches its mouth at its confluence with the Coral Sea in the South Pacific Ocean, between Iluka and Yamba; descending 256 metres (840 feet) over the course of its 394 kilometres (245 miles) length.

On its journey it passes through the towns of Tabulam and Grafton, and the towns of Ulmarra, and Maclean. The river features many large river islands, including Woodford, Chatsworth, Ashby, Warregah and Harwood islands; and Susan Island Nature Reserve. The river supports a large prawn trawling and fishing industry.

The Clarence River system is an extensive east coast drainage with many tributaries of differing size. Apart from the Murray River, it is the largest river in mainland Australia south of the Tropic of Capricorn, though its flow for comparison is only half that of the Potomac. Its basin is, together with the very similarly-sized Hawkesbury, Australia's largest Pacific watershed south of Bundaberg. The extremely intense rainfalls that typify the North Coast mean, however, that major floods can temporarily raise the flow of the Clarence to levels equivalent to some of the largest rivers in the world.




Around the first bend were some heavy-duty working girls.





As we went by, Tom looked quite lovely. Tom hasn’t moved in a long while and is sadly well on the way to being a one careful owner. Registered in Avatiu, Vanuatu, we loved the dining arrangement with plastic chairs amidships.





Next, a platform, one of two used to lay pipes across the river, she is awaiting being dismantled and put into shipping containers, her partner has already gone. 



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A lovely white house, a little group of kangaroos was a nice surprise.....we never tire of seeing them.



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Posh and not so posh.





Modern. We recalled house watching in Florida along the riverbank.





Further on, we saw this sign and thought it ‘a bit harsh’.





Another set of abandoned ladies. Sad waste.





A dry dock opposite – Michael told us that it was being repaired.





The slipway next door which should be capable of taking vessels up to 5,000 tons was also being repaired as the previous rebuild , not that long ago, had fallen to pieces. Boats now have to go to Brisbane until the concrete and reinforcement have been done.



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Meanwhile, downstairs, the duo sung some good songs, sadly, the crowd wasn’t up to much – last Sunday there were seventy passengers. The ferry runs seven days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day between Yamba and Iluka. A minimum of four return journeys on Wednesday on Friday, five on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, four plus this river trip on a Sundays. This lady, Mirigini is forty two years old and still going strong. The bridge came into view.





The Harwood Bridge is a steel truss bridge which carries the over the Clarence River.


It crosses the main channel of the Clarence River, about 10 km upstream from the river mouth, and 46 km by road from Grafton. It is located 6 km from the town of Maclean at the village of Harwood Island, from where the Highway crosses the Serpentine Channel onto Chatsworth Island then finally crosses the North Channel of the Clarence River via the Mororo Bridge (also a steel truss bridge) to the northern bank. The Harwood Bridge was completed in August 1966, and replaced the last ferry crossing on the state highway system of New South Wales, Australia. Prior to the opening of the bridge, the river crossing was provided by three cable-guided ferries operating in parallel.The bridge has a total length of 888 m, consisting of seven steel truss spans of 43.1 m length and twenty-seven steel girder approach spans. The deck carries two lanes of traffic and a footway. One of the steel truss spans is a vertical-lift span, which allows ships to navigate the Clarence River. However, this now occurs infrequently. The Harwood Bridge forms part of a bypass of the town of Maclean and the village of Harwood. It is the longest, and last, in a series of steel truss bridges of a standard design built by the then-Department of Main Roads during the 1950’s and 1960’s, chiefly across the wide coastal rivers of New South Wales, and mostly on the Pacific Highway. Bridges of the same design were built on the Pacific Highway across the Hunter River at Hexham (1952), the South Channel of the Hunter River at Mayfield (1965, demolished 2009), the Karuah River at Karuah (1957), the Wollamba River as part of the Nabiac bypass (1958, demolished 2004), the Hastings River as part of the Port Macquarie bypass (1961), and the Macleay River at Kempsey (1959).





A u-turn with a view and back we went.





Nearing the end of our trip a racier sort of Sunday activity.



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Bear chatting to Michael. A bottle of Jacob’s Creek fizz, a real treat.