Wednesday, June 1, 2011

getting out of the big smoke...

Don’t you love a fun weekend away with the girls? Me too. Myself and 4 other pals went down to beautiful Maclean in Northern NSW for the weekend and what a cracker!

For those of who don’t know the town. Maclean is a little Scottish town past Ballina and right next door to Yamba on the coastline of Northern NSW. It’s about 3 hours from Brissie and is a typical sleepy, close knit, cute and friendly little town. It sits along the Clarence river and provides host to spectacular views and offers 100% serenity.

My oldest friend C and I grew up together from the wee age of 0 and are still the closest of friends as are our brothers and parents. Her Grandfather lived in Maclean and as kids both families would go down to this little house every Easter. Going to Grandpa’s was the We loved it and all have awesome memories. Grandpa is now with the stars but his darling home is still as it was 20 years ago right down to the kettle, mid century lounge and fluffy warm carpet.

The balcony overlooks the expanse of the mighty Clarence River which the men in the fam have fished on a gazillion times over the years. It’s truly a piece of heaven.

After arriving at nearly 10pm Friday night, we all needed a wind down and went to bed late. The energetic one’s hit Yamba for a walk on the water and myself and the other two admired a stunning blue sky and sparkling river. Grafton is a half hour drive south of Maclean which is where we spent most of Saturday. I loved this red phone booth outside the Court House. There's no phone it now but it's problem made many phone calls of varying emotions.
Grafton is a sweet little town too. Not sweet like Maclean, but sweet. Sissy’s is the place to visit. Kerrie who is ‘Sissy’ has a great antique store (and a shed out the back packed to the rafters ... literally!) The last time I was there I picked up the Art Deco light shade that hangs in our lounge room. This time I was mesmerized with the fabulous hats a local girl creates. Hats that would fetch a few hundred in Brisbane she sells for much less. Majority of the hats are vintage with a tweak or addition of a modern twist. I’m an idiot and deleted the pic’s I took of some, but this is her business card.

If you have an old hat which is out of shape or needs something added – call her. She's a clever one!

On the way from Grafton to Maclean, we stopped in at the Commercial Hotel in Ulmarra for a pub lunch.
Great food. Incredible view. Excellent Service.
That's a sterile description, i'll do that again. The Commercial at Ulmarra is a superb spot to revell in a meal and an icy cold schooner of beer whilst overlooking this

…and then have a cheeky punt on the races with the locals while an open fire roars. I won $5.25. I bet big.  We all would've happilly perched up and whiled away the arvo at this place. I look forward to visiting it again.
We meandered down the street and checked out a book store with floor to ceiling books all in rows. It reminded me of the library scene in Ghostbusters minus the ghost. The drive between Maclean and Grafton is so very pretty that I found myself pleasantly smiling at what I saw. It’s refreshing to overlook fields of sugarcane, houses dotted along a calm and shimmering river, cattle lounging under large trees. Everything looks like a photo opportunity. Worn timber and aged homesteads.

Breakfast at the Caperberry in Yamba was to die for!
This was C & K’s. Yum. It was muesli and berries and yoghurt ... I had pancakes and L and F had  something with haloumi in it. Outstanding to say the least, and they make a fine brew too (coffee that is ...)
A chocolate store just down the road with booth’s for old school milkshakes was the last stop and then we were on the road.

We all needed longer. The air is fresh, the scenery calming, the company hilarious. There's something to be said about getting out of the big smoke with the girls.


  1. Nothing beats old friends and laughter. Does Maclean still have the tartan painted power poles?
    I have been to Iluka quite a few times which is nearby, and the whole area is just beautiful. $5.25 what to do, what to do??

  2. So fun! Just what you needed. I must remember to visit, we love ballina and this sounds even better. Xx Katherine