Longitude: 153.351972 Latitude: -29.408445
Metres above Sea Level: 7.9 m
Area: 13.0 km² Perimeter: 18.4 km
View Iluka’s Statistics & Demographics
Exiting the Pacific Highway onto Iluka Road, the journey delights with the most magnificent and varied sceneries for the 18 km drive to Iluka in New South Wales.
The small seaside village of Iluka is located on a peninsula bestowing views of the mighty Clarence River as it winds its way to the permanent, man-made opening into the ocean . . .
This quaint township maintains a warm, village feel – whilst sporting a number of shopping strips. The fishing co-op offers delicious, fresh fish whilst a variety of shops provide a diversity of products and produce.
The Clarence River foreshore is lined with parks, gardens and walkways overlooking marinas, jetties, river training walls, breakwaters, and the township Yamba in the distance. A ferry service connects the two ‘Clarence Heads’ towns. The surf beach is located a mere kilometre or so away.
The ‘Bundjalong National Park’ envelopes the coast and beaches just north of the ‘World Heritage Iluka Nature Reserve’, providing access to the beautiful beaches and even some locales for camping. In fact, the entire area is an absolute haven for nature and water lovers alike . . .
The waters of the river are just perfect for all manner of sports, from boating to kayaking; water skiing to sailing and fishing. Children will delight in the large sandy peninsulas stretching into the river waters – splashing in the shallows coves – providing a relative safe haven to play in the crystal clear waters . . .
On the other hand, the surf beaches are popular for surfing, fishing, body boarding and all manner of surf pursuits.
As for for those who love walking or hiking – the possibilities are endless . . . Whether one prefers walking along the beaches, investigating the rocky outcrops, enjoying views from the cliff tops, strolling along the ‘Clarence River Walk’ or hiking through the ‘Iluka Nature Reserve’, just to name a few . . . – all will delight !!!
Iluka’s history is directly related to the ‘training’ of the mighty Clarence River.
The earliest use of the river was to access the beautiful Australian Red Cedar . . . The schooner ‘Susan’ was the first to transport cedar from the Clarence River to Sydney in 1838. She continued until she was wrecked in 1850 – after successfully completing some 115 trips. Many schooners were to join the run.
The first steamship, the ‘King William IV’ arrived on the 25th May 1839.
As the cargoes and population increased – so did the river and ocean going traffic . . . The problem of the dangerous entrance into the Clarence River threatened the water highways. The combination of the bar, the reef and the north spit (Iluka Beach) claimed 17 ships in the period from 1850 to 1896 – even with the services of the Yamba based pilots.
Hence the motivation to ‘train’ the river . . .
Works commenced on the southern side (Yamba) in 1862.
In the May of 1862, the Surveyor General, Alister Mclean, visited the Clarence to lay out the villages of Rocky Mouth (later to become the township of Mclean) and Iluka – Iluka being the Aboriginal term for “by the sea”.
Works on the northern side of the Clarence (Iluka) commenced in 1875, which essentially was the birth of the township. The rock for the breakwall was obtained from the Iluka Bluff, and transported via railway to the site.
In the early 20th century, the Clarence River was described as:
The river is a magnificent stream some 190 miles long, with the following chief tributaries Orara, 80 miles; Nymbolda, 110 miles, Timbara, 95 miles on the right, and the Mann, 90 miles on the left. Rightly, the Clarence should be called “The River of Islands,” for no fewer than 98 are completely surrounded by its waters. Some are very small, while others are of vast extent, and are closely settled by farmers . . . “
” . . . Luxurious coastal steamers ply regularly between the town and Sydney. Leaving Grafton in a river boat the trip to the sea is one that should delight any tourist. On each side of the river the farms come down to the water’s edge. Here and there can be seen the old farm houses of the early settlers, while in contract stand further back the up-to-date homes of the present tillers of the soil . . . “
” . . . Naturally, Maclean is the prettiest town on the river, but might little has been done by human hands. Every knoll around the place reveals a scene worthy of an artist’s brush. For hours upon hours one could stand and gaze upon the windings of the noble river, with its shores dotted with rich farms. Eighteen miles from the town by water is Yamba, a noted seaside resort, situated at the entrance of the river. On the other headland is Iluka, also a watering place. In the season thousands visit both places . . . “
Source: Excerpts – Clarence & Richmond Examiner – Article “Clarence River District – An Historical Review” – published 21st March 1914
Today, Iluka retains a seaside village atmosphere enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. Lodging options for tourists are plentiful – from Caravan Parks, Hotels, Motels, to the more intimate B&B’s, Holiday Lets and so forth.
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