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Escape to Iluka

Home > Gold Coast > Outdoor | Escape the City | Beaches
by Chloe Doyle (subscribe)
Twenty-six year old girl living in Noosa, QLD. I am in love with nature, music, food and animals so you'll see a lot of that here 🌿 See @chloeoliviad on Instagram for more photos from where I've adventured. 🚐⛰
Published January 5th 2014
A small seaside town with a lot of bite
Aerial view of Iluka
An aerial view of Iluka
Image appears courtesy of Iluka Chamber of Commerce

We departed on the 28th December 2013. It was a warm summers Saturday and we had a three hour drive to one of the most serene, captivating and exciting places to stay for a Aussie holiday. Iluka is a small village of no more than 2000 people which is located at the mouth of the Clarence River. If you're familiar with Yamba a resort town, Iluka is directly across the river. It has everything there. For 5 days we stayed in a caravan park called Riverside. It was much more than just a place to rest your head, the locals and other holidaymakers were all welcoming and best of all didn't mind a bit of noise when it came to New Year's celebrations!

Iluka has some of the best beaches for surfing, swimming, snorkeling & body boarding you could ever come across. The beaches to know is the main swimming beach, "Iluka Beach", the patrolled "Bluff", a local hot spot for surfers and snorkelers known as 'Frazers Reef'. These beaches are a short 5-10 minute drive from Riverside, however if you want something closer there is a netted 'Shark Bay' which doesn't sound as intimidating as you may think. The surrounding boats, kayaks and jet skis make it a prime swimming pool for the faint of heart when it comes to the ocean.

These aren't the only water sports on display in Iluka. With most of the holiday goers staying by the Clarence river, there is a numerous amount of paddle boarders, wake boarders, knee boarders and many more. On the fourth day of staying down in Iluka, I decided it was finally time to have a go at wake boarding. After feeling seasick and realising a very cold but refreshing dip would make me feel better I decided it was better to be in the water than on a rocky boat.

Wake boarding was one of the funniest experiences I've ever had. Keep in mind, I didn't know this unfortunately; you go faster than you can expect and it hurts when you fall. But to stand and see the mouth of such a stunning river and your friends in a boat laughing at your facial expressions is priceless.

Iluka Beach
A surfer at the main beach in Iluka
Image appears courtesy of Scott Maxworthy via Flickr

Obviously where ever there is an ocean or river we can imagine there would be a bountiful of fish, crabs and other sea life. Iluka is no exception! The fishing is incredible, however, if you're not from NSW or unaware of their agriculture, you need a license to fish and keep your catch. In five days we caught 56 Bream, 18 Mullet, 12 Mud crabs and 1 shark all along the Clarence river and off the rocky shores.

Although Iluka is a seaside town, there are some activities that don't require you to get your feet wet. If food takes your fancy, there is the Sedgers Reef Hotel, a local pub which does a mighty Reef and Beef and one of the best chicken burgers I've ever had in my life. There is also a bowls club, and plenty of foreign delicacy take away & eat in stores to feed your empty stomach after an activity packed day. The town offers some retail stores if you feel like a bit of retail therapy. There is a small surf store by the marina, plus also all the local owned stores close to everything - jewellery, boutiques, hand-made clothing, books and much more.

Overall my stay was in anticipation for one night, New Year's Eve. I thought for such a small town and for the fact it's not very well known, I had assumed the celebrations for New Years would not be as extravagant as somewhere like South Bank or Sydney Harbour. How I was mistaken! A New Year's in Iluka offers two sets of amazing fireworks, both can be seen from Shark Bay. I was in for a treat as well, as with the time difference, there may have been some other Queenslanders amongst us, as at 1am in Iluka- which is midnight in QLD, we were delivered a spectacle of fireworks, flares and flashlight shows all over the bay area.

Iluka was one of the most amazing and simple holidays I have ever been on. For such a small town it packs a serious punch of excitement, adrenaline, beauty and bounty. If anyone ever asks where Iluka is, I'm sure I will be like the locals confused and trying to protect such an amazing little town. But a New Year's experience with one's family is a must in Iluka, for anyone.
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Why? An amazing little town with a big heart
When: All year around
Phone: 02 6646 6060
Where: Iluka, NSW
Cost: Refer to website
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