Grafton is just a 30-minute drive from the New South Wales coast in your rental car. Close to coastal towns such as Coffs Harbour and over half a dozen national parks, Grafton has so many driving locations; you'll never be short on activities to do or places to drive.
The Grafton CBD is a 17-minute drive from the Grafton Airport; once there, you will immediately notice the heritage architecture of the town. Grafton has done a fantastic job protecting its heritage and has many national buildings to enjoy. The city is split in two, with Grafton on the north and South Grafton below it, with the Clarence River running between the two. There are many pleasant river walks in Grafton along the Clarence River and then into town. Arrive at the right blooming time, and you will see the city's famous Jacaranda trees in all their shades of purple (October-December).
In this area of the world, with so many national parks and untouched and unspoilt wilderness, it would be a shame to not drive out of Grafton and take in some nature. One of the best nature drives on the planet is Waterfall Way. Close by to Grafton is Coffs Harbour, the start of the Waterfall Way Drive. The drive extends across five national parks, through to the Cathedral city in Armidale. The drive from Grafton to Coffs Harbour is under an hour, and the Waterfall Way drive can be completed in just a few hours, but given how beautiful the scenery is, you will want to spend the whole day enjoying the stops. You will see Dorrigo National Park, filled with spectacular walking trails right outside the car park, a number of small regional towns and of course, waterfalls. The route of Waterfall Way can be found online, everybody has different recommended stops along the way, so where you choose to stop is up to you and your rental car.
Grafton is filled with heritage sites and quiet places to enjoy. The city has a calm and relaxed feel, perfect for getting away from the city. Take your car around to the many heritage sites on a self-driving tour. See locations such as the Schaefer House Museum, The Christ Church Cathedral, the Grafton Regional Gallery, Saraton Theatre and Grafton Gaol. Taking in all these sites is a full-day experience. Along with all these wonderful sites is the excellent food and boutique shopping that Grafton offers. Take Grafton at a nice easy pace; it's best when you soak in the atmosphere.
There are many more national parks to enjoy beyond those that you will drive through on Waterfall Way. Grafton is a gateway to many fantastic locations and national parks, each with its own activities, unique flora and fauna and animals. We will focus on one, just 30 minutes from the airport in Grafton, the Yuraygir National Park. If you are in the mood for coastal walks, this park is a must. Covering a long stretch of coastline with rocky cliffs, inlets, beaches, lakes, and bordered by untouched forest, Yuraygir National Park is the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in all of New South Wales. With no signs of the outside world, it can feel like you're a million miles away. Stop off at the small villages, and enjoy the coastal walks. Other national parks in the region that are easily accessible by car are the Nymboida National Park, Guy Fawkes River National Park and Washpool National Park. Within all these parks you can see kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, hundreds of species of bird, and a wide range of flora and fauna.