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Clarence River Wilderness Lodge, NSW: 4x4 travel guide

By Matthew & Lucy Eaton, 15 Jun 2019 NSW

Clarence River Wilderness Lodge NSW 4x4 travel guide feature

On the headwaters of the upper Clarence River is a quiet private property nestled in the rugged Great Dividing Range...and it packs a punch!

IF YOU’RE looking for some peace and quiet, then you can’t go past this place. The Clarence River Wilderness Lodge is a 40km² property with rugged, mountainous landscapes of river-crafted beauty, which is all bundled up for you to explore. Who would have thought such a pristine property could exist in northern NSW?

The property is roughly three hours’ drive from Brisbane via the Mount Lindesay Highway through Woodenbong and Urbenville. The turn-off to Paddys Flat Road is just after Tooloom, and you follow this road for 24km to reach the gate of the property. It’s a further 7km of rough track to the homestead, where you will need to sign in.

There are a few different options offered by the Clarence River Wilderness Lodge, from open, flat campsites with facilities, to a couple of secluded sites. Camping may not be everyone’s cup of tea so there are glamping options, too, with tree huts, cabins and bell tents available.

The property prides itself on being eco-friendly, with solar power, regulated water use, bush regeneration and minimal impact policies all part of your stay. There are stand-up paddleboards and canoes available for hire, as well as snorkel gear and gold pans that are free to use. This provides hours of fun for the entire family, and if you’re up early enough you might be lucky enough to spot the resident platypus.

The area has some great four-wheel drive tracks. They’re mainly old forestry tracks, but they come with their challenges as they have become very steep and rutted in sections. However, the track’s rocky base provides a lot of grip and a whole lot of white-knuckle fun.

The old Phone Tower Track from Nugget Flat provides some pretty good views before linking back up with the main road again. A good spot to chill is at Sunset Lookout, with tables and chairs set beneath a large shady tree for you to enjoy the view.

Another track requires a key for a locked gate, so ensure you ask for that before venturing out. However, if you’re looking to do more than an hour or two of off-roading, then you can head into the Yabbra State Forest or Levuka 4WD Park, which is just a stone’s throw away.

For history buffs there’s a 4x4 track that leads away from the homestead and down to an old gold mine. Old miners’ huts still stand here; although, time and neglect has visibly taken its toll. A little farther up the hill and past the huts, an ageing, rugged metal structure still stands as a reminder of the region’s mining past – we’re sure it would have some stories to tell if it could talk.

If you’re thinking all of this is too good to be true, then you need to find out for yourself. The Clarence River Wilderness Lodge is a hidden gem, and you’re guaranteed to go home feeling relaxed and refreshed.

What a wonderful world, with 4x4 Explore

Mother Nature's Fury

Owners Sharon and Steve have lived here for more than 30 years and over that time have experienced Mother Nature (fire and floods) at its worst. The worst of the floods took place in 2011, when the water rose so high that it was lapping at the steps of the main house and the floods caused them to be trapped in the property for two weeks. Then, just over 12 months later, bushfires raged through the area.

Travel Planner

WHERE
Clarence River Wilderness Lodge, Paddys Flat, NSW.

CAMPING
$16 per person per night. There are secluded campsites and one main open-plan camping area available.

FACILITIES
Pit toilets and showers.

TRIP STANDARD
It’s a three-hour journey from Brisbane via Woodenbong and Urbenville. There is a dirt road from the turnoff towards the property, and a 7km rough road from the gate to the homestead. 2WD and 4WD access. Suitable for caravans and campers.

CONTACTS AND INFORMATION
Website: www.clarenceriver.com
Phone: (02) 6665 1337
Email: info@clarenceriver.com

RESTRICTIONS AND PERMITS
Bookings are required, No pets permitted.