Iluka is a quaint village at the mouth of the mighty Clarence River on the north-eastern coast of New South Wales, Australia. Situated across the river from the popular resort town of Yamba.
At the 2016 census, Iluka had a population of 1,718 people although the little town is now currently thought to be home to some 2300 people and is growing steadily.
It is accepted that “iluka” is a Yaygir or Bundjalang Aboriginal word meaning “near the sea”.
The area hosts a World Heritage listed littoral rainforest, one of the last remaining littoral rainforests in the Southern Hemisphere containing many different plant species ranging from coastal dune species to tropical rainforest species. The Iluka rainforest has a vast range of native animal species ranging from wallabies and kangaroos to wombats and echidnas.
This little fishing community has many commercial fishing industries, ranging from the oceangoing prawn and whiting trawlers to the river netters and trawlers. The river and beach netters can be seen hauling in mullet during the end of autumn. Iluka is also a popular recreational fishing, water sport, caravan and camping holiday destination drawing generations of families to the area each year.
Inside Iluka Bay is the Clarence River Fishermen’s Co-op which provides a service to the commercial fishermen. The CRFC sells and transports the fresh seafood locally, regionally, nationally and globally. The Iluka Depot consists of a factory, retail shop and a chandlery shop for the fishermen and other consumers.
The town has two clubs and a public hotel, the Iluka Bowling Club, Iluka Golf Club, and the iconic Sedgers Reef Hotel. The bowling club has three bowling greens and is home to The Fig Tree Restaurant.
The golf club has a ten-hole course and a Chinese restaurant.
The Iluka Oval is positioned in the centre of town. It was originally used primarily as a cricket ground, and after Ken Leeson’s help to construct another field, the oval was named the Ken Leeson Oval. It contains two cricket pitches, synthetic and turf, two tennis courts, a netball/ basketball court and a soccer/rugby union field.
Competitive sport includes cricket, ‘The Cossacks’ rugby union side, soccer clubs, a netball team, and the Iluka Board Riders Club holds monthly competitions.
There is a regular daily ferry service across to Yamba which also includes cruises up the Clarence River. There are also river cruises to Harwood Island on Wednesdays and Fridays. Contact Clarence River Ferries on (02) 6646 6423 or 0408 664 556 for details of departure times or check out http://www.clarenceriverferries.com. The ferry wharf, boat shed and marina are at the end of River Street.
Located in the Memorial Hall in Charles Street, the Iluka History Museum has extensive collections of photographs, newspaper clippings and historical material as well as an old cedar skiff which has been restored by the Iluka Men’s Shed. The museum is open each Wednesday and Friday from 9 .00 am to 1.00 pm or by appointment.
Iluka has three visitor information boards but no office. The closest is the Clarence Coast Visitor Information Centre, Ferry Park, Pacific Highway, Maclean, tel: (02) 6645 4121. It is open from 9.00 am – 5.00 pm daily.
The Iluka Chamber of Commerce have created a useful website. Check out http://www.ilukansw.com.au for details.
Iluka is located 683 km north of Sydney via the Pacific Highway and Iluka Road. It is 18 km south-east of the Pacific Highway turnoff.
Woombah is a small but growing bushland village in Clarence Valley. This hamlet is located to the south of the World Heritage -listed Bundjalung National Park near the Port of Yamba on Goodwood Island and only 15 minutes from the popular holiday and fishing village of Iluka.
There is a significant Aboriginal site at Woombah, one of five in the Lower Clarence area. The north arm of the Clarence River at Woombah forms the border between the Bundalong tribe to the north, and the Yaegl people to the south. An Aboriginal name for the star Canopus is Woombah, meaning the “Mad Star”. However this is a word from the Euahlayi people located in north-central New South Wales and south-central Queensland, and whilst unsure of its origin there is a general acceptance that Woombah means ‘crazy star’.
The first Europeans settled in Woombah in 1830, establishing a timber industry.
Woombah is located on the North Arm of the popular fishing Clarence River, adjacent to the Bundjalung National Park.