This is a circuit drive of half a day, which starts and finishes on the Bruxner Highway. Total distance is 55km with 25km being unsealed. The drive gives good views of the Clarence River and offers a stopover by this magnificent river half way through the journey.
Duration: Half day from Tabulam
- Tabulam Bridge
- Frasers Cutting
- Pagans Flat
From Tabulam: Historically Tabulam is the home of the Light Horse Brigade and your journey begins by traveling west over Tabulam Bridge which at 161m in length is one of the longest timber truss bridges ever built in Australia. Graceful black swans can often be seen in this part of the river and are worth watching out for as you cross the bridge. The riverbanks still show signs of the enormous volume of water that descended down this river in the flood of 1976, coming over the western approach of the bridge. Food is available at Tabulam and the racecourse and cemetery are points of interest. 3km past the bridge, watch out for jabirus feeding in the wetland beside the road. The jabiru is Australia’s only stork and is also called the ‘policeman bird’.
Turn left into Plains Station Road and after 1km the road crosses the Timbarra River, a major tributary of the Clarence River. The source of the Timbarra River is high in the New England Tablelands near Glen Innes. Note the coarse sand of the river, which is largely the result of major gold sluicing activity commencing upstream of the bridge in the late 1800s.
Travelling another 3km, the road narrows into Frasers Cutting. From here you overlook a boulder strewn section of the Clarence River. Take care here, as the road is narrow and winding for a short distance. The large granite boulders which create the white water in this section, have come from Mount Braid which is the hill above Frasers Cutting. The countryside now opens to an area known as Plains Station, some of the richest agricultural river flats in Australia, growing corn and other grains. After crossing Mookima Wybra Creek, 250m on your right come to artist Keith Cameron’s gallery. A disused silo has been converted into an imposing viewing tower and gallery. Encouraging people with an artistic bent, Keith provides accommodation for visiting artists and is also creating a Sculpture Walk Park. His own work ranges from small to large contemporary sculptures. Phone 6661 3511 to visit.
10km past the gallery the road crosses the Clarence River at Yates Crossing. This is the perfect spot for morning tea or lunch and a swim. On the flat above Yates Crossing is the “township” of Alice, proclaimed in 1885 but never more than a few canvas tents and bark humpies that have long disappeared.
Travelling 2km past Yates Crossing a ‘T’ intersection brings you to the Clarence Way, where you can turn left to travel back to Tabulam or the Bruxner Highway. For the next few kilometres the road travels on a high bank above the river with only the occasional glimpse of the water. The best views of the river are approximately 16km after you turn onto the Clarence Way. Here you can view the calm water below the cliffs of Pagans Flat, so named after Pagan who was killed by Aboriginals in 1841. This was followed by a terrible retribution in which many died.
3km on from Pagans Flat, the road forks, with both roads meeting the Bruxner Highway. If you wish to return to Tabulam take the left-hand fork. Those people wishing to return to Casino or the coast can take the right-hand fork.