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Bluff Point Ferry

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Car ferry crossing a river, taken at the Bluff Point Ferry near Maclean

The Bluff Point Ferry is a cable ferry over the Clarence River, connecting to the town of Lawrence and Woodford Island, part of NSW Tourist Route 22.

Bluff Point Ferry is the actual name, however, it is sometimes called the Lawrence Ferry. If the ferry cannot operate, the non-ferry alternative is a 67 kilometre detour via a bridge in Grafton. Ulmarra Ferry is closer, at only 38 kilometres.

Boarding a car ferry at Bluff Point Ferry

The Bluff Point Ferry is one of the busiest vehicular ferries in New South Wales, operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with two ferries available to ensure service remains during servicing.

The main ferry can carry 24 cars each trip, up to 135 tonnes, taking about 3 minutes to cross the Clarence River. If you miss the ferry, it can be up to 10 minutes wait with time for it to return including boarding and unboarding time.

The Clarence River is the largest river on the eastern seaboard of Australia. Bluff Point Ferry is one of two remaining car ferries, the other being Ulmarra Ferry. There is also a passenger ferry between Yamba and Iluka.

Multiple ferries operated crossings over the Clarence River, including Harwood Ferry, the last ferry on the Pacific Highway in New South Wales which closed in 1966 when the Harwood Bridge opened.

The ferry has been in operation for a long time, however, I can’t find when it was built. The Bluff Point Ferry was mentioned in the Clarence and Richmond Examiner in November 1883, stating the road from the Bluff Point Ferry to Tyndale is to be classified as a second-class road Offsite link, more than 135 years ago.

The ferry is free to vehicles and passengers alike. You cannot get out of the vehicle while on the ferry, however, as a passenger you can walk along the length of the ferry between the gates during the crossing. There is shelter with a bench seat for a few passengers.

As one of the busiest vehicular ferries, you have to wonder when it will be replaced with a bridge, like the Ashby Ferry Brown Sign link was in the early 1980s. In the meantime the ferry is part of the tourist drive 22 and is an experience for the kids with car ferries less common than they used to be.

To get there:

Brown sign for Bluff Point Ferry, Tourist Drive 22

Heading north on the Pacific Hwy, take the Cameron St exit for Maclean. Follow Cameron St for 1.5km and turn left after the showgrounds into Lawrence Rd, crossing the bridge over the South Arm of Clarence River. Continue on Lawrence Rd for 10.7km with the Bluff Point Ferry on the right. A waiting lane is on the left of the road approaching the ferry where you can stop until the ferry is ready to be boarded.

From Maclean, head south along River St out of town. The road bends to the left and becomes Cameron St, then turn right into Lawrence Rd just before reaching the showgrounds, crossing the bridge over the South Arm of Clarence River. Continue on Lawrence Rd for 10.7km with the Bluff Point Ferry on the right. A waiting lane is on the left of the road approaching the ferry where you can stop until the ferry is ready to be boarded.

Heading south on the Pacific Hwy, continue south along the highway at the Yamba Rd exit and instead exit at Cameron St about 5km further on. Follow Cameron St for 1.5km and turn left after the showgrounds into Lawrence Rd, crossing the bridge over the South Arm of Clarence River. Continue on Lawrence Rd for 10.7km with the Bluff Point Ferry on the right. A waiting lane is on the left of the road approaching the ferry where you can stop until the ferry is ready to be boarded.

If you want drive from the start of NSW Tourist Drive 22, take the Yamba St exit for Maclean, about 5km north of the Cameron St exit. Turn left (west along the Clarence River) with the brown sign for Tourist Drive 22 just ahead.

Cost:Free

Hours:24 Hours, 7 Days


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