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The commercial and cultural centre of the Clarence Valley, Grafton is dominated by the elegant sweep of the Clarence River, which almost encircles the city. A detour off the main highways is necessary if you want to see the city centre, but the trip is well worthwhile as Grafton is a beautiful place, justifiably famous for its parks and gardens, fine colonial buildings and broad avenues lined with magnificent jacaranda trees. Grafton is known as the Jacaranda City, and celebrates the purple blooms of this lovely tree with the Jacaranda Festival, two weeks of celebrations culminating with a street parade on the first weekend in November. Thousands of people visit at that time, enjoying special exhibitions and events that are a highlight of the year.