Coffs Harbour is a very family orientated beach resort with lots to do for people of all ages.
Located on the north New South Wales coast Coffs Harbour is about 400km south of Brisbane and 550km north of Sydney. The Pacific Highway runs right through it so it is easy to get to by car and by bus. It is spilt into three main areas: the CBD which is a fully functioning town, the jetty and harbour area and Park Beach. The Visitors Centre can be found next to the bus station just off the highway to the south of town.
Coffs Harbour Beaches
The main reason to visit Coffs Harbour is for its beaches and there are two main ones – the Jetty Beach and Park Beach.
The Jetty Beach runs south from the harbour and is quite sheltered as it has the harbour wall to the north and a headland to the south. Behind it is a park area with plenty of picnic tables and BBQs and lots of shade where you can while away a few hours.
Park Beach, which is north of the harbour, is a more open, long surf beach and can be quite rough at times. There is a patrolled swimming area just opposite Park Beach Holiday Park where you can body board and there is plenty of space for surfing outside the swimming area.
You can also swim in Coffs Creek which is just north of the harbour and is completely sheltered and calm. This is a great option if you don’t want any rough waves and just want to relax in the water. Again there is a park with children’s playground and BBQs just next to the creek.
Coffs Harbour Attractions
The Pet Porpoise Pool near the jetty on Orlando Street is a great place to go if you have kids. They have two shows daily and an extra one in the height of the summer. It is a good idea to get there early for your free seal and dolphin kisses. They have a photographer on site to take photos of this but you can also take your own photos.
The show includes seals, sea-lions and dolphins but no porpoises despite the name. It is very interactive but beware about volunteering for anything as it may involve singing! The dolphins are great and do the usual jumping through hoops and somersault tricks. After the show you can stroke the dolphins’ bellies, feed the turtle and fish and feed the penguins. They also offer dolphin and seal encounters at an extra charge.
There are many other attractions in Coffs Harbour such as The Big Banana theme park, helicopter flights, horse riding only a short trip away and the beautiful botanical gardens to mention just a few.
If the weather is bad while you are there then you may want to visit the multi screen cinema opposite the Park Road Plaza. You can find a discount voucher for it in the Visitor’s Guide. There are also 9 and 10 pin bowling alleys in the centre of town which are other good wet weather activities.
There is a craft market under the Jetty Village Shopping Centre on Harbour Drive every Sunday from 8am-2pm.
If you fancy doing some walking or cycling there are a few possibilities. The Coffs Creek Circuit which is a 10-12km loop around Coffs Creek is a lovely bush walk with the northern side officially a walking track and the southern side a shared pedestrian/cycle path. This walk can include going along the sea wall in the harbour to Muttonbird Island and take a walk up the island to get a lovely view of the harbour and perhaps see the elusive Mutton birds who the island is named for. We haven’t been lucky enough to see any.
Another cycle route available is from Coffs Harbour to the lovely town of Sawtell. This is a 26km return ride and has a difficulty rating of medium. It starts any where around the harbour and goes up Beacon Hill which is a bit tough and then you join the shared pedestrian/cycle path along Hogbin Drive. You then go on the road from the end of Hogbin Drive to Sawtell taking a detour up to the lookout just passed Boambee Creek if you are feeling very fit. It is a steep climb but offers great views over beautiful beaches on both sides of the headland.
You can hire bikes from Bob Wallis Cycles on the corner of Orlando and Collingwood Streets. At the time of writing prices are $18 for a half day, $25 for a full day and $40 for two days. This includes a map, helmet, lock and pouch.
There are also some lovely towns not too far away that you could spend anything from a few hours to a few days in. Bellingen is a pretty inland town just 40km away, Dorrigo National Park is about an hours drive away along the Waterfall Way and Dorrigo is where you would find accommodation if you want to stay the night near the park.
Useful Coffs Harbour links
For more information take a look at the official Coffs Harbour website.