Coffs Harbour Destination Guide
Coffs Harbour Holidays
Tucked between Sydney and Brisbane on the north coast of New South Wales, Coffs Harbour is best known for its beaches, bananas and beautiful natural surrounds. The warm weather draws retirees, families and generations of holidaymakers, with a population spike in summer as travellers enjoy the sunshine and relish the laid-back, coastal lifestyle. In earlier days, Coffs tried its hand at timber milling, gold mining and dairy farming until it became a major centre for banana plantations. Coffs Harbour is a prime family holiday destination that encourages you to unplug, down tools and truly take in your surrounds. Traipse through tranquil rainforests, cast a line at a secluded fishing spot and savour the exfoliation of sand between your toes.
Coffs Harbour attractions extend beyond hot sand and salty surf. You can't miss The Big Banana as you cruise along the Pacific Highway – one of Australia's first 'big things', kick-starting the craze for mammoth landmarks. The Big Banana is more than just supersized fruit, with toboggan rides, waterslides and, of course, chocolate-dipped bananas. Steal a kiss from a seal at Dolphin Marine Magic – grab a fin and hold tight as dolphins zip you around the pool. Keeping things wet and wild, white water rafting, sea kayaking, surfing and whale watching are all token Coffs Harbour experiences. Art lovers will appreciate the Bunker Cartoon Gallery, a World War II shelter reborn as a black and white exhibition space.
Eat and Drink
The pride of Coffs Harbour is its sun-ripened bananas, mangoes, avocados and macadamias which all feature heavily on menus around the area. Coffs Harbour restaurants work closely with local producers to inject regional flavours into their signature dishes. Freshly-caught prawns, bugs and beef from the lush pastures of the Tablelands are mainstays of Coffs' dining scene. The Jetty area around Harbour Drive is known for its brunch spots serving up hearty fare and fresh juices, and al fresco restaurants mixing modern Australian with Italian, Indian and Asian influences. Fine dining isn't far away with Latitude 30's tapas and extensive wine lists and the award-winning candlelit cottage No. 2 Oak Street further south at Bellingen.
Where to Stay
Holiday apartments and villas are found within a short hike from popular beaches and cater to families or groups. Affordable and comfortable, Nautilus Beachfront Villas & Spa works for most budgets with self-contained single units and deluxe suites. For a romantic stay, head west where bed and breakfasts, farmstays and tea houses nestled among the rolling hills of dairy country provide rural retreats at the beautiful Orara Valley Estate, Coramba or Nana Glen.
The Jetty area is where the action is for shopping in Coffs Harbour, with a collection of galleries, shops and cafés dotted along the promenade. The Harbourside Markets take residence past the Jetty strip every Sunday, showcasing local arts and crafts, coffee, home-made jams and sauces, and more. During summer the Jetty comes alive with sideshow games, rides and an outdoor cinema. The two major shopping centres in Coffs Harbour are Park Beach Plaza off the Pacific Highway and Coffs Central in the city centre, with supermarkets, clothing shops, banks and a post office to send all of those 'wish you were here' postcards bragging about your stay in paradise.
Coffs Harbour Like a Local
Coffs Harbour has the best of both worlds – it's a holiday haven wedged between the mountains and the sea where the Great Dividing Range high-fives the Pacific Ocean. It doesn't get much better than Coffs Harbour weather either, often rated the most liveable climate in Australia. Discover the lay of the land with a drive to Bruxner Park Flora Reserve which teems with walking trails, scenic lookouts and picturesque picnic spots. The Forest Sky Pier at the Reserve boasts the best vantage point for panoramic views of Coffs Harbour across to the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Stroll along the Jetty and the aptly named Jetty Beach and you might be able to spy humpback whales migrating from May to September.