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Holiday Spot - Coffs Harbour, Australia
Get a Local Look
Where Is Coffs Harbour?
Situated about 540 km (340 mi) north of Sydney, and 390 km (240 mi) south of Brisbane between the Pacific Ocean and The Great Dividing Range, The Coffs Coast offers a great climate all year round.
Enjoy the beaches, mountains, countryside and National Parks in a variety of ways to suit all budgets.
Coffs Coast NSW, Australia
Hit The Beaches
Every water activity you can think of along 90km of coastline and headlands. A top spot for scuba diving among the Solitary Islands where you get a variety of cool water and tropical marine life.
Whatever you watery passion - swim, surf, sail, fish, parasail, jet ski or go whale watching. Head inland for white water rafting, or enjoy a spot of river or ocean kayaking and canoeing.
Patrolled Beaches include the Jetty Foreshores beach and Park Beach (check the local paper or Surf Lifesaving Club for daily patrols)
Quiet Beaches - Korora, Digger's beach, Sapphire, Emerald beach, Sandy Beach all North of the main part of town.
Surfing - Jetty Foreshores Beach, Gallows Beach, Sawtell.
Camping/Caravanning on the beach- Park Beach, Station Creek/Pebble beach, Urunga, Moonee.
You can ride a camel, horse or beach buggy along the shore.
If taking to the air is your thing you can take a helicopter tour, ride a glider or jump out of an aeroplane.
There used to be a sign on the Coffs Harbour Jetty that proclaimed "No Jumping". It's not there any more, jumping off the jetty is a right of passage for Coffs Harbour kids and you must do it when you visit! There are a stairs to get you back up onto the jetty. True jetty jump heroes jump from the top railing!
The Jetty is also a nice spot to check out the ocean, go for a walk, take some photos. It is very pretty at night and on NYE it's the launch pad for awesome fireworks.
Tourist Stuff To Do
The Big Banana This is Coff's most famous tourist attraction. ok,I'll admit it's a bit lame BUT there's plenty of other fun stuff to do here. You can try a banana coffee (actually really nice), go on a plantation tour and learn more than you ever wanted to know about bananas,definitely check out the Candy Kitchen and have a downhill toboggan ride. There are also huge inflatable water slides, an indoor ski slope and ice rink. Or you can take funny, suggestive photos of your friends and the banana, go on, everyone does it.
The Pet Porpoise Pool Get up close and personal with some marine life. Get a big, fishy kiss from a seal or play and even swim with some friendly dolphins. Very hands-on, I never get tired of this place.
Whale Watching Tours Take your seasickness pill and get up close to a whale, or you can do it cheap and watch them from one of the headlands.
The Bunker Cartoon Gallery Ok, I know that no-one goes to the coast to see galleries, but this is a really unique one. It is housed in an actual WWII bunker and contains an excellent collection of cartoon art. There are often holiday workshops for all ages given by Australian and international cartoon artists and writers.
The Jetty Carnival Every January the carnival comes to town and sets up on the foreshores all the traditional nighttime carnival fun of rides, games, junk food and teenagers perving on each other.
Harley Davidson Tour Take a tour around the region in cool style in a Harley tricycle.
Stuff To Avoid
The Miniature Dutch Village at the Clog barn- The Clog barn has a nice cafe and motel, but other than that it has clogs and clog makers and a really lame mini Dutch Village because the owner of the site is Dutch.
The Fisherman's Co-op at the Marina. Certainly NOT the best fish and chips in town. Try Molly Malones. The marina is a bit crap all round, in fact.
Events in and around the Region
Regular Markets in the Region
Coffs Coast Growers Market Every Thursday throughout the year.
In the main city mall, Harbour Drive.
Bellingen Community Market Third Saturday of the month.
Excellent, large markets of all types of stuff.
Bellingen Organic Produce Market Second & fourth Saturday of the month.
Relaxing, laid back atmosphere.
Coffs Harbour Jetty Market, Uptown Market and Harbourside Market Every Sunday.
Sawtell Community Markets Fourth Saturday of the month.
Woolgoolga Beach Markets Second Saturday of the month.
Bollywood Markets, Woolgoolga First and fourth Saturday of the month.
A taste of India by the beach.
The local calendar is packed with annual events in around the Coffs Coast.
The following is current for 2012 - 2013:
Pittwater to Coffs yacht race - 2 to 6 January
- Get your boat shoes and champagne ready.
Festival of Sail - 3 to 4 January
Putt Bennett Family Fishing Festival, Mylestrom Second weekend in January
Camp Creative, Bellingen - Second week of January
- A fun week of creative workshops and performances for the whole family.
Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival - 23 to 24 March 2013
-Bellingen is a gorgeous, small town of arty and alternative types. (I will devote an article to this town next.)
Woolgoolga Curry Festival- 12-14 April 2013
- Woolgoolga, or 'Whoopie', is home to a large Indian Sikh population and has some of the best Indian restaurants and beautiful temples.
Bellingen Music Festival- Fourth weekend in May
Sawtell Chilli Festival- First Saturday in July
-Sawtell is a lovely little seaside hamlet in South Coffs. Great restaurants.
Coffs Harbour Gold Cup Race Day/Carnival- First Thursday in August
-Stumble around the grass in heels and watch horses go around and around.
NAB Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge- 4 August 2013
Bellingen Jazz Festival- Weekend of the third Saturday in August
Toast Urunga Food & Wine Festival- Fathers Day, September
FIA World Rally Championships- 12 to 15 September 2013
Coffs Harbour International Buskers Festival- 22 to 29 September 2013
-An awesome week of comedy and street performers.
Bellingen Global Carnival - 30 Sep to 2 Oct 2013 (tbc)
-A beautiful family friendly music and culture festival, weather permitting.
Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival- Fourth weekend in October
-A picturesque little mountain top hamlet with pristine waterfalls and rainforest.
Coffs Harbour Food and Wine Festival- Last Weekend of October
Sawtell Christmas Street Party- Mid December
Coffs Jetty NYE Foreshore Fireworks- NYE
Sources - http://www.coffscoast.com.au, http://www.lonelyplanet.com,
Sleeping Arrangements and Getting Around
The region has every type of accommodation you could hope or budget for.
Caravan Parks and camping aplenty - There are caravan parks in and around town as well as many lovely spots in the National Parks around the region. See the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Department website, http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au or pick up a brochure in the region for lists of camp and caravan grounds.
There are the usual many motels and hotels (including one with a windmill that houses a restaurant), holiday rental apartments and houses as well as 10 international resorts, if luxury is more your thing.
Farmstay, country houses and beach or river cabins are another option.
Woofers are often accepted in the country areas, especially in the Bellingen Shire.
Backpacker Inns can be found all over the region. It is a fairly backpacker-friendly region, so you might do a little couch surfing as well.
Vroom - Vroom
To get around Coffs you're best option is your own (or hired) vehicle.
The town is not too big to get around in buses or taxis, but to really explore the region a vehicle is needed.
The region is generally pretty hitch-hiker friendly, especially in the country areas, if that's your mode of transport.
You can get to Coffs Harbour by plane, train, coach or car.