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Coffs Harbour City Guide - A Gem Between the Mountains and the Ocean

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A comfortable subtropical climate, tranquil, unspoiled rain forests, and clean, uncrowded beaches have made Coffs Harbour one of the classic holiday destinations on Australia’s east coast. Families have been spending their vacations here for generations. Today, an array of activities from scuba diving to whale watching, a generous choice of cafés and restaurants, and easy access to the surrounding national parks, make Coffs Harbour an ideal getaway.

The harbor and jetty

 

A stroll along the harbor promenade and the iconic wooden jetty is the best way to get a first feel for Coffs Harbour. The jetty is the perfect sunrise or sunset vantage point, and you’ll usually find it populated by anglers. The nearby Jetty Strip buzzes with surf and dive shops, and sidewalk eateries. There’s also a funfair and outdoor cinema in the summer holidays. At the adjacent marina, you can watch the fishing fleets return with their catch. Feeling peckish? The Fishermen’s Cooperative is the perfect spot for some fresh fish and chips.

 

Muttonbird Island

 

A walk across the breakwater that shelters the marina takes you to Muttonbird Island, a protected breeding ground for migratory wedge-tailed shearwaters, or “muttonbirds.” The island is also a sacred and very significant site to the local Gumbaynggirr Aboriginal people. Take the easy climb to the top and you’ll be rewarded with dazzling 360-degree views that take in the beaches stretching away to the north and south, and the mountains rolling down to the sea. Between June and November you might also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of whales on their migration.

 

 

Downtown Coffs Harbour

 

A 20-minute stroll from the marina takes you to the centre of Coffs Harbour, a modern city with a country-town feel. Downtown is clustered around the Pacific Highway, and here you’ll find an array of shops, restaurants, and sidewalk cafés. The Coffs Coast Growers' Market every Thursday at City Square tempts you with locally produced and organic produce, including fruit and vegetables, honey, nuts, fish, and more.

 

 

Hit the water

 

Coffs Harbour offers you a host of swimming options, whether you’re an experienced surfer or vacationing with the kids. Jetty Beach is protected from the surf by the harbor breakwater and is a popular choice for families. Park Beach to the north of the harbor has good conditions for surfers, and is patrolled by lifesavers in summer. The inlet to Coffs Creek is a nice sheltered beach if you have small children, and it’s also a popular fishing spot. To the north and south of town you'll find many more pristine beaches.

 

  • Surf Club Restaurant & Bar, 23 Surf Club Road, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450; Tel: +61 2 6652 9870; Website: Surf Club Restaurant & Bar

 

Coffs coastal country

 

The Forest Sky Pier at Sealy Lookout, a 15-minute drive from downtown, puts you 15 meters above the forest floor for a bird’s eye view from the mountains to the coastline. The country around Coffs Harbour lures you out of town with lush forests and banana plantations, dazzling scenery, and miles of unspoiled beaches within easy reach. There are hiking trails through the national parks, scenic roads, and vibrant towns like Bellingen and Dorrigo that are more than worth the journey.

 

  • The Forest Sky Pier, Sealy Lookout via Bruxner Park Road, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450; Website: The Forest Sky Pier