Guides

What to See and Do In and Around Coffs Harbour

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The untainted beaches and protected waters of the Coffs Coast, the area around Coffs Harbour, make it the perfect destination for swimming, diving, boating, or surfing. And when you’ve had enough of fine, white sand and crystal-clear water, you can head inland and delight in the beauty of national parks, nature reserves, and vibrant, picturesque towns.

On the water in Coffs Harbour

 

The Coffs Coast lures you to the water with a choice of pristine, unspoiled beaches. There are the calm, safe waters for the littlies, lifesaver-patrolled ocean swimming, and challenging surf breaks. You can hire gear from local surf shops, and there’s a choice of surf schools who’ll help to have you hangin’ ten in no time. If you’d rather explore calmer waters, the creeks and rivers around Coffs Harbour are ideal for kayaks or stand-up paddleboards. Often all you’ll hear is the sound of birds and the ripple of your oars.

 

Exploring Solitary Islands Marine Park

 

Warm waters and a rich variety of marine life make the Solitary Islands Marine Park off Coffs Harbour a paradise for snorkelers and divers. There a several good snorkeling locations close to shore. Local dive shops organize trips to nearby diving spots, and you’re likely to see harmless endangered grey nurse sharks, turtles, as well as colourful coral. Between May and November humpback whales migrate through the marine park, and a whale-watching cruise is a great way to get up close to these curious creatures. You can also board dolphin-watching tours through the summer.

 

  • Jetty Dive, 398 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450; Tel: +61 2 665 11611; Website: Jetty Dive
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  • Pacific Explorer; Tel: +61 4222 10338; Website: Pacific Explorer

 

Dorrigo National Park

 

World Heritage-listed Dorrigo National Park, a 45-minute drive from Coffs Harbour, is one of Australia’s most beautiful rain forests. The Skywalk takes you above the tree canopy for sweeping views - on clear days you can see the ocean. There are more than half a dozen walking tracks - take the Wonga Walk to experience the beauty of Crystal Shower Falls and Tristania Falls. You may well encounter lyrebirds, brush turkeys, and ring-tailed possums. And when you need to refuel, the Canopy Café is waiting with fair-trade coffee, a delicious menu featuring local produce, and a breathtaking natural backdrop.

 

 

Vibrant Bellingen

 

The riverside town of Bellingen, a 30-minute drive away, is home to a bustling creative community. Its historic Main Street, presided over by the Hammond & Wheatley Emporium, has an array of artisanal shops, boutiques, cafés, and the lovingly restored Federal Hotel pub. The Bellingen Community Markets, every third Saturday of the month, lure visitors with around 250 stalls selling local produce, arts and crafts and yummy food, as well as live music.

 

  • Bellingen Community Markets, Bellingen Park, Bellingen NSW 2454; Tel: +61 2 6655 2151; Website: Bellingen Community Markets
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  • The Federal Hotel, 77 Hyde Street, Bellingen NSW 2454; Tel: +61 2 6655 1003; Website: The Federal Hotel

 

The tranquil Botanic Garden

 

If you feel like a vacation from your vacation, the Botanic Garden is an oasis of tranquility in the centre of Coffs Harbour. You can take a quiet stroll along the mangrove and rain forest trails, and keep an eye out for koalas or some of the 150 bird species that have been spotted here. It’s the perfect spot for a peaceful picnic, and there are regular Sunday concerts in the pavilion.