The Coffs Coast

Coffs Harbour is a tourist town brimming with holiday activities. Its geographical location (nestled on a sheltered bay where the great dividing mountain range meets the sea) makes it a serene and beautiful spot. With over 40 golden beaches to choose from and laid back towns scattered around, the Coffs Coast (also known as the 'Banana Coast') is one of Australia's best loved holiday destinations.


A leisurely 2.5 to 3 hour drive (240km) south of Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour offers a myriad of attractions for visitors and has plenty to keep families entertained. The Coffs Coast is popular with surfers, offering great surf breaks right along its coast, with warm Pacific Ocean waters and a chilled out vibe. The region is also dotted with quaint little holiday towns offering art trails, markets and cafe culture. Just to the north of Coffs Harbour itself you'll find the resorts area (including Sapphire Beach), where big hotels sit on the water, offering the total beach holiday experience. There are 11 golf courses in the region, including the impressive Bonville Golf Resort, frequently regarded as one of Australia's best golf courses.

Coffs boasts a peaceful marina and the town looks out over the Solitary Islands Marine Park (one of Autralia's top ten diving spots where over 500 different underwater species can be found). Just past the marina beyond the breakwater you can take one of the area's most popular walks to Mutton Bird Island Nature Park (named for the wedgetailed shearwater birds that come to breed here). It's a short and steep 500 metre climb, but well worth the effort. At the top you'll be rewarded with 360 degree views of the town, the coast, the verdant hinterland and the Solitary Islands. Simply stunning. As well as its diving, the Coffs Coast is also a hub for deep sea fishing.

The Pet Porpoise Pool is a Tourism Australia award winning attraction. You can get up close and personal with some of your favourite marine mammals, and you might even get a kiss from a dolphin or a seal. Daily Marine Magic presentations are both educational and fun, and a great way to learn about the underwater world and some of its creatures.

The Big Banana is an iconic Coffs Harbour sight, providing a great day out for kids and adults alike. There's a cafe, nursery, gallery and gift shop (where you can buy all manner of banana related goodies). Take a banana plantation tour, hit the water slides, or you can even go ice skating!

Around Coffs Harbour

A 10 minute drive down the coast from Coffs Harbour is the cruisy heritage village of Sawtell. Like much of the NSW North Coast, it's a popular spot for surfies. Coupled with the laid back beach vibe, the village also has a certain elegance, with its tree lined main street offering a garden of large shady fig trees. It has a great cafe culture going on and a smattering of boutiques. Add to this a restored art deco cinema from the 1950s and you've got yourself a great little holiday place! It's been endearingly named "Sunny Sawtell" and when you visit it's easy to see why.

Further south (about 30 minutes drive) lies the Nambucca Valley, with 23km of coastline and a meandering scenic drive that runs through organic farms and fresh water rivers. Where the Nambucca River runs into the sea you'll find Nambucca Heads, a famed spot for surfing and snorkelling. Walk along the town break wall (the V wall) to look at its colourful grafittied rocks, where many a traveller has left their holiday musings etched into the region's history for all to view. The fishing here in the surrounding rivers and creeks is well known, and the local oysters are among the country's best.
Visitors to the Coffs Coast who have the time to escape the beaches should head into the hinterland. Take the Rainforest Way drive into the beautiful and green Bellingen Valley. Just 30 minutes drive from Coffs Harbour is the colourful village of Bellingen (or 'Bello' as it's known). A haven for artistic souls, it's full of arts and crafts galleries, and with over a dozen cafes and restaurants visitors have plenty of choice. The monthly markets are a great place to browse for eclectic local creations.
60km west of Coffs you'll find one of the most easily accessible World Heritage listed sites, where the Great Escarpment drops away into the wondrous Gondwana rainforests. The lush green sub-tropical fauna, abundant wildlife and cascading waterfalls of the Dorrigo National Park are a must visit. The town of Dorrigo sits at 1,000km above sea level. Be sure to take to the Skywalk boardwalk at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, where you can view the amazing canopy of rainforest from above. It's unmissable.