Mention Coffs Harbour to most people and they’ll immediately mention the Big Banana that’s been an icon in the area for nearly 50 years as well as the stunning coastline.
Now while the region thrives on being a tourist destination and certainly business’s need to make a dollar or two such as offshore diving and fishing, jumping out of planes right down to zip lining and a theme park, these no shortage of free things to do on the coffs Coast.
Now don't get me wrong - there's stacks to do within the Coffs shire and an abundant of activities to keep you going just outside the area. Heres a handful to whet tour appetite when visiting the stunning Coffs Coast.
COFFS JETTY & MARINA
This is a go to place for many locals and tourist alike. The timber jetty dates back to 1892 when it was built to ship timber out that was cut from the hinterland and to bring supplies and passenger into the area. Today it's just on 500 metres long and is open to the public to enjoy the stroll to the end. If your game try some jetty jumping in to the tropical clear water or maybe some light fishing off the sides, the jetty is like a jewel in coffs crown.
The nearby marina is another popular place to relax as you wander past hundreds of boats moored up and admire the huge array of fish swimming under the timber walkway. There’s a no fish policy so its always great to see plenty of marine life here. The walk along the marina leads to MuttonBird island where you’ll need to be a little bit fit to tackle the pathway to the top and over the other side. With breath taking views in every direction its a favourite for photographers all year round. During whale season its the go to place for locals and sea lovers. You won’t be disappointed in spending a day around the jetty area too with cafes and the local sea food co-op for a refresh before heading to the beach for a cool wash off.
2. SEALY LOOKOUT & BRUXNER PARK
Want the best overview of the Coffs Coast ?. Sealy lookout offers stunning coastal and hinterland views for as far as the eye can see. A 10 minute drive out of coffs winding through banana plantations into the Orara East State forest you’ll be amazed with jaw dropping views to the top of the mountain. Open during daylight hours its the perfect place to unwind with a stroll out along the platform above the dense rainforest below.
Theres a few short walks into the forest nearby where you might created with Lyrebirds, maybe an east coast Koala, Goanna’s and much more. Dont forget to bring a picnic basket to enjoy the serenity away from the hustle of the coast. Just down the road there’s an adventure walk along the Gumgali Track to Korora lookout. Not only will you be presented with more stunning views but you can also experience the Gumbaynggirr story of Gumgali with the black goanna in a sculpture, art along the way and its sound. The area has received a gold award for a tourist attraction, so you know you won’t be disappointed.
3. COFFS BOTANICAL GARDENS
Opened in 1988 the gardens cover more than 50 acres and is located on the original refuse dump for the area. These days the gardens thrive in the rich soil where micro systems seem to work with each other. Theres 5 km of walkways meandering past Coffs Creek on 3 sides, its wheel chair friendly and there’s a cafe run by volunteers to spoil yourself after exploring the gardens.
Its a great place to take the kids as they can let some steam off on the grassy areas, discover the sensory gardens and look for eels and ducks in the ponds located around the area. It's easy to spend hours exploring the most beautiful gardens on the north coast with areas that contain flora from countries around the world, then there’s the koi ponds but most of all the time away from everyday life getting lost in a plant world. It's hard to believe that the Coffs Botanical Gardens are right in the heart of town.
4. SOLITARY ISLAND WALK
Covering more than 60 km along the stunning coastline this walk can be done over several days from Sawtell in the south right up to the beautiful Red Rock in the north. The beauty of this trek is that it can be done at your own leisure from any point along the way. Meandering over headlands and along beaches the crystal clear water always puts on a show and often you’ll see kangaroos basking in the sun along the way, just taking notice of what’s going on.
Maybe grab a selfie with a roo from a distance, spot dolphins and turtles or just be in awe of the surroundings. Often the path with lead you through pristine coastal rainforest pockets where bush turkeys never stop scratching looking for a feed, but then other times the signs point you through the outskirts of coastal villages. This is the perfect place to stop and enjoy some fresh produce if you didn’t bring a backpack. Along the way there’s history boards, beaches covered in sea shells plus you’ll be enticed to cool off in the creeks that you pass over or safely at one of the patrolled beaches. No matter what section you decide to tackle, you’ll be left with the sweet smell of salt air in your lungs plus an amazing journey experience.
5. COFFS HINTERTLAND
Theres a lot to be said about the coastal fringe, but it lays within the shadows of the Great Diving Range, where along the region the mountains come right down to meet the sea. This phenomenon allows for some great 4wding in the hills where tracks criss cross in every direction. Throughout the area there are plenty of hinterland walks to magical type places where palms and gums reach for the sunlight, yet down at your feet there’s delicate ferns and moss loving the cool shade.
Easy to get to there’s protected stands of Tallowood Trees estimated to be 800 years old, old Blackbutt Trees over 50 metres tall through to Ancient Red Cedar trees. With the mountains giving a buffer between the plateau and the coast, this allows for some dramatic rock formations where waterfalls have carved their mark over thousands of years. With more than a handful of stunning falls pouring down from the hinterland at anyone time there’s always somewhere to cool off on those hot summer days and even when the temperatures are high the creeks with their crystal clear water are often cold, very cold but they give relief. Little villages in the Coffs Hinterland offer perfect getaway experiences and some of the best food for miles and are always happy to offer advice where the locals secret spots are.
WHERE TO STAY
There is no shortage of places to stay on the Coffs Coast where all options are catered for. Those wanting a stunning stay can spend up and experience one of many beach side resorts, beautiful B & B’s right through to mount side mansions that have views up and down the coffs coast. For the budget minded folk, there’s plenty of motels in various locations to suit any budget. Also the campers aren't forgotten where there’s an array of destinations to be explored on the coastal fringe and in the hinterland with beachside camps, stunning river gorge sites through the usual caravan parks and Showgrounds.