Coffs Harbour Travel Guide

Coffs Harbour Travel Guide

Check out our guide to Coffs Harbour which including everything you need to know about visiting this popular city in New South Wales, Australia. View a list of activities you should do, recommended places to eat and drink for both tourists and backpackers visiting on a budget, festivals you might want to experience and top tips for the best things to see.

 

About Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour has around 20,000 residents and is growing every year. It is a popular destination to live for Australians who want to raise their families in a rural city setting. This city is located in New South Wales, Australia and the area is known as the holiday coast with the mountains meeting the sea. The city has all the facilities and amenities that a modern city would have. 

Coffs Harbour is a liveable city with a small town ambiance. It has several untainted beaches in its coastline with a mountain protecting it from the behind. It prospers with tourism, bananas exports, and the manufacturing industry. It also has a couple of national parks, a marine national park, three major malls and a university. 

The city is accessible with flights every day from Sydney, Brisbane and Port Macquarie. Discover and explore the many quaint towns and villages along the way to the national parks in the Coffs area. The marine park alone is worth the trip with its spectacular marine life. Accommodations range from rural bed and breakfasts, coastal resorts, apartments to 5 star city hotels. It is easy getting here with the Coffs Harbour airport. 

There are an abundance of tours and attractions to see. Whether you are just passing by or staying for a few days to a month, you should have enough to see and enjoy during your stay here in the city. Historical and cultural attractions are one of the best in New South Wales. The traveler will surely enjoy time spent sightseeing in the city with a little help from tour organizers which comes with complete services to make your trip more enjoyable.

 

History

Captain John Korff who was in the area in 1847 gave his name to this place but years later a surveyor misspelt it on the Sydney survey records so it remains Coffs Harbour to this day. Coffs Harbour was used as a shipping port to carry cedar logs which were rafted down the creek then loaded and shipped out. At the turn of the century, farmers introduced dairy herds, until it was replaced with the cultivation of bananas and other fruit and vegetables that showed more profit and became permanent into the 1930's. 

 

Weather

Coffs Harbour city is sheltered by a mountain from behind and blessed with cool ocean breeze. Although it has a humid subtropical climate, it exhibits mild temperate weather year round. The average summer temperature is 26C and  winter temperatures  rarely plunge  lower than 19C making it an ideal holiday destination. When it's cold, it's time for hiking the many national parks in the area and when its warm, the beaches beckon! The wettest month is March and the driest is September.

 

Best Time to Visit

Coffs Harbour has a temperate climate but the best time to come visit is between late October and the end of March. At this time, you can enjoy the beaches and al fresco dining more. If you come in a different season, it probably would be too cold to swim or sunbathe and the nights would be cold. However, the numerous National Parks should still be a great alternative with the many activities it offers from hiking, camping, and fishing. The many land attractions are also great alternatives any time of the year.

 

How to Get to Coffs Harbour

Getting to Coffs Harbour is easy with its airport and also its seaport. You can also get to Australia's major cities and make connections by  land to this city. Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne have daily flights to Coffs Harbour airport. Coffs is certainly a popular stop for travelers on the road as it is situated between Brisbane and Sydney. It has one of the most scenic drives this side of the coast and getting around the city is easy with a rental car or cab. 

 

Best Things to Do in Coffs Harbour

As a visitor to Coffs Harbour you will find a myriad of activities to do in its many national parks and beaches,  not counting the skies around the city offering aerial activities. The waters around the area is also a playground for young and old. The city itself provides the visitor with many historical and cultural attractions to do. Learn about the city's festivals and events.

1. Skydiving
Go jump out of an aircraft while it's cruising at 14,000 ft and feel like a bird above the city of Coffs Harbour. The activity is a great experience after your short training with Coffs City Skydivers which is the largest and longest established skydiving centre on the Mid North Coast. Services offered here are skydives, training, corporate functions and merchandise. Coffs City Skydivers are a wonderful professional group of people who love what they do and live to teach you. Contact: Coffs City Skydivers 64 Aviation Dr, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

2. Dolphin & Whale Watching
Spend three hours whale and dolphin watching on board the Pacific Explorer which offers a unique tour max of 20 passengers and a crew of 3 in the waters off Coffs Harbour. This is an up close and personal meeting with the Humpback whales and local Dolphins. This service has been continually operating for 14 years now and boasts of its impeccable safety and high sightings record. A light morning tea with cake and cookie rounds off the cruise and back at the harbour before 12noon. Contact: Pacific Explorer, Coffs Harbour, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

3. Helicopter Ride
Spend an hour or two on board a helicopter over the stunning Coffs coast and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the sensational turquoise coastline and beautiful beaches, You will often see dolphins playing in the crystal clear waters or whales, in season, during their annual migration. There are also the boutique style resorts, magnificent mountains and secretive waterfalls. Contact: Precision Helicopters Hangar 77 Aviation Drive, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

4. Go on a Bike Tour 
Several tours offered catering to a range of riders from those who want to have a leisurely ride down Waterfall Way enjoying the rainforest and waterfall views. Experience an unforgettable guided bike ride down one of the best sealed mountain roads in Australia. Starting at 746m above sea level, encounter the true National Park experience of waterfalls and rainforest terrain as we ride down Waterfall Way to 5m above sea level. Contact: Running Wild Adventure Tours, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

5. Cheese-making Workshop
Spend 3 hours or 6 hours on a cheese-making workshop that's worth every bit of time you spend in the facility. Learn cheese-making methods that's easy on the budget but full in taste. Cheese-making classes start from 10am – 4pm. You have the following cheeses for the workshop; camembert, fetta, quark, ricotta, mascarpone, and greek style yoghurt. Lunch is provided but please supply any food allergy information so menu can be adjusted accordingly. Contact: The Cheesemaking Workshop, 62 Lake Russell Drive, Emerald Beach Coffs Harbour.

 

Shopping

Coffs Harbour has numerous shopping centres that houses countless shops and boutiques that caters to  shoppers of all persuasions. There are also many Community markets where the shopper can find great buys at a substantial savings. Street fairs are another source of gifts and souvenirs that won't dent your wallet as much as a boutique. If you are looking for art, craft and fresh local produce, head to the Dorrigo Markets.

1. Joshua Cornell The Good Guys
Coffs Harbour favorite consumer electronics and whitegoods retailer. We sell a broad range of the biggest brands in electrical appliances at exceptionally low prices. The Good Guys sell a wide range of Audio Equipment, Cameras and Camcorders, Computers, Fridges and Freezers, and kitchen appliances plus office equipments and television sets.
Address is 300 Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour, NSW.

2. EB Games and Electronics Boutique
The store offers its customers an expansive selection of new products and our value-added pre-owned products is geared to deliver customer satisfaction. Consult our  knowledgeable associates to learn more about our stocks on hand and new deliveries.
Address is Park Beach Plaza, 253 Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour, NSW.

3. Book Warehouse
Sells its books in its physical address as well as its online bookstore. The books they sell cover all topics from art to zoology including specialty topics that are hard to get anywhere else from their unique sources.
Address is 26 Harbour Dr., Coffs Harbour, NSW.

4. BCF - Boating, Fishing, Camping
Supply store offers the widest range of products from the tried and true to the latest. The merchandise here are boating, camping and fishing stuff. The sales associates here are passionate about their job and if they can't give you an answer on the spot, they'll help you find a solution.
Address is North Boambee Road, Coffs Harbour, NSW.

5. Amart All Sports
Sells women's sports clothes. It is Australia's number one sporting goods discounter. We stock the world's biggest sporting brands at guaranteed lowest price all around Australia.
Address is 150 Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour, NSW.

 

Best Places to Eat

Coffs Harbour is a great city to explore and so is the cuisine and its many variations from its gourmet presentation to its budget menus are all available in the many restaurants and cafes in the city that offers the traveler a wide choice of local cuisine. Night dining also offers the traveler an exciting choice of cuisine from all over the world. 

There are many options for tourists seeking gourmet standard food and aslo backpackers hoping to eat on a budget. There are restaurants, cafes and bars open all hours which offer travelers a wide choice of local cuisine which is some of the best in Australia. Check out our top tips for the best restaurants, cafes and bars in Coffs Harbour below...

1. Taste Of North India 
Genuine Indian cuisine that is mouthwatering. Resto atmosphere is relaxed and service is exceptional. A family friendly place and quite busy. Try the Beef Vindaloo, Lamb Korma, rice, plain naan and pickles. Food portions are good.
Hours: Lunch, Dinner.
Menu price: moderate.
Address: 396a Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

2. Tangello's Juice and Vegan Bar
Serves genuine vegetarian dishes. Menu includes western choices and organic dishes. Warm and relaxed ambiance. Service is attentive and family friendly staff. Indoor and outdoor seating. Try the vegan dishes.
Hours: Lunch, Dinner.
Menu price: moderate.
Address: Kiosk A, City Centre, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

3. Golden Crown Chinese Restaurant
Serves good Chinese cuisine. Nice atmosphere and interior nice. Service attentive. Good food and staff friendly enough. Try the beef and black bean sauce and  mini spring rolls, great taste!
Hours: Lunch, Dinner.
Menu price: moderate.
Address: 374 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

4. Suban Thai
Serves authentic Thai cuisine. Excellent service and tasty dishes. Friendly staff. Warm and relaxed ambiance. Family oriented place. Try the garlic prawn/pepper, duck red curry and Banana custard.
Hours: Lunch, Dinner.
Menu price: moderate.
Address: 19 Gordon Street, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

5. Foreshores Cafe
Serves American, Australian, and British cuisine. Taste of the ocean and so much choice in the menu. Great service, great coffee, great location. Child-friendly. Outdoor seating. Foreshores cafe is an all round great place to visit. Try the smoked salmon and muffins.
Hours: Breakfast, Lunch.
Menu price: 10AUD – 16AUD.
Address is 394 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

6. Amalfi
Authentic Italian cuisine and real homemade pizza and pasta. This place is always busy. Indoor and outdoor seating. A family-run Italian restaurant with basic setting but traditional food is the star here and prices really good value.
Hours: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations.
Menu price: moderate. 
Address: 135 Eye St., Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

7. Zulu's Restaurant & Bar
Serves genuine African cuisine plus some local dishes. Relaxed ambiance and nice interiors. Warm staff. Family friendly resto with great food. Try the slow cooked goat, incredibly tasty!
Hours: Lunch, Dinner, Takeout, Dessert, Reservations.
Menu price: 14Aud-39Aud.
Address: 27 Grafton Street, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

8. Big Windmill Restaurant
Offers great Dutch dishes. Lovely restaurant with great meals and excellent service. Great value for money. Family friendly and great fun. Try the beef croqueets, chicken breast and the delicious sweets of banana pancakes. 
Hours: Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Reservations.
Menu price: 14Aud-39Aud.
Address: 168 pacific highway, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. 

9. KFC
Serves chicken the KFC way. They serve fresh, quality chicken and the freshest local ingredients for their authentic recipes. From burgers to salads, you will find their menu satisfying and reliable! Try the new zingers and drinks. 
Hours: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Drinks.
Menu price: moderate.
Address: 253 Pacific Hwy, Coffs Harbour, NSW.

10. McDonald's
Serves the cheapest burgers in town. The restaurant is popular with backpackers on tight budgets due to the cheap food and quick service. 
Hours: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Drinks.
Menu price: moderate.
Address: 7 Walter Morris Cl, Coffs Harbour, NSW.

 

Nightlife

Coffs Harbour nowadays is getting younger vibe with many young families moving to town. Many more nightclubs and bars and restaurants have opened as a result of this migration. Live bands are popular in this venues with an atmosphere that spells fun and frantic activities. State of the art equipments make this new nightclubs even more attractive venues that includes big screen TV, TAB and gaming facilities. You will have great dining as well.

1. Plantation Pub and Bistro
Has many entertainment venues featuring weekly entertainment and events. Happy hour is Monday to Friday 4pm-5pm $3.50. There are resident DJ s. Each night of the week features different events with drink specials and steak menus. Also a live venue, backpackers and internet cafe.
Address: 88 Grafton St., Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

2. Coast Lounge Bar
Unlike any other in the area with a huge landscaped beer garden complete with ping pong table, a new state of the art TAB and huge open bar area where the old TAB and bottle shop once stood. Thursday nights is happy hour in the downstairs sports bar from 5pm to 7pm. Live music every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights.
Address: 2 Moonee Street, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

3. Hoey Moey Pub
Features a large Public bar, Lounge bar/Entertainment Area, Bistro and beer garden. Can be a popular place for backpackers as the pub has its own. It has a karaoke bar that some may find as free for all kind of singing venue that may become jarring as the night progresses.
Address: Ocean Parade Road, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

4. The Coffs Bar
Has a lively entertainment program, a good atmosphere and can be a popular backpacker hangout. The pub serves steaks and good old home cooking menu. Happy Hour weekdays. Good service and safe place to relax and unwind.
Address: Corner Pacific Highway & West High Street, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

5. Pier Bar and Pub
Has live entertainment every Thursday night.  Steak night on Wednesdays. Saturday - Punters day. Sunday - Relax after a busy week with some great live sport including the UFC and all the Football codes.
Address: Hood St & Harbour Dr, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

 

Events and Festivals

Events and festivals are a monthly occurrence in the city. They range from sailing to food events. The city celebrates its aboriginal history and there are also several gay events that have become annual celebrations. Newer events come in the form of environmental consciousness that celebrates sustainable living. Visit anytime and you will likely find festivals, events, parties of all sorts.

1. Woolgoolga Curryfest
An annual event that celebrates the many cultures of the area and the surrounding communities. Woolgoolga Curryfest showcases multicultural cuisine, traditional and modern dances, and music It also fosters comedy, arts and crafts and fun activities for the children. This is a three-day event that also occurs with the Sikh Vaisakhi festival that will have a parade to the event grounds celebrating the diverse cuisines of the city. There is also  the beach Bollywood film screening. Come in the month of April to join the festivities.

2. Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge
An annual cycling event of 100 kilometres starting and finishing at the Coffs Harbour Jetty Foreshores. The 2013 Challenge will have eight different categories that suits all cyclists. There are eight levels of entry that include: 100 kilometre solo male. 100 kilometre solo female. 100 kilometre team (unisex), with two, three or four cyclists all cycling the 100 kilometres. 100 kilometre relay (groups of two or three).100 kilometre tandem and recumbent bikes, (unisex). 60 kilometre solo male. 60 kilometre solo female. A family ride. Come visit in the month of August to see this event.

3. Pittwater & Coffs Harbour Regatta
An annual regatta that involves the best of the offshore racing fleets for the 226 nautical mile race north dubbed the "warm water classic" that leaves Pittwater on 2 January bound for Coffs Harbour. The race offers competitors a strategic challenge as they race between the surfline and the current, past unsurpassed scenic coastlines, prior to arriving in one of Australia's most popular coastal cities. Come visit in January for this sailing event.

4. Easter Fishing Classic
Open to all ages - amateurs and professionals. Categories include: Beach, Rock Estuary, Deep Sea and Game Fishing. Fishing is permitted in the creeks, off the beach or out to sea for those who have their own boats. On the Sunday there will be a charity fish auction and the presentation ceremony, with thousands of dollars of prizes.

There will entertainment throughout the weekend and food and drink will be available. Come visit in March for this classic. 

 

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