Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve Coffs Harbour

Things To Do and Best Time to Visit Coffs Harbour (2024)

Coffs Harbour, a coastal gem between Sydney and Brisbane, offers many experiences for travellers seeking adventure and relaxation. From exploring pristine beaches to indulging in thrilling water sports, this vibrant destination has something for everyone. In this guide, you will find the best time to visit Coffs Harbour and the things to do in this enchanting destination.

Coffs Harbour holds a special place in my heart as a beloved travel destination. I’ve had the pleasure of exploring this charming city multiple times, and it never fails to provide an incredible weekend getaway experience. The laid-back and relaxing vibes of Coffs Harbour create the perfect atmosphere for a delightful vacation.

Despite the myriad activities available in this coastal haven, I’d like to share my top five favourites. From scenic coastal walks to local cuisine, Coffs Harbour has something for every traveller.

Extend your journey beyond Coffs Harbour by exploring other captivating destinations along the East Coast. For a comprehensive guide to the ultimate road trip on the East Coast of Australia, check out the details provided in the ultimate road trip itinerary.

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Where is Coffs Harbour?

Coffs Harbour, situated on the north coast of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia, is a captivating destination celebrated for its stunning beaches, iconic Big Banana, and rich wildlife. This city invites visitors to indulge in a memorable vacation experience.

The expansive area surrounding Coffs Harbour is affectionately referred to as Bananacoast, harking back to the city’s history when its economy was predominantly driven by banana cultivation. Today, the economic landscape has diversified to include blueberry farming, tourism, and fishing, making Coffs Harbour a multifaceted and appealing destination for travellers.

Best Time to Visit Coffs Harbour

The best time to visit Coffs Harbour depends on your preferences. Summer invites beach lovers and water enthusiasts, with temperatures ranging from pleasant to warm. Spring and autumn offer milder weather, perfect for outdoor activities and exploring the scenic landscapes. Winter brings a different charm, ideal for those seeking a quieter retreat and enjoying the local culture.

In Coffs Harbour, every season pulsates with its allure, promising a memorable journey for every traveller.

5 Things To Do in Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour has many activities, making it a captivating coastal city where one can easily spend days immersed in its beauty. Nature enthusiasts will find solace in exploring the lush rainforests of Dorrigo National Park, a true treasure trove of biodiversity. Here, one can escape the hustle and bustle of city life, embracing the serene ambience of the natural surroundings.

No visit to Coffs Harbour is complete without experiencing the iconic Big Banana. This landmark offers insight into the region’s history and boasts entertaining attractions for the entire family. Amidst the many possibilities, I’ve distilled the top five things to do in Coffs Harbour for an unforgettable experience.

Take a Picture with the Big Banana

Coffs Harbour’s star attraction, the Big Banana, stands out as the city’s most renowned destination. Nestled within a banana plantation, this amusement park is a prominent member of the Big Things in NSW, stretching 15 metres long.

The significance of the Big Banana extends beyond local acclaim; in 2007, Australia Post honoured this iconic site by featuring it on 50-cent postage stamps, a testament to its cultural and historical importance.

The Big Banana Coffs Harbour
The Big Banana

Walk Around the Muttonbird Island

Muttonbird Island is a dedicated nature reserve nestled in Coffs Harbour. Linked to the mainland by a causeway, it is an excellent vantage point for bird-watching, particularly the wedge-tailed shearwaters known as muttonbirds. This island is a vital breeding ground for these migratory seabirds.

Embarking on a leisurely 1-kilometre walk around the island offers a dual delight – the chance to observe the muttonbirds in their habitat and a breathtaking view of the expansive and endless ocean.

Notably, if you’re eager to witness these fascinating birds elsewhere in Australia, Griffiths Island in Port Fairy is another notable destination for experiencing the presence of muttonbirds.

Muttonbird Island

Get Educated on Dolphins and Seals at Dolphin Marine Magic

Dolphin Marine Magic is an incredible destination for delving into the world of dolphins, seals, and reptiles. Functioning as a conservation park, it serves as a sanctuary for rescued dolphins and seals, embodying a vision to educate individuals about the importance of conserving marine life and their habitats.

Visitors can explore the park every day from 9 AM to 2:30 PM. The general admission ticket for adults is priced at AUD 38 and is available at the park’s counter or through their official website. Additionally, the park features a convenient on-site cafe for visitors to enjoy.

As per the information on their website, starting from March 14th, 2018, the Dolphin Marine Conservation Park has officially ceased its dolphin breeding program. This decision aligns with the future direction of their organization, reflecting a commitment to a different approach to their mission and activities.

Coffs Harbour

See the Pretty Butterflies at the Butterfly Park

Discover the enchanting world of Australian butterflies at the Butterfly Park, an indoor haven for these captivating insects. It provides a fantastic opportunity to stroll amidst the fluttering butterflies and capture their exquisite beauty through photography.

The park welcomes visitors between 10 AM and 3 PM from Tuesday to Sunday. Admission is AUD 20 per person, and tickets can be conveniently obtained at the entrance. Additionally, the park offers a cozy in-house cafe for visitors to unwind and enjoy a delightful experience.

Butterfly farm Coffs Harbour

Scuba Dive at Solitary Islands Marine Park

A premier diving destination in Australia awaits at the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Coffs Harbour boasts numerous dive centres that offer thrilling diving experiences.

Explore the underwater wonders at dive sites such as North Solitary Island and South Solitary Island for an unforgettable aquatic adventure.

Where to Stay in Coffs Harbour?

Coffs Harbour has various accommodation options to suit your preferences and budget.

  1. Absolute Beachfront Opal Cove Resort: A luxurious option with beachfront views.
  2. Pacific Bay Resort: Nestled amidst lush surroundings.
  3. Coffs Harbour Youth Hostel Association (YHA): A budget-friendly choice for backpackers and solo travellers.
  4. BreakFree Aanuka Beach Resort: Provides self-contained villas and spa facilities.
  5. Quality Hotel City Centre: It is located in the heart of Coffs Harbour and offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities.
  6. IBIS Styles Coffs Harbour: A reliable option for business or leisure travellers.

How to Get to Coffs Harbour?

By Air

Coffs Harbour has its airport, facilitating regular flights connecting the city to Sydney. Operated by Rex and Qantas, these flights, despite being relatively short at 1 hour and 30 minutes, tend to be expensive.

For those travelling from Brisbane to Coffs Harbour, a quicker 1-hour flight is available. Qantas and Link Airways manage these flights, albeit at a relatively high cost for a shorter duration.

By Road

Coffs Harbour is more proximate to Brisbane than Sydney. The distance from Sydney to Coffs Harbour is approximately 540 kilometres, requiring about a 6-hour drive, while the distance from Brisbane to Coffs Harbour is 390 kilometres, taking around 4 hours by car. A road journey is considered the most convenient way to reach Coffs Harbour.

I recommend incorporating transit stops for those travelling from Sydney by car to enhance the journey. Consider staying in picturesque locations such as Newcastle, Nelsons Bay, and South West Rocks, which offer delightful places to rest along the way.

By Public Transport

The public transport journey from Sydney to Coffs Harbour is lengthy, spanning approximately 16 hours and 30 minutes. The trip takes a train from Central train station in Sydney to Sawtell station, lasting around 8 hours and 40 minutes. Following that, a bus ride from Sawtell station to Park Avenue at Coffs Harbour is required, taking approximately 18 minutes.

For the most current and detailed information, it is recommended to check the Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) website.

Similarly, the public transport journey from Brisbane to Coffs Harbour also takes around 16 hours and 30 minutes, but it involves a more intricate route, requiring two train transfers.

Is Coffs Harbour Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Coffs Harbour is exceptionally safe for solo female travellers. Having explored the city independently myself, I can attest to the absence of any issues during my visit. Nonetheless, as with any destination, it is advisable to exercise caution and stay aware of your surroundings, particularly during the evenings. Being mindful of your surroundings adds a layer of security to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve Coffs Harbour

Closing Notes

Coffs Harbour holds a special place in my heart, and I am drawn to its beauty repeatedly. This coastal city offers a diverse range of activities, making it an ideal destination that caters to the preferences of all types of travellers and vacationers.

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Things To Do and Best Time to Visit Coffs Harbour (2024)
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