I believe there is a reason Coffs Harbour central, Australia hasn’t had a makeover since the 1970’s. It’s to keep the illusion it’s a dull, boring and ugly place to stop. Yes, keep going. We like our paradise. It’s reserved for the elite only. The curious, the non-sheep tourists.
Explore and you will discover.
Nearby we have four awesome National Parks; Dorrigo NP, Bindarri NP, Bongil Bongil NP and Yuraygir NP. We are pretty much surrounded by National Parks. Look any of them up and they will detail all hikes, walks and camps.
You can find waterfalls 20 minutes drive from the beach. Waterfalls which cascade down for miles with so many swimming holes. When you visit, most of the time it’s just you and the frogs. Choose to sit and simply admire the view, or if you are the adventurous type, climb the striking sandstone cliffs in Sherwood Forest. Yes, where the merry men play.
Do you surf? Well, you are in luck, because it only feels “crowded” on particular days. I share a take-off point with five or six others at a local spot called “Diggers beach”. I only need to drive another 15 minutes to share it with no one but dolphins, turtles and eagle rays.
If you are a scuba diver or love snorkelling, you can’t miss a trip with Coffs Divers. I constantly hear remarks of “this is better than the great barrier reef”. Grey nurse breeding grounds, immense numbers of sea life and a rich, diverse eco-system, healthily blooming underwater. All a short boat ride out to the visible split solitary islands.
With an uncountable amount of rivers, your water sports options will leave you tired just thinking about the fun. Wild white waters in the West, and calm open turquoise ocean fed rivers on the high tides. If you get in contact, you can come paddleboarding for free with me any day of the week! I’m lucky enough to review SUPs at SUPBoardGuide for a living. You can always find me floating down some river, posing for a camera awkwardly.
If you want to chill, sit back and relax, eat food and drink wine, then you are in luck! Although the options may not be on par with the cities, what is in Coffs Harbour will surely please. If you value being taken care of and friendly small town banter, you will be even happier. We have the award-winning view at the fine dining restaurant “Latitude 30” where the price may be high, but the fresh seafood delights are worth it.
Roasting up their own beans and serving them daily is a family run business called “Supply”. As a customer, it’s hard not to feel as though you are part of one big extended family. Bubbly, bright, attentive service at its best. You can even watch the owner, Todd, roasting beans from inside his glass-walled roasting box.
You can’t go wrong when it comes to authentic Italian pizza at Fiasco. As long as you are happy to sit in the bar area and eat them, you can enjoy $10 pizzas which are served several nights of the week. They bring in crowds most nights and their cocktails are on point!
You only need to drive 15 minutes and you’ll be in sunny Sawtell, a small extension of Coffs. On the short street divided by towering figs, you’ll find so much good choice for food you’ll be overwhelmed. If it’s a drink you are after, you must try happy hour at the “Spare room”. A vintage infused bar with a casual laid back attitude, there is always a good vibe in the air no matter what night of the week you visit. Their cocktails will make you stay longer than happy hour. I speak from experience.
Another gem that is a must-see while visiting Coffs Harbour is Bellingen. It’s a 40 minut drive south so perfect on your way out. The turnoff is only 25 minuts but it’s a little way inland. This cute, quaint town that’s starting to brush up a little hipster, it’s on the cusp of totally taking off. It’s where all the good music goes to be showcased and the social butterfly's flock. The whole town is huge on sustainability, community and keeping things positive. Every cafe, bar and restaurant reflect these values. Check out “No.5” for the worlds best hand-cut fries, “Kudo” for to-die-for Japanese and you can’t miss having a locally brewed ginger beer at “The Brewery”.
You’ll be back...
As you can tell, there is much more than meets the eye when passing through Coffs. The old, drab roadside pawn stores and adult bookshops give Coffs the appeal of a mouldy old shoe. Many of us love that, because then our beaches and roads stay quiet.
It has always been about the natural beauty but now we get a social life too! It’s the new, fresh inspiration which hit the town in the past 10 years that has made this place shine.
There are many more glorious secrets but they will have to wait ... or you can find me and bribe me with chocolate and cake.
Sarah is an avid traveler and regularly wanders around the world doing what she loves most... riding the waves on her SUP Board and enjoying the perfect view! When she isn't seeking out new adventures, she writes for SUPBoardGuide.com. Follow her on Facebook!
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