NSW Top Tourism Town Finalist

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Top Town: population over 5,000 residents

09:00 Weds 13 April - till - 17:00 Weds 27 April.
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The Heart of NSW's First ECO Destination

Flying direct to Coffs Harbour from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane is the perfect option for a quick getaway. But as an active family that loves their bikes and surfboards, we chose to travel the scenic route to this holiday paradise, driving along the legendary Pacific Coast.

On the journey, the kids do some research. We learn that Coffs Harbour is geographically unique – the only place in NSW where the Great Dividing Range meets the Pacific Ocean – and we make a note to grab a photo at White Bluff. It's also home to significant Gumbayggnirr Indigenous cultural sites. 

Once known for logging red cedar ('red gold') and actual gold mining, Coffs Harbour made its fortune in the 1920s from banana farms. Today, Coffs Harbour is a thriving ecotourism destination overflowing with outdoor experiences, family-friendly attractions, local food and drink offerings and action-packed adventures. 

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Rolling into Park Beach Holiday Park we receive a warm welcome from the staff. From the verandah of our classic villa the sound of the waves revives the soul. Just moments from the beach, Coffs Creek and lots of yummy places to eat, we relax on the comfortable deckchairs and congratulate ourselves on finding a place that appeals to every family member.

Our Coffs Harbour adventure is underway… and with endless recommendations for things to do, we head out. The Coffs Coast website gives the lay of the land, with delicious local seafood, a craft brewery, National Parks, galleries, canoeing, bushwalking and great coffee, all within walking or cycling distance.

Lunchtime, and it's difficult to choose! The Coffs Harbour Fisherman's Co-op is where we head, a fantastic place to find delicious seafood. We find ourselves overlooking the historic Coffs Harbour Jetty and marina, eating fresh prawns and fish (almost) straight from the trawlers.

Before strolling back to the Holiday Park, we head along the northern breakwall to Muttonbird Island. This is an important site for the Gumbayggnirr people and the informative signs tell the story Giidany Miirlarl (moon rising). After a quick, steep climb, the commanding coastal views of the city, coastline, hinterland, and mountains leave us in awe and wanting more. We continue our walk to the Eastern Side Lookout – the best vantage point for whale spotting from May to November. Many photos later, it's time to head back to the villa to wind down and contemplate a possible afternoon surf.

For dinner, the kids choose Element Bar  on the Jetty strip. We’re lucky to catch a live performance from Sajie, a local folk duo making a name for themselves.

We feast on delicious share platters, enjoy a variety of local brews, and meet some of the friendly regulars.

From our conversations, it’s obvious that folks who call Coffs home are shaped by its stunning natural beauty and relaxed lifestyle… it's magnetic and we're loving it! 

The next morning we ride our bikes back towards the Jetty strip for breakfast at a little hip café called Old John's. The simple menu covers all the favourites and keeps things local with sourdough from Bellingen's Hearthfire Bakery and smoked ham from Bangalow. This is a place you'd recommend to friends.

The day calls for adventure, and we want to learn more about Gumbayggnirr culture. A 15-minute drive north of our accommodation, Niigi Niigi (Sealy Lookout) is home to the world-famous Forest Sky Pier, and is Coffs Harbour's first ECO Certified tourism attraction. High above the forest floor, this lookout offers visitors an amazing panoramic view from mountains to the coast.

The Giingan Gumbaynggirr Cultural Experience also takes place here. We bask in the ambience of 360 degree views and immerse ourselves in the local ancient culture through stories, songs, language and the uses of native plants. Watching the Wajaarr Ngaarlu Dancers performance and hearing the Dreaming stories of how the land was made is truly an unforgettable experience.

We order a much needed coffee from the Aboriginal owned and operated Nyanggan Gapi Café and the kids jump at the chance to try climbing, soaring and swinging through the forest canopy at ECO Certified Coffs Treetops Adventure.

A quick stop on our way back to the holiday park… we can’t miss The Big Banana, Australia's original and most iconic Big Thing! We hug, we take selfies and jump back in the car with banana sized smiles across our faces.

Our trip to Coffs Harbour was inspired by the region recently becoming an accredited ECO Destination, so we expected great experiences. During our holiday, what surprised (and delighted!) us was how each tourism experience contributed to both sharing and protecting the region's natural and cultural values.

Next time we'll stay longer in Coffs, explore more of this natural wonderland, and enjoy some of the many other wonderful ECO-certified and family-friendly experiences.


Four days in COFFS HARBOUR

A curated holiday itinerary for Eco-Tourism families looking to visit the Coffs Harbour of NSW.

A curated holiday itinerary for Eco-Tourism families looking to visit the Coffs Harbour of NSW. They will research the best location to stay that allows for minimum car trips during their stay and choose adventures and nature-inspired physical activities. A long weekend staying on the beach is a perfect way to reconnect with the family and create some memories on a 4-day holiday in Coffs Harbour.

Coffs Harbour known as Garlambirla meaning 'river oak' in the local Aboriginal 'Gumbaynggirr’ language. 

Stay in Surf Villa at Big4 Park Beach Holiday Park.


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