Where the mountains and valleys of the Great Dividing Range meet the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, the beaches are beautiful and the hinterland glorious. Coffs Harbour is the only place on the east coast where this occurs and the conjunction of the two results in a region with a lot to offer.
The city is postcard-pretty, built on the harbour and inlets with abundant green spaces throughout and cradled by mountains. There is a lot to enjoy and space to breathe.
For a modern city, it has a relaxed, friendly, and mellow atmosphere. All the services and facilities needed for a population of around 76,000 are here, but the stress is not.
This thriving city is set to become even better. Plans to enhance and expand its role in the region include a renovation of the city centre, creating an engaging and inclusive arts hub, and adding more shops and eateries. Transport is being upgraded and green initiatives encouraged.
Coffs is also a place to have fun with tourism one of the main industries. Fishing and boating are high on the list of leisure pastimes. The Department of Primary Industries says that the ocean here is one of the most outstanding and productive environments in NSW. Small waterways are ideal for land-based anglers.
The city supports a vibrant market culture. About 100 artisans and craftspeople sell handmade products at Made with Love market; farmers’ markets have magnificent local produce; the twilight food market always draws a crowd and there are any number of community markets in the city and the hinterland. The little town of Bellingen turns on a particularly good one with 250 stalls and entertainment in a shady park.
Festivals also keep the diary busy. Among them, the International Buskers and Comedy Festival draws artists from around the world, Curryfest doesn’t need any explanation and seafood is the star at the Ocean Harvest Festival.
Seniors Festival is held for a week each year with free or heavily discounted events and activities. Highlights int he past have included such diverse activities as live theatre, workshops on how to write your own biography, films and art tours, and activities related to technology, health and nutrition.
For lovers of nature and beautiful landscapes, the hinterland is a glorious place of rainforests, escarpments, old-growth forests and spectacular waterfalls and famous for its 13 national parks and World Heritage listed areas. In the Dorrigo National Park, Skywalk, a 70-metre boardwalk soars over the edge of the escarpment, giving astonishing views of the forest and birdlife.
A network of tracks and several camping sites in the hinterland are popular with four-wheel-drive fans and the track on the Orara Escarpment is said to be stunning.
There is also plenty for youngsters to do here. The Dolphin Marine Conservation Park puts visitors close to seals and dolphins with conservation education, close encounters with the creatures and lots of fun. Dolphins, seals, peacocks, turtles, fish and a flock of Little Blue Penguins. The Butterfly House has an indoor rainforest and maze, and at the fun park adjacent to the Big Banana, they can ice-skate, ski down the indoor snow slope and play mini-golf and laser tag.
And the Big Banana? It was Australia’s first “big thing” and it’s an iconic masterpiece. We won’t hear a word against it!
In case you need more reasons to make the move, here's five more