Coffs Harbour is halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, making it a popular stop on the quintessential coastal road trip. While the mid north coast town might be just a convenient place to stay a night or two for those making the longer journey, we were pleasantly surprised to find so many things to do in Coffs Harbour, and would recommend it for a holiday destination.
Things To Do In Coffs Harbour
Coffs Harbour Jetty
Take a stroll along the Jetty Strip. The path next to the beach and park area is cement, flat and great for scooting. There is also a range of cafes to choose from and a great gelato shop.
Wander around the jetty to see the incredible variety of sea life living in the harbour. We took very slow stroll along the jetty and spent a lot of time watching the fish swirl in the water beneath us.
The perfect place for a swim, Jetty Beach is has calm water perfect for kids to splash around in.
Muttonbird Island Reserve
While we didn’t see any muttonbirds on the island we did enjoy the walk to to the top and far side of the island, where we were rewarded with beautiful views of the coast.
Muttonbird Island Reserve is home to the wedge-tailed shearwater birds, their nests easy to spot as you walk around the island.
We stayed right on Park Beach and loved walking down to the beach in the evenings to watch the sunset and paddle in the water. Coffs Creek runs through Park Beach, providing a nice current to swim down between two beaches. It’s possible to swim across the creek to the other side and continue walking up the beach to Coffs Harbour Jetty.
The Big Banana Fun Park
It’s not an Aussie tourist attraction if there isn’t something big to photograph! The Big Banana is a fun spot not just to pose for a photo, but also to enjoy one of the seven attractions it now boasts.
Choose between the Water Park featuring four thrill slides and a kids’ aqua play area, a six-lane giant slide that’s the biggest slide of its kind in Australia, a 600m Toboggan ride, Laser Tag, Mini Golf, Theatre and Plantation tour, ice skating rink and Candy Kitchen, where you can see candy being made.
Get more info on visiting the Big Banana Fun Park online.
Coffs Harbour Butterfly House
Step inside an aviary filled with hundreds of live butterflies. What an amazing experience to walk among these delicate creatures and watch them flutter, sip nectar and lay eggs. We even saw butterflies hatching from their chrysalis and had a few land on us.
Tip: wear bright colours if you want to make friends with butterflies! The scones from the on-site cafe are amazing.
Before leaving the Butterfly House, take a wander through the maze and see how quickly you can find your way out again.
Get more info on visiting the Butterfly House online.
This pretty little town is just south of Coffs Harbour. It has pretty beaches to explore, excellent cafes and is also right by the Bongil Bongil National Park. We loved dining at Treeo, recommended to us very correctly as the best cafe in the area. Excellent food and friendly staff made for the perfect cafe experience.
A 30 minute drive south-west of Coffs Harbour will bring you to Bellingen, a pretty little town filled with excellent cafes and boutiques. Bellingen likes on the Banks of the Bellinger River, which lends itself to plenty of water activities.
You must stop by the Sweet Bellingen candy store! The locally produced chocolates are delicious
Dorrigo National Park
Another 30 minutes past Bellingen, or an hour from Coffs Harbour, is the town of Dorrigo. Dorrigo is home to the Dorrigo National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. It’s a stunningly beautiful rainforest with waterfall walks and a wide range of wildlife, including red-necked pademelons (they look kind of like quokkas), the regent bowerbird and wompoo fruit-dove.
Start your visit to the Dorrigo National Park with a visit to the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and Canopy Cafe. Staff at the Rainforest Centre will give you a map and tips on areas to explore. Before embarking on your bushwalking adventure, stroll out on the Skywalk, a 70m boardwalk through the treetops, 21 metres above the rainforest. The view from the lookout at the end of the boardwalk is stretches over the Bellingen Valley and is just spectacular.
Get more info on visiting the Dorrigo National Park here.
This 30-metre waterfall is a 2km drive north of the Dorrigo town centre. Dangar Falls is really a winner if you need a waterfall that is accessible without a long walk to reach it. The car park is right next to the viewing platform, making it the most easily accessible waterfall I’ve ever seen.
There is a walking trail that leads to the river at the bottom of the waterfall if you’re feeling more adventurous. We stayed at the top and enjoyed the little playground before hopping back into the car.
The Honey Place
Located in Urunga, south of Coffs Harbour, The Honey Place is a delightful detour on your drive into or out of Coffs. The glass display beehive lets you get as close as possible to a working hive with no risk of being stung.
Friendly Australian native bees (non-stinging) also fly around the outdoor area although they were hiding on the day we visited. Try a range of locally made honey – it’s so good you’ll want to take it all home with you!
Get more info on visiting The Honey Place here.
This 1km boardwalk starts in the town of Urunga, passes along the Kalang River to where it meets the Bellingen River and the ocean. There are stunning views over the entire length of the boardwalk on both sides up to the Great Diving Range and Nambucca Heads.
An abundance of wildlife lives in the water and mangroves. We only saw a pelican but if you’re lucky you’ll see more! The entire boardwalk is wheelchair and stroller accessible.
More info about Coffs Harbour
Coffs Harbour is 540 km (340 mi) north of Sydney, and 390 km (240 mi) south of Brisbane.
Where to stay in Coffs Harbour
Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park
We stayed at the Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park, right on Park Beach, Coffs Harbour. The Holiday Park has caravan and camping sites, as well as self-contained cabins. We stayed in a two bedroom cabin and were happy with having plenty of amenities at our fingertips, such as a full kitchen and seperate lounge/dining area.
The holiday park has plenty to entertain the kids, including a resort-style pool with slides and splash features, and a large inflatable jumping pillow that would have entertained my six-year-old all day, ever day, forever.
Other amenities at the Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park include a kitchen and dining area for those camping, bathroom blocks and clean BBQs.
The two playgrounds for big and small kids and games room are also popular for the junior set.
Get more info on the Big 4 Park Beach Holiday Park here.
Looking for more things to do in Coffs Harbour?
Heading down to Sydney? Check out things to do in Sydney with kids and the best free things to do in Sydney here.
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!