Coffs Harbour is a thriving eco-tourism destination overflowing with outdoor experiences, family-friendly attractions, local food and drink offerings and action-packed adventures.
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.
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.
Day 1: Arrive check 2 – 3 pm – Villa Park Beach Holiday Park
• Walk or bike around Coffs Creek to Harbour Jetty Marina
• Swim at Jetty Beach
• Dinner at Twilight Food Market with a picnic at Park Beach Reserve
Leave the Pacific Highway to arrive at the Big4 Park Beach Holiday Park in Coffs Harbour with a car packed with all the essentials for a fun family weekend. The kids are eager to explore the park facilities, the mini-golf course, jumping pillow or swimming pool. At the same time, the parents unpack surfboards and bikes and unload the gear from the car.
It’s time to get out and explore on a family bike ride along the Coastal Creek Reserve. Ride past North Wall beach onto the beautiful Jetty Foreshores and out towards the Southern Breakwall, stopping at the historical 700-metre Jetty at Coffs Harbour Jetty Beach. Stop for a swim at Jetty Beach and watch the sup boarders paddling around the Jetty on the return ride. (1 ½ hrs)
For dinner, stroll over to the Coffs Creek Reserve for delicious flavour options at the Twilight Food Market. Watch the sunset on the hill with a few drinks listening to a local entertainer belt out some tunes while the kids explore the reserve. (2 hrs)
Day 2. Plenty of Outdoor Adventure and Culture
• Early Morning Surf at Park Beach
• Breakfast at Surf Club Restaurant and Bar
• Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours Coffs Creek
• Lunch at Cafe Aqua
• Treetops Adventures or Gumgali Track Walk at Sealy Lookout
• Dinner at Element Bar
Other Experience Options: Dolphin Marine Conservation Park – Animal Carer Experience, Big Banana Laser Tag & Giant Slide. Don’t forget the Family Selfie out the front and sample the famous Banana Split
The day starts with an early morning surf at Park Beach or cruise 1km ride North to the end of Ocean Parade for a surf at Macauleys Beach. The exposed left-handed point break frequently offers surfable waves at all tide stages. (1hr)
Stroll over to the Surf Club Restaurant and Bar for breakfast and grab a coffee on the way out, and we highly recommend the Vego Big Brekkie with bacon. (1hr)
Head to Coffs Creek for the award-winning ECO Certified Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours. This experience is a life-changing tour where the family will touch, feel, and taste the soul of Gumbaynggirr country. Learn about culture and history through a 100% authentic cultural experience and knowledge, perfect for curious young minds. (2.5hrs)
After lunch at Café Aqua head North along the Pacific Highway, turning off at Bruxner Park Road as you wind your way through blueberry farms before arriving at the Eco Accredited Orara East State Forest and Sealy Lookout (Niigi Niigi)
It’s time to strap in and climb up through the trees at Treetop Adventures for an afternoon monkeying around in the trees. The family will be swinging on one of twenty ziplines and climbing through rope courses. Grab a coffee or cake from the Nyanggan Gapi Café before you take a bush walk on the Gumgail track. Learn the local indigenous dreaming story of Gumgali, the Black Goanna and expressed through timber and metal sculptures, murals and signage. Make sure to spot all the goannas along the walk. (2.5hrs)
Dinner at Element Bar of pizzas all around followed by dessert. The Bar offers a laidback coastal vibe with a great selection of wines, cocktails, spirits and tap beer for the parents as the family eats out in the alfresco dining area.
Day 3 Sunday: On the Water with Nature
• Breakfast on the go – Old Johns
• Whale Watching / Swim with Whales (Seasonal) or Solitary Eco Adventure Boat Rides
• Coffs Jetty Markets fresh produce and locally made treats
• Picnic lunch at Botanic Gardens. Eco Quest search for birds, plants and animals
• Family bike ride around Coffs Creek or snorkelling at the Jetty
• Dinner of Fresh Prawns from Fishermen’s Coop & local produce from the markets
The morning starts with a coffee, muffin, acai bowls and smoothies from Old Johns at the Jetty Strip. (1hr)
Get ready for the excitement of a fast boat ride with the fantastic crew at the Jetty Dive, Coffs Harbour’s most recent Eco Certified tour operator. Feel the sense of freedom as the boat ventures out of the harbour into the Solitary Islands Marine Park. If you’re lucky the curious whales will come up to the boat and cruise by to check you out. As the family departs from Mega Wild Jetty Dive boat, the kids will be yabbering about this incredible trip.
Take a picnic lunch to the North Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, a family favourite in Coffs Harbour. The Botanic Garden recently achieved Ecotourism Certification to ensure the longevity of its subtropical garden paradise. The gardens are smack bang in the middle of town. The kids can participate in the Coffs Coast ECO Quest, a mobile app game that opens their eyes to the amazing and beautiful local wildlife
Taking in the sweeping views of the ocean, we head out for a family bike ride of Coffs Creek, taking in the abundant birdlife and pristine water.
Day 4 Monday: Soaking up some more of Coffs Harbour Nature
• Muttonbird Island Early morning walk
• Check out of Park Beach Holiday Park
• Breakfast at Supply Café
• National Cartoon Gallery
Start the day with an early morning walk up Muttonbird Island and take in the spectacular 360-degree views of Coffs Harbour and the Orara Valley hinterland. Stop at the bottom of the island to read the interpretive boards for a history lesson of the island’s significance by the Gumbaynggirr people.
Take a quick trip back to the holiday park to pack up and say goodbye to your new favourite holiday park.
Breakfast is calling and Supply Café has just what the family is craving… delicious, wholesome food! Pancakes consumed and takeaway coffee full, there is one last stop before the drive home.
Coffs Harbour is home to the only gallery in a WWII bunker – the National Cartoon Gallery – this is the only dedicated gallery for cartoons in Australia and hosts modern and historical displays from around Australia and international artists.