If you are staying in Coffs Harbour Coffs Creek is the most convenient location for paddling and is accessible from a number of locations. This is a place where you can be five minutes from city life and totally immersed in an area of great natural beauty.
Dogs are allowed on leash on the southern side of Coffs Creek from the railway overpass to the mouth of the estuary, and off leash from the mouth to the North Wall of the Marina. See map for details.
Historic Coffs Creek was once navigable by small boats collecting red cedar from behind the show ground. You will be surprised that the mangroves thrive in close proximity to residential homes and light industrial estates
Coffs Creek bounds the Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens on three sides. The water changes from brackish to fresh the further upstream you go. Along the way you may be accompanied by mullet or wading birds such as Ibis, Egret and Pied Herons.
Take a guided tour with an experienced marine environmentalist. This is a great way to experience the flora and fauna of the area. For novice paddlers this is a fun way to learn to paddle while experiencing an interpretation of the creek and its spectacular beauty.
There are two main launch areas on the creek. One at Dolphin Marine Conservation Park and the other behind Coffs Harbour Memorial Pool in Coff St (upstream). You can also launch at The Promenade on Harbour Drive which affords the option of paddling west to the highway or east to the sea.
Leaving from the boat ramp near Dolphin Marine Conservation Park it takes about an hour and a half to the highway. Generally the tide is not too strong and there are a number of pleasant stop-off areas along the way.
If you choose the upstream option enter at high tide so you don’t get muddy. There may be fallen trees at the upper reaches above the pool which may require portage.
When launching upstream you can follow the creek to the bridge at the Pacific Highway but no further than this. Backtrack past the pool and wind around to the north where after a short distance you’ll pass (a small jetty on your left.
Just past here on your left you can explore a small tributary, for a hundred metres or so, under the Coffs Creek Walkway / cycleway. The creek then takes a sharp turn to the right past the Botanical Gardens. The Gardens are difficult to see through the mangroves but walkways and a bird hide indicate their location.
Further on you pass under Hogbin Drive Bridge and, after a short paddle, The Promenade comes in to view. There is a boat ramp if you need to stretch your legs.
Downstream from The Promenade the rail bridge comes into view and Dolphin Marine Conservation Park will be on your right. Past the bridges you will see the ocean, and you should be aware that the creek runs quickly on an outgoing tide and it can be hazardous. It is not recommended to go past here.