Sydney to Gold Coast Drive
DAY 11: Coffs Harbour
Beautiful beaches, wildlife encounters, fun parks, a big banana… there are a lot of things to do in Coffs Harbour so we've put together a list of 20 Coffs Harbour attractions along with the best Coffs Harbour caravan parks in which to spend a night or two.
It's all mapped at the end of the article.
Title photo: Coffs Harbour by Andrea Schaffer
20 Things to do in Coffs Harbour
- The Big Banana has been attracting tourists for decades. Entry is free but activities such as the waterslides, mini golf, laser tag, toboggan ride, ice skating, banana plantation tour, and World of Bananas Experience have a fee. Enjoy a banana milkshake or a banana split in their café. Yum!
- Forest Sky Pier, also known as Sealy Lookout, is a boardwalk over the trees that juts out from a forested slope overlooking Coffs Harbour and the coast. Drive up here for stunning views and panoramic photos. There are walking tracks through the rainforest, the shortest being an hour, and picnic tables and toilets.
- North Coast Regional Botanic Gardens has a sensory garden to touch and smell as well as greenhouses, mangroves, a water lily pond and rainforest for you to wander through on over 5 km of paths and boardwalks. The Japanese garden has a lake, an arch bridge and a tea house.
- Bunker Cartoon Gallery is housed in a WWII underground army bunker and has over 20,000 cartoons on display. Admission $3 adults, $2 kids.
- Bruxner Park Flora Reserve is on the hillside overlooking Coffs Harbour and is the home of the Forest Sky Pier. Walks range in length from one hour to three hours.
- Solitary Islands Coastal Walk traverses 60 km of beaches from Red Rock to Sawtell. It’s great for whale watching (in winter), bird watching and swimming when you get too hot.
- End Peak Walking Track (3.2 km return) is a challenging hike through old growth blackbutt forest, tall wet forests and rainforests to the highest point of Ulidarra National Park. The forest is home to koalas and an abundance of birdlife including the bower bird.
- Coffs Creek Walk and Cycle Way is 8km and starts near the pool by the Botanic Gardens and follows Coffs Creek to the beach.
- Sherwood Nature Reserve in Woolgoolga to the north has the easy 3.6 km Falls Walking Track (1.5 – 2 hrs). It meanders along the creek and crosses it a couple of times so your shoes will get wet. There are over 50 bird species including the wompoo pigeon and rose-crowned fruit doves.
- Sherwood forest Drive (50 km one way) meanders through old growth rainforest and over a sandstone plateau taking in some lookouts that will give you views over the Orara valley.
- Coffs Harbour Butterfly house (adults $18, kids $9.50, family $50) you can stroll through the tropical gardens among hundreds of butterflies.
- Dolphin Marine Magic is a small operation with plenty of opportunities to interact with the marine life. The entry fee includes photos taken with dolphins and seals and feeding the Little Blue Penguins, fish and seals. All the dolphins and seals were either born in Dolphin Marine Magic or were rescued with debilitating injuries that meant they would have been unable to survive in the wild. Adults $36, kids $19, family $100.
- Solitary Islands Aquarium is open to the public on weekends. Touch tanks and guides provide close encounters with fish, corals and an octopus.
- Muttonbird Island is joined to Coffs Harbour by a breakwater and is a must. The walk to the highest point of the island provides breathtaking views. From August to April, 12,000 wedge-tail shearwaters inhabit the island to breed. You’ll see their cute chicks from Dec to Jan. You can join an Aboriginal Elder on a tour of the island at night to see the wildlife by moonlight. ($20 adults $10 children)
- Jetty Dive will take you to the Solitary Islands Marine Park where the confluence of tropical and southern waters has created a diverse ecosystem of coral, reef fish and seaweed forests. During winter, they have whale watching tours.
- Jetty Beach is a sheltered beach protected by a breakwater so you can enjoy calm swimming. It’s also close to restaurants.
- Park Beach is a long stretch of natural coast backed by bush and dunes which conceal the buildings of Coffs Harbour.
- Diggers Beach and Little Diggers Beach are little sheltered coves great for a swim.
Eat, Drink, Shop
- Clog Barn has free clog making presentation at 4 pm and a miniature village. Dutch foods are available for purchase.
- Carobana Chocolate Factory makes a wide range of chocolate and carob products. Try the carob coated honeycomb, rocky road and nut brittle. The shop is open Mon – Sat. You can watch the products being made Mon – Thur.
- Artisti Coffee Roasters is a fabulous coffee shop owned and operated by passionate baristas where you can buy a cup or a bag of coffee beans to go.
- Harbourside Markets is a makers and growers market where you can pick up your organic veggies and locally made products, and listen to live music.
Coffs Harbour Caravan Parks
- Park Beach Holiday Park is right on beautiful Park Beach with resort style facilities – a pool and a waterpark with waterslides, fountains and water canons, playground, games room, TV room, modern camp kitchen, BBQs, free WiFi, laundry, showers and toilets.
RATES: Unpowered sites from $31 for two. Additional people $8.
- Sapphire Beach Holiday Park has direct access to the white sandy beach through a strip of coastal bush. Facilities include a swimming pool, toddlers wading pool, playground, games room, TV room, putt putt, camp kitchen and outdoor picnic tables, BBQs, coin operated washing machines and dryers, showers and toilets.
RATES: From $30 for two. Additional adults $15, kids $10.
- North Coast Holiday Parks Moonee Beach is on a sweeping bank where the crystal clear waters of Moonee Creek meet the ocean. Palms and large paperbarks give shade. Moonee Creek’s calm waters are perfect for swimming. At low tide you have direct access to Moonee Beach. Coles Supermarket is nearby and facilities include free WiFi, camp kitchen, laundry, BBQs, playground, showers and toilets.
RATES: From $28 for two. Additional adults $15, kids $10.
- BIG 4 Discovery parks Emerald Beach is a family friendly caravan park with direct access to Emerald Beach through the forest that lines the shores. It’s good value for groups travelling together. Facilities include indoor ‘jungle jive’ play area, water park, heated swimming pool, WiFi, Camp kitchen, games room, pedal kart hire, bouncing pillow, tennis, basket ball, laundry, movie room, sauna, beach volley ball, showers and toilets.
RATES: From $49 for up to 8 people.
Camping and Caravan Parks near Coffs Harbour
Between Coffs Harbour and Yuraygir National Park is a beautiful stretch of coast that includes Woolgoolga, Darlington Beach and Corindi Beach. The campervan camping along here is high quality.
- Woolgoolga Beach Caravan Park is right on the beach and a short walk to IGA supermarket and local restaurants. Woolgoolga is famous for its Indian community and Sikh Temples which are open to visitors on the weekends. Powered sites have beach views. Facilities include a modern camp kitchen with a herb garden, BBQs, shaded picnic areas, playground, laundry, sullage, showers and toilets. The town swimming pool is a short walk.
RATES: $37 for two. Additional people $8.
- Woolgoolga Lakeside Holiday Park has the lake on one side and the beach on the other. The Lake is ideal for swimming, kayaking, fishing and canoeing. It has no pool but you get free entry into the nearby public pool. It has a modern shower, laundry and toilets block which is solar powered. There are under cover picnic tables and BBQs as well as an adjoining picnic reserve. It has a playground for the kids.
RATES: $35 for two. $8 additional people.
- Gateway Lifestyle Lorikeet has direct access to Darlington Beach. Facilities include a swimming pool, hot tub, BBQs, pond walking track, TV room, playground, laundry, bathroom and toilets.
RATES: $35 for two. $15 additional people.
- NRMA Darlington Beach Holiday Park is next door to Gateway Lifestyle Lorikeet and has direct access to the Beach. It is an eco-holiday park set among the forest with lots of kangaroos. Facilities include a camp kitchen, free WiFi, BBQs, laundry, showers and toilets.
RATES: $29 for two, $7.50 additional people
- North Coast Holiday Parks Corindi Beach is a little north of NRMA Darlington Beach Holiday Park right on Corindi Beach with a general store, café and pharmacy opposite. Facilities include a new playground, a new camp kitchen, BBQs, free WiFi, laundry, showers and toilets.
RATES: From $31 for two. Additional adults $16, kids $11.
- North Coast Holiday Parks Red Rock is on the beach at the mouth of the Corindi River and has direct access to the beach and the river. It’s a perfect location for surfing, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking and canoeing. There is a children’s playground beside the park. Facilities include a camp kitchen, BBQs laundry, showers and toilets. The Wooli to Red Rock 15 km coastal walk is nearby.
RATES: From $28 for two. Additional adults $16, kids $11.
Map: Camping, Caravan Parks and Attractions between Dorrigo National Park and Byron Bay.