By Gabrielle Quinn
Halfway between the Gold Coast and Sydney, tucked between emerald green mountains, cascading waterfalls and the cobalt blue sea, lies the picturesque country town of Coffs Harbour. The only place in New South Wales where the Great Dividing Range adjoins the Pacific Ocean, the dramatic beauty of Coffs Harbour paired with its country town charm, creates an idyllic location which will bring you down to your roots and guarantee you nothing short of a beautiful holiday.
Bring along the surfboard to spend your mornings at the sandy bottomed point-breaks or your best pair of hiking boots, because at Coffs Harbour, the great outdoors beckons. Perhaps it is the welcoming nature of the town itself or the abundant resort facilities at Wyndham Vacation Resorts Coffs Harbour that keeps so many WorldMark South Pacific Club Owners returning to the region. Combine the two and chances are you will find yourself calling the Coffs Coast your home away from home in no time.
FIVE REASONS WE LOVE COFFS HARBOUR
Get in touch with nature
Bruxner Park Flora Reserve in Orara East State Forest Only a ten-minute picturesque drive north-west from the centre of Coffs Harbour will find yourself at the Sealy Lookout and Forest Sky Pier, in awe of the breathtaking panoramic views before you. Whether you’re making a day out of it with packed lunches or catching the last sunrays, the Bruxner Park Flora Reserve in the Orara East State Forest offers the perfect photo opportunity. Established walking tracks through the rainforest are easily accessible, ranging from one to three-hour options, just enough time to inhale the crisp spring air and connect with the natural surrounds.
Dorrigo National Park The perfect day trip awaits you, with Dorrigo National Park just 45 minutes’ drive south-west of Coffs Harbour’s city centre. Part of the Gondwana Rainforests, entering this World Heritage Area is like stepping into a scene from Jurassic Park. If not for the elevated bridges taking you into the deep forest, the lush and overgrown surrounds make you feel as though you are the first person to witness such natural beauty. Discovering hidden waterfalls, enjoying a picnic in the wilderness or even spending the afternoon birdwatching, Dorrigo National Park is a must-do on your next trip to the gorgeous Coffs Coast.
2. Step back in time
Arakoon National Park is home to the magnificent Trial Bay Gaol, a picturesque ruin, which once served as a public works prison back in the 1800s, and again in WW1. Located 110 kilometres south of Coffs Harbour, this gaol will have you fascinated and immersed in Australian history. Ironically set in such a beautiful beachside location, the prison site now offers a selection of scenic picnic areas and fun bushwalks along the rugged coastline. No bookings required. Location: 1 Cardwell Street, South West Rocks NSW 2431 Pricing: $7 per concession/senior, $10 per adult, $27 per family (two adults, two children) Opening hours: 9:00am-4:30pm seven days a week
There is something about the feel of local markets in a country town; the cash handling only policy, the never-ending bartering with the buyer and the seller and the sense of culture and belonging really does generate that exciting spring buzz in the air. Harbourside Markets at the Jetty Foreshores Idyllically set under the grand, established trees beside Coffs Harbour’s jetty, these markets are held every Sunday all year round. Showcasing fresh local produce, unique arts and crafts, tasty authentic foods and delicious coffee, wandering down even just to check it out will be an adventure in itself. Free live entertainment is provided every weekend to ensure visitors get the best out of their lazy Sunday… so all you have to do it sit back, relax and enjoy the spring sunshine! Location: Marina Drive, Coffs Harbour Jetty NSW 2450 Opening hours: 8:00am-2:00pm every Sunday
It was the Chinese migrant communities who introduced bananas to Australia back in the 1800’s, and today Coffs Harbour is home to one of the largest growing banana regions in the country. Of course, you can’t go to Coffs Harbour without visiting the 550kg iconic banana! The Big Banana offers plenty more than what meets the eye, from decadent banana splits to mouth-watering banana fritters and their famous chocolate coated bananas. You will need your sustenance because the Big Banana offers an impressive range of activities, including mini golf, ice skating, laser skirmish, guided tours on the history of bananas and an on-site water park! Prices start from $35, depending on what activities you would like to try out. Location: 351 Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450 Opening hours: 9:00am-5:00pm seven days a week
Join the community spirit
A thirty minute drive south-west of Coffs Harbour nestles the sleepy country town of Bellingen. Each year the town comes alive with the celebration of the Bellingen River Festival. As tradition continues, on the first day of November every year, the festival commemorates the town’s creativity and talent, with events rolling one after another throughout the day and into the evening. Live concert performances, exhibitions, storytelling, traditional games and workshops in dance, bamboo, environmental regeneration and artistic creations will leave you with the feeling of real community spirit this spring. Whether you are travelling solo, as a couple or with your family, the Bellingen River Festival welcomes anyone who is willing to get involved. Historically the most significant event of the evening, the Bellingen Community Parade, kicks off at 7:00pm and will definitely be the highlight of your home-grown fun-filled adventure. Date: November 1 2015 Location: Jarret Park, Bellingen NSW 2454 Pricing: $5 donation on entry, children under 15 are free