COFFS HARBOUR WITH KIDS
Where is Coffs Harbour?
Coffs Harbour is located in the mid north coast of the Eastern Australian coast. It is one of the largest urban centres on the Northern coast of New South Wales. By car, Coffs Harbour to Sydney is roughly 5 and a half hours; and, from Coffs Harbour to Brisbane, slightly less at 4 and a half hours. Coffs Harbour, along with Port Macquarie, is one of the many great places to visit between Sydney and Brisbane.
Coffs Harbour is a popular stopping point on the coast between the two capital cities. Don’t be in a rush, however, Coffs has so much to see and do for the whole family – it certainly is a destination in itself!
There is so much to do in and just outside Coffs Harbour with kids – food, beaches, attractions, adventure activities, walks and so much exploration.
Things to do with kids in Coffs Harbour
Coffs Harbour Fishermans Co-Op
If you are seafood lover, you cannot go to Coffs Harbour and not get yourself a meal from the Fishermans Co-Op. It is situated in the heart of the Coffs Harbour International Marina, surrounded by other cafes and restaurants, boutique shops, ample car parking and is directly next to the walk way which takes you over to Mutton Bird Island.
With generous size servings, fresh seafood and perfectly cooked produce, the Co-Op is a great choice for a meal.
While you’re there, meander towards the Island, alongside the Marina. Marvel at the boats and enjoy the beautiful clear waters. Keep your eyes peeled for fish down below, there is a great range of sizes.
Just before you get to Mutton Bird Island, there is a spectacular spot to swim and snorkel (for confident swimmers) – the water is exceptional!
Charlesworth Bay Beach
Just a short 10-minute drive north from the Coffs Harbour Marina, you will find Charlesworth Bay Beach, a quiet little beach with most divine coloured rocks and stones of all sizes in the water. Such a fabulous time can be had exploring the rocks and pools and splashing through the waves.
Dolphin Marine Conservation Park
A visit to the Coffs Harbour Dolphin Marine Conservation Centre is a must! It is a small centre which offers an intimate, up close experience with some beautiful marine animals. You’ll see a range of fish, turtles, feed penguins and fish and receive kisses on the cheek from a dolphin.
You’ll be mesmerised by the grace and wow’d by the seal and dolphin display, all along with a strong message – to save and care for our marine life. For more information on the conservation, education and how they care for the beautiful animals, have a look at their website – it is excellent.
Family tickets are close to $100, however, once you are there, you will experience all of the above mentioned ‘add-ons’ for no additional price. Keep an eye out for a $10 off voucher in one of the tourist mags!
Food was available to purchase at the well priced cafe, which included a sausage sizzle. There are picnic tables and a grassed area for you to also bring a packed lunch.
There are many additional dolphin experiences on off at extra cost, get in early to book your spot if this is of interest, they looked incredible!
Sealy Lookout Bruxner Park, Sky Pier
Do yourself a favour and take the 6km drive off the Pacific Highway (north of Coffs Harbour) through the banana plantations and into the lush green Orara East State Forest. Sealy Lookout is 310m above Coffs Harbour and the view is spectacular, giving you great perspective of the area, including the Solitary Islands Marine Park; on a clear day you can see 100km to the south.
The Sky Pier itself is an impressive structure, it projects 21.6m from the original lookout. A novel idea for kids, given the size of it and there being “nothing holding it up at one end”.
There are toilets, picnic tables and if you’re lucky, a coffee van! For the adventurous individuals and families, the Tree Tops Adventure Park is just up the road as well!
The Big Banana
Aussie’s love their ‘BIG’ things and therefore you cannot miss The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour! It is located roadside heading north on the Pacific Highway, not only can you not miss it visually, but you have also got to go in and have a look around.
There is so much to do there, so much flexibility in buying tickets for the different attractions, which is fantastic for families travelling on a budget!
There is lots of parking behind the Banana and the entire complex has a very happy and friendly atmosphere. The choices of attractions are endless – a cafe, water park, cheese-making, ice skating, laser tag, toboggan rides, race slides and so many more! There really is something there for everyone, even if it is just a cheesy photo in front of the Coffs Harbour icon!
Harbour Side Markets
Every Sunday from 8am until 2pm, the Coffs Harbour comes alive for the Harbourside Markets. You will find the Jetty foreshore covered in marquees and bustling with people – rain, hail or shine; rain, as it was on the day we visited!
The market boasts creative arts and crafts, local produce, live music and a variety of cuisines on offer for lunch. Their motto ensures a quality unique experience for everyone locally made, locally grown.
Accommodation for families in Coffs Harbour
There are so many fantastic places in Coffs and surrounding towns. The difficult part is deciding exactly where! Check out the latest prices and more details on the variety of accommodation opportunities in town.
Love To Travel, Stay-Eat-Do can highly recommend the property, Korora Bay Beach House. The beach is at back door and is just minutes from Coff’s cafe scene! This very comfortable home-away-from-home, seaside townhouse is fabulous! The water is literally at your back door. Enjoy outdoor meals, beach walks, peace, crashing waves, water play, not to mention the stunning sunrises and sunsets. The house itself is very comfortable, lots of space and has everything you need for an easy family holiday.
Around Coffs Harbour
Bellingen is just 30 minutes south from Coffs Harbour you will find ‘Mello Bello’ and it is exactly that! A very cool, bohemian style country town; Bellingen is a must for any food lovers, the choices of eateries are endless!
The Old Butter Factory Shopping Village, located next to the golf course, is a fabulous stop on the way into town. The Café is in a beautiful old building with high ceilings as well as outdoor table settings; the choices for meals were extensive, family friendly, easy parking and lots of space for kids to wander if they are of curious mind. The boutique stores within the village consisted of leather, homewares, woodwork, gift ware and a lovely community gallery.
Bellingen is a food lovers haven, making it very difficult to choose where to stop and eat when you have limited time. The very chic, 5 Church St, won us over and we were served the most amazing homemade cakes, to go with coffee and hot chocolates. The chocolate beetroot was deliciously rich and the carrot cake with a hint of ginger was divine!
Accommodation for families
If you’re looking for a relaxed and inland place to stay in the Coffs area, Bellingen would be a fantastic choice! There are many choices that you can see the most up to date prices and details, on accommodation.
Dangar Falls, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park & Dorrigo National Park
Dorrigo National Park is located just an hour from Coffs Harbour, you will find the beautifully rich, World-Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforest, Dorrigo National Park. You could simply spend days exploring the natural wonders – walking tracks, waterfalls, wildlife, lookouts and picnic areas. The drive up the mountain through the rainforest was stunning; steep and maybe a little narrow in parts but lush, green and very fresh.
If you love rainforests and waterfalls, a trip to Dangar Falls is a no-brainer. You’ll find the Falls located just 1.2km north of Dorrigo, the car park is at the top of the falls and there is a small lookout from there, giving you a spectacular front-on view from above.
There is a walking track to the pool of the falls which takes about 10-20 minutes. The walk is not difficult, however, there are some stairs and slippery un-made tracks towards the bottom. If you are fortunate enough to visit Dangar Falls soon after heavy rainfall in the area, there will be plenty of cascading water to enjoy.
At the car park there is a toilet block, playground, plenty of room to picnic and a little way along the walking track, you’ll find a labyrinth. If you’re there in Spring time, you will see the cliff lines filled with wildflowers. A trip to Dangar Falls, through Dorrigo National Park is well worth it and will not disappoint.
Accommodation for families
Twenty-five minutes north of Coffs Harbour, you will find the fun, upbeat, casual, family friendly, coastal town of Woolgoolga. Be welcomed to the town with a big “Welcome to Woopi” by locals. This friendly New South Wales beach side town is one you will fall instantly in love with and a perfect choice for families.
Surfing, jet skiing, beach cricket, rock pools, body boarding, walking tracks, free barbecues, a beach side playground and caravan and a main street full of cool cafes and coffee spots – it is any wonder it is a popular place to visit.
White Salt is highly recommended; melt-in-your-mouth seafood, fat chips and amazing potato scallops.
From the patrolled beach, head south along the 1.7km stretch of Woolgoolga Beach and make your way to the Woolgoolga Lookout; the expansive views north and south of the Headland are simply stunning.
Watch out for the sail boats out on the water and enjoy the company of lounging kangaroos alongside the walking tracks. During the whale season it is a prime vantage spot for seeing humpbacks cruising by.
You can also access the Lookout by car and enjoy some shorter walking trails from the car park. Woopi also features the Woolgoolga Lake where you can practice your skills on a stand-up paddle board or kayak.
Accommodation for families
If you are looking for a great country pub to have a meal, look no further than the Coramba Pub. It is just a short 20-minute picturesque drive north west from Coffs Harbour.
The food is fabulous, generous and wholesome and the service is great. The beer garden comes with spectacular countryside views and lots of room for kids to run around.
There are lots of specials, including a $12 lunch menu where there is certainly no compromise on quality! It is quiet and has a relaxed casual feel, a fantastic spot to take the family for a great affordable pub meal.
The Coramba Pub advertise regularly on their Facebook page, look out for their specials and special events which often feature live music.
Coramba is in a beautiful part of the Coffs Harbour area. If you’re looking for somewhere a little more quiet to stay, check out what is available here.
From Coffs Harbour
Be sure to stop in at Port Macquarie, there are so many more fabulous places to visit, things to do and beaches to enjoy!
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