Coffs Harbour With Kids – The Best Things To See And Do.

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

Big Banana, Coffs Harbour

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

Harbourside Markets, Coffs Harbour
Lunch time at the Harbourside 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

Bohemian Bellingen

Bellingen

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

We planned our visit to Bellingen on our way through to Dorrigo National Park as they are heading in the same direction from Coffs Harbour.

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. 

Dangar Falls
Dangar Falls, Dorrigo National Park

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

If you’re after a country stay, equipped with rain forests, walks and wide open spaces, check out the accommodation options in Dorrigo.

Woolgoolga

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

Woolgoolga is such a fantastic place to visit, check out the best accommodation deals and details to extend your stay at this great little beach side town.

Coramba Hotel

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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The Best Things To Do In Port Macquarie

The Best In Port Macquarie With Kids

Where is Port Macquarie?

Port Macquarie is a seaside town in the mid-North coast of New South Wales, Australia. The Australian coastal town boasts a long stretch of spectacular beaches; as well as, a plethora of shops, fabulous cafes, bars and restaurants.

The popular Koala Hospital and Bago Maze and Winery are not to missed, for children and adults alike. The sight seeing opportunities in and outside the hub of Port Macquarie and the Hastings River, are endless. Keep reading below to find out the top things to do in Port Macquarie with kids!

What to do in Port Macquarie.

Hasting River and Town Beach

Central Port Macquarie

The spectacular Hastings River is the perfect spot to start your Port Macquarie explorations. The bustling walking path oozes a relaxed, healthy and happy feel. The path is lined by a very colourful display of creative rock art all the way to Town Beach Park.

Keep an eye out for dolphins in the River, you will often see them coming in and out of the water and if you’re lucky, come right in near the shore. It was a magnificent sight and well worth constantly scouring our eyes over the top of the water for.

Riverside, there is a fabulous cafe called Little Shack, they make great coffee (with several milk selections) and offered a relaxed and trendy stop with a delicious menu. A place you could stay for hours and watch the world go by!

Town Beach Park has a popular skate park, playground, path suitable for wheels and feet! Town Beach itself offered spectacular coastline, patrolled beach, rocks for the kids to scramble over and pools to splash in; as well as, beach side parking, toilets and the very convenient, yummy and well priced Salty Crew Kiosk.

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

Central Port Macquarie

You will find the Koala Hospital in the Macquarie Nature Reserve, a beautiful green natural parkland. Established in 1973, the Hospital came together as a place to rescue, care for and treat injured or unwell koalas; staffed by a number of paid professionals as well as 200 volunteers. They have 14 intensive care units (8 outdoors) and 33 rehabilitation yards which include large gum trees where they learn to climb again as part of the rehabilitation programs.

The Koala Hospital has been pivotal in the recovery and relief for these beautiful native animals to Australia, in the 2019/2020 bush fire disaster.

The stories we were told and read are a great lesson. Our children were very concerned about the cuddly koalas and were very intrigued to hear why they were each there. Some were due to being in car accidents, dog attacks, chlamydia, fires. Each enclosure had a story about why they were there, as well as explanations about the process of how they’re released into the wild.

This little guy (pictured) is a repeat offender, he was back this time with a bacterial infection in his eye. The care, love and dedication to the koalas is very visible.

Kids will be entertained by the fun facts dotted around the hospital – do you know how many poos does a koala do every day? You’ll have to go to find out the answer!

Tacking Point Lighthouse

Eleven minutes south of Port Macquarie centre

Tacking Point Lighthouse, Little Bay and Lighthouse Beach. The Lighthouse, is Australia’s thirteenth oldest and is situated just 8km south of Port Macquarie. Drive to the stunning headland, or walk the distance along the coastal walk from Town Green Foreshore in Port Macquarie.

From Tacking Point Lighthouse you will enjoy panoramic views of the mid-north coast of Australia. To the south you can wander down to Lighthouse Beach, to the north you can explore the rugged coastline and rocks of Little Bay. There is hours of fun to be had at Little Bay climbing over the rocks, searching for starfish, crabs and fish and watching the crashing waves of the expansive Pacific Ocean.

Lighthouse Beach has an extensive 7km stretch of sand, a brilliant location for those of you who love to walk on a beach. Simply stunning coastline! Enter the beach near to the impressive Watonga Rocks, for the impressive outlook and exploration opportunities for the kids.

The squeaky sand, shells and array of coloured rocks that wash in make a beach wander very enjoyable. This is not a patrolled swimming beach so care must be taken when swimming. If you’re lucky, you may find that you have the beach almost to yourselves!

Shelly Beach

Seven minutes south of Port Macquarie

Yet another one of the several beautiful beaches along the Coastal Walk from Port Macquarie Town Beach to Tacking Point Lighthouse. If you are intrigued by a bit of wildlife, get yourself to Shelly Beach and keep an eye out for a goanna! While he is not to be fed, you may be lucky to have this beauty wandering around under your feet while your eating lunch.

There are picnic tables, a toilet block and plenty of parking to go with this lovely little beach. Explore the rocks, look out for sea life, splash in the rock pools and enjoy natures playground.

Port Macquarie region and beyond

Bago Maze and Winery

Twenty-five minute drive from Port Macquarie

A visit to Bago should be on every family itinerary when visiting Port Macquarie. If you love food, wine and a bit of fun adventure – your visit will have something for everyone, in fact more than that, it will be fantastic! Have fun getting lost in the 2km, well cared for hedge maze. Enjoy a BYO picnic on the massive grassed area under a shady tree. Sample the cheese platter featuring local produce and do some tastings of the unique range of whites, reds and fortified wines. Children can run around on the grass and play in the cubby house. They have live music once a month and Baba Lila Handmade Chocolates is also onsite! You cannot go wrong with a visit here!

While you’re on the road to or from Bago, take the short drive into the Burrawan State Forest, the home of the ‘Old Bottlebutt’. Enjoy the 600m rainforest loop to see the ancient Red Bloodwood tree, which is astonishingly the biggest recorded species of it in the world. Children will be highly amused by the name, as well as the enormity!

Dunbogan

Thirty-eight minute drive south of Port Macquarie

Oh what a beautiful News South Wales town, Dunbogan is! You’ll instantly fall in love with this coastal town on the Camden Haven Inlet. The quiet town has stunning views of the river, loads of picnic spots, a well constructed walking path and the fabulous Dunbogan Boat Shed and Marina.

Make sure you enjoy a coffee or meal at the Boat Shed, it is such a beautiful setting. You can hire boats, kayaks and stand up paddle boards and they are fully stocked for all of your fishing needs.

When you visit, be sure to look at the thousands of fish, if the light is shining nicely, you will see some beautiful coloured fish. Keep an eye out for the graceful dolphins that frequent the Inlet, too.

Stay in Dunbogan, short or long stays.

North Brother Mountain

Thirty-three minute drive south of Port Macquarie

North Brother Mountain is located in the Dooragan National Park and offers some stunning views of the area in Camden Haven Inlet, Camden Haven River and down to Crowdy Head in the south.

For a challenging walk, you can access the Laurieton Track at the base. Or drive to the car park at the top of the mountain where you will find toilets, picnic tables and some easier walking tracks for the whole family.

The vast views from the top are stunning. The trails of the rain forest loop were great and took us to several look outs to enjoy views to the north west and west of the mountain. It is well worth the trip to gain some perspective of the area and the spectacular outlook.

Hat Head

Fifty-nine minute drive north of Port Macquarie

If there was ever a beach town to visit for a complete unwind, low key, family, beach town getaway on the mid-north coast – this place would be it! About an hours north of Port Macquarie, through the Macleay Valley, you will find the most exquisite beach town, Hat Head.

Hat Head Gap was simply stunning – rocks to scramble and climb, lookouts, crystal clear waters, walking paths and views to die for! Do yourself a favour and walk from The Gap to Connor’s Beach, the views are beautiful, it is such a peaceful place and like so many other beaches on the coast, you will barely see another person. Pack a picnic lunch and lap up the peace and calm of this sensational part of Australia !

The main swimming beach at Hat Head was breathtaking, you could spend hours there, days there! The gentle waves are glorious, fantastic for all aged children and adults alike. The water was clear, the temperature was perfect, you could surf, swim, SUP, float or play!

The town itself consists of a holiday park, several holiday rentals, a general store, boat access and a fish cleaning area, the pristine Korogoro Creek and the native surrounds of Hat Head National Park.

Stay in Hat Head, short or long stays.

Crowdy Head

Fifty-six minutes south of Port Macquarie

The coastline along the mid-north coast of Australia, is undoubtedly stunning and this trip will be no exception. Crowdy Head, is another hidden gem along the eastern coast of Australia and well worth a visit! For visitors convenience there were public toilets and Sunsets Cafe, attached to the Crowdy Head Surf Life Saving Club. Enjoy a sensational feed in a stunning and quiet location.

Be sure to visit Crowdy Head Lighthouse and expect to be completely ‘beach-struck’ to the south. All you can see are masses of sand and surf! The Lighthouse also boasts a great spot for sighting whales during the right season.

Harrington Beach State Park is a great spot for 4WD and for having a quiet beach to yourselves! Swimming would be a little precarious and perhaps not recommended, however, running in and out of the shallows of big crashing can be a bit of fun (with close parental supervision). The extensive sand, water and tranquillity is incredible!

Stay in Harrington, short or long stays.

Miss Nellie’s Cafe

Twenty-five minutes south of Port Macquarie

The home of homemade greatness, Miss Nellie’s Cafe boasts a beautiful setting, in the small country town of Kendall; if you’re a sweet tooth, it is a sure stop! It is only minutes off the Pacific Hwy, so if you’re driving past, do yourself a favour!

Miss Nellie’s is a country-style cafe, serving homemade cakes, delicious coffee, light meals, a kids menu and cosy comfortable table and chairs indoors and outdoors. The customer service, dedication and commitment to their business was impressive. Try their ‘ruby chocolate’ treats for something a little different – the ruby chocolate cheesecake is divine.

Accommodation in Port Macquarie.

Accommodation options for families in Port Macquarie are endless! Hotels cater so well for families these days, that you’ll find it difficult to choose between the great choices. Check out the latest prices and details on a great range of Port Macquarie accommodation.

Recommended is Ultiqa Village Resort, which is home of 32 luxury three-bedroom bungalows. The Resort has an indoor swimming pool, sauna, clubhouse, gym, tennis courts, mini-golf, canoeing on the lake and fish feeding. There are BBQ facilities, outdoor lounges, free WiFi, games rooms and board games/puzzles/toys/DVDs all available from reception. Bungalows are spacious and offer the ease of a home-away-from-home feel.

Amenities are at your finger tips reducing expenses while in Port Macquarie. The lake area has a lovely feel, is very relaxing in the mornings and full of life later in the day. Get comfortable by the lake in the evenings, where you can continue to swim, feed the fish or enjoy happy hour as you watch the sun set. The Resort is very family friendly and the service is impeccable, with staff on deck to attend to needs very efficiently.

Where to next from Port Macquarie?

Do yourself a favour and arrange some time in Coffs Harbour. There is so much on offer for the whole family on the coast and inland.