There’s a lot more to Coffs Harbour than the Big Banana.
And that’s why it was recently named Aussie Town of the Year by leading online travel site Wotif.com. The annual awards see a definitive ranking of the top 10 Australian destinations based on trending data for the year ahead and are aimed at encouraging Aussies to spend more time exploring and supporting local communities. And for the first time, New South Wales topped the list thanks to this beautiful country town by the sea.
The 2020 announcement comes at a particularly significant time for Australian tourism, with new research revealing that one in three Aussies say they’ve “fallen back in love with travelling in Australia” in the aftermath of the summer bushfires and ongoing drought.
So why should you visit the sunny spot of Coffs Harbour? Well, we’ve got five of them which will see you packing your bags. Scroll down to discover our top five things to do in Coffs Harbour!
1. Witness the views from Muttonbird Island
This one might be our favourite thing to do in Coffs Harbour. No visit to this seaside town is complete without a visit to Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve. The beautiful island, also known as Giidany Miirlarl, is home to the precious seabird and is one of the only easily-accessible places in New South Wales where these birds nest, so it’s a unique spot to see them up-close. With unforgettable views and extensive history, be sure to pop by for a short walk or uncover the Aboriginal stories of Muttonbird Island by booking a tour with local Gumbaynggirr rangers. The best times to witness these migratory birds is in autumn (we recommend the “Muttonbirds by Moonlight” tour) or spring. For the warmer months of summer, be sure to scout for dolphins and sea turtles!
2. Enjoy Coffs Harbour’s best pub, The Coast Hotel
Located in the heart of bustling Coffs Harbour is one of Coffs’ oldest and best hotels, The Coast Hotel. This beautiful two-storey pub serves up sensational dishes and pub classics from their bistro, The Dining Room. It also hosts live music every week, is fully equipped with a TAB, Keno and pool tables, houses a wonderfully renovated outdoor beer garden and an upstairs nightclub (open Friday and Saturday nights), and, runs what we think might be Australia’s best trivia, each and every Tuesday night. From deliciously salty Margarita Mondays to Cocktails, Craft & Acoustic Wednesdays or Loud & Proud Sporting Thursdays, you’ll be sure to find a reason to keep visiting The Coast Hotel. For the foodies out there, after a delicious pub classic be sure to munch on the S&P Squid ($21), 350g sirloin($33) or, of course, the crowd favourite panko-crumbed Chicken Breast Schnitzel ($21). Better yet, wash it all down with one of the 14 beers on tap, (including four boutique beers) or one of their heavenly espresso martinis for a real pick-me-up.
The Coast Hotel | 2 Moonee St, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450 | 02 6652 3007
3. Walk Along the Coffs Harbour Jetty
One of Coffs Harbour’s most loved icons, the Coffs Harbour Jetty is well worth a visit. Whether you’re out for a stroll, looking to relax, fish, paddle or cruise, you’ll be able to enjoy it here. The promenade has undergone an extensive makeover, making the jetty a great experience for all, with paved walkways, benches, a children’s playground and picnic shelters. Coffee shops, ice-creameries and fresh seafood line the foreshore – perfect for your post-walk or whale/dolphin-watching (June to November) expedition.
Take a short walk along the northern break wall from Coffs Harbour Marina to the nature sanctuary, Muttonbird Island (mentioned above). It’s a small hike past breeding nests for wedge-tailed shearwater birds to the lookout, but worth it for spectacular views of the beaches, harbour, coast and hinterland. If the stunning water inspires you for a swim, pop in for a dip at Jetty Beach. If you’re strolling by on a Sunday be sure to explore the Harbourside Markets and indulge in sweet treats, fresh seafood, local fashion and flowers, all whilst listening to live music. If you’d like to experience the Jetty by night, alongside delectable modern Australian cuisine, tapas and seafood, be sure to book a table at Latitude30. You won’t be disappointed.
4. Take a dip at Coffs Harbour’s best beaches
When you think of Coffs Harbour’s beaches you think Diggers Beach, and that’s because it’s one of the best along this coastal town. Located across from the Big Banana, Diggers Beach is a surfer’s paradise, with great break conditions. A fabulous spot too for fishing, swimming and strolling, Diggers Beach is wide and sheltered, making it a great visit for all. If you’re able to escape the centre of town, be sure to visit our other stunning picks: Sapphire Beach (approx five-kilometres) and Emerald Beach (approx 20-kilometres) for a quieter atmosphere, even better surf and sensational sunsets.
5. See an event at the new C.ex Coffs International Stadium
The new and shiny C.ex Coffs International Stadium proudly calls Coffs Harbour home, bringing some of the biggest and best music legends like Elton John and major sporting events like the Big Bash to Australia’s best town for 2020. Located on Stadium Drive just three-and-a-half kilometres south of the CBD, C.ex Stadium sits within the Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park, a more than 20HA regional sporting complex with an internationally renowned reputation for maintaining superior playing surfaces in a sport and event-friendly city. With the ability to host over 10,000 spectators, you know you’ll be close to all the action, so why not tie your next holiday in with a spot of sport? It turns out that one in four Australians have a sporting event holiday on their bucket list!
C.EX International Stadium | Stadium Dr, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
And, of course, stop off at The Big Banana!
As an Australian, we absolutely love big things. You can’t deny the guilty pleasure of a cheesy photo next to a gigantic everyday object, especially a piece of fruit (for some reason). But, the Big Banana isn’t just a big thing, it’s the FIRST big thing that graced Australia back in 1964. For the ultimate Big Banana experience, be sure to stop by the Big Banana Fun Park cafe for a chocolate coated frozen banana covered with your choice of chopped nuts or sprinkles, and take a walk through the yellow 13-metre masterpiece. If you’re not a banana fan, never fear, as the Big Banana Fun Park is filled with so much more. Make a splash at the water park, slip down the Giant Slide, take a rickety-ride down the toboggan, play a little mini-golf or laser tag. Better yet, be sure to purchase a tacky memento from the gift shop (the magnets are our favourite), a bag of dangerously addictive candy from the Candy Kitchen and maybe even head in for a quick pat at the Reptile World.
If you’re a chocolate banana fan, be quick to see the Big Banana’s latest stunt with Allens.
The Big Banana Fun Park | 351 Pacific Hwy, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450 | 02 6652 4355