Coffs Harbor

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Coffs Harbour is a coastal city in the state of New South Wales in Australia. It is located almost at the midway point between the state capital, Sydney, and Brisbane, the state capital of neighboring Queensland. It is one of the major urban centers in the region widely known for its banana industry which gave the region its moniker, the Banancoast. Nowadays, the tourism and fishing industries are the backbone of the region’s economy with blueberries and bananas production as the other major industries. From the inland city center to the sprawling beaches, Coffs Harbour offers plenty of attractions and activities for visitors.

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Coffs Harbor:table of contents

1. The Big Banana Fun Park

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The Big Banana is an amusement park in Coffs Harbour built in 1964 and a popular family attraction among locals and tourists alike. Set within a banana plantation, the park features a large artificial walk-through banana which was among the first of Australia’s ‘Big Things’. Other attractions include an ice skating rink, a toboggan ride, and a water park. There is also an area known as the World of Bananas where visitors learn all about bananas. As expected, there are banana products sold within the park which also has a restaurant and a souvenir shop. The park is the best place to learn about the history of the region while enjoying a day out with the family.

2. Dolphin Marine Magic

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The Dolphin Marine Magic is a marine park in Coffs Harbour that also acts as a rescue and rehabilitation center for marine animals native to the region. It was opened in 1970 and has since then been a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The major attraction in the park is the incredible dolphin shows and swimming experiences where visitors get to interact up-close with the intelligent animals. Other animals in the park include seals, sea lions, green sea turtles, penguins, and a variety of endangered fish species. The park is the perfect family destination offering visitors rare up-close interactions with these beautiful marine animals while learning more about conservation.

3. Forest Sky Pier

The award-winning Forest Sky Pier offers visitors a unique view of the Coffs coast and the mountains offering a great opportunity to take photographs of the picturesque landscape. It is located within the Bruxner Park Flora Reserve in the vast Orara East State Forest. The pier projects 21.6 meters beyond the Sealy Lookout at a height of 310 meters above sea level. Close by is a picnic shelter where you can relax with family and friends while taking in the views of the city below and the surrounding mountains. The Treetops Adventure Park is also located nearby offering a variety of activities for visitors.

4. Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve

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While in Coffs Harbour, it is paramount that you pay a visit to Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve. The island is a birdwatchers paradise and a place of cultural significance to the aboriginal people who refer to it as Giidany Miirlarl. From the island, one has magnificent views of the coastline and surrounding islands making it a perfect photographing location. It is a perfect place to take a leisurely walk while enjoying the beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. The best way to learn more about its cultural significance is through a guided tour which is facilitated by the local Gumbaynggirr rangers.

5. North Coast Regional Botanic Garden

The North Coast Regional Botanic Garden was opened in 1988 and is without a doubt one of the most spectacular of its kind in the region. The garden covers over 20 hectares and is bounded on three sides by Coffs Creek. The garden was designed to feature a rainforest with rare and endangered native plants. The garden has expanded exponentially since its inception and now includes exotic plants from other parts of the world with a similar sub-tropical climate. The newest addition is a beautiful Japanese Garden which features a teahouse, an arched bridge, and a lake. There are many paths meandering through various sections of the garden making it a perfect place for a picnic or an outing with friends and family.

6. Solitary Islands Aquarium

The Solitary Islands Aquarium is located at the National Marine Science Center next to the Pacific Bay Resort Complex in Coffs Harbour. The complex is home to a series of aquariums and visual displays making it a perfect educating and entertaining destination for all age groups. See the creatures that call the Coffs Coast home including clownfish, crayfish, sea urchins, angelfish, lionfish, and many more. It is open daily during school holidays and on every Saturday and Sunday during school terms. The aquarium is deeply entertaining providing an unforgettable learning experience that will remain etched in your memory for years to come.

7. Bunker Cartoon Gallery

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The Bunker Cartoon Gallery is the stuff of dreams. A gallery devoted to cartoons and all things cartooning. The gallery is housed in an underground World War II bunker that has been converted and refurbished into a vast exhibition space. The gallery is arguably one of the largest collection of its kind in the world with its main attraction being the Coffs Cartoon Collection, a huge collection of thousands of rare cartoons by both international and local cartoonists. The gallery aims to promote the art through the exhibition and preservation of Australia’s cartooning history for future generations. With new additions every so often, there is always something new to see at the gallery.

8. Jetty Beach

The Jetty Beach is a protected beach along Coffs Harbour coast popular among locals and tourists alike. Where the greenery meets the golden sand you will find the exceptional Jetty Foreshores Park. The park has toilets, showers, barbeques, skating pathways, bicycles, picnic shelter areas, and children’s playgrounds making it a perfect place for a family outing. Located nearby are a host of restaurants, railway station, yacht club, and a marina. You can also go snorkeling in the clear waters, sample fresh and cooked seafood at the local Fisherman’s Co-op, or visit the Harbourside Markets on Sundays. It is also a popular whale and dolphin watching area as many dolphins and whales frequent the Coffs Coast.

9. Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery

The Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery is home to a variety of works from local, regional, national, and international artists. The gallery offers an exciting program of talks, workshops, events, and exhibitions that will spark your imagination. The gallery aims to stimulate, entertain, and engage audiences through its various educational programs and exhibitions. It is a hub of the vibrant community and the perfect place to interact with the locals while enjoying the many programs and exhibitions in the gallery. It is also home to the biennial National Still Life Award, a significant art award celebrating artists in the genre of still life, and is open to all mediums.

10. Coffs Harbour Regional Museum

The Coffs Harbour Regional Museum is the perfect place to learn the history of the region and its inhabitants. The museum is located in a well-restored building that was once a police station as well as Coffs Harbour’s original Courthouse. Find out the history of the building itself including the trials that took place and the criminals that were jailed there. Hear stories about the native’s spiritual connection with the region from an aboriginal elder, and learn about the sea captain after whom the town is named after and about the pioneering men and women. The museum brings history to life with interactive sections ensuring that even the little ones have a blast while learning more about the region’s past.

◎ Closing

Coffs Harbour has it all, from the subtropical climate, world heritage rainforests, and incredible and clean uncrowded beaches. The town has plenty of attractions from water-based activities, action sports, to wildlife encounters ensuring there is something for everyone regardless of the season. It is also a culturally rich region with warm and welcoming people making a visit to the region more worthwhile. Also, its location midway between Sydney and Brisbane makes it a nice stopover point if you are on a road trip. With a wealth of attractions, Coffs Harbour works well for singles, couples, and families making it one of the most popular tourist destinations on the East Coast.

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