Well-known for its beautiful beaches and lush national parks, Coffs Harbour is the lively centre of the Coffs Coast. With an abundance of wild fauna and natural beauty, it’s no wonder that Coffs Harbour remains a favourite holiday destination for young families and experienced travellers alike.
Whether you’re just passing through or looking to stay, there are a few things you simply cannot miss while exploring this delightful region of New South Wales. Here are six Coffs Harbour experiences you need to add to your bucket list…
1. The Big Banana Fun Park
If you’ve never been to the Big Banana or haven’t visited since you were a kid, do yourself a favour and make it the first stop on your motorhome holiday.
Built in 1964 as a way to encourage travellers to stop at a road-side banana stall, the Big Banana was Australia’s first ‘Big Thing’ and still manages to stop traffic today. Now boasting much more than just the giant banana, it’s also home to a water park, ice-skating rink, giant slide, mini golf course and a 650m toboggan ride overlooking the Pacific Ocean, meaning there’s plenty to see and do if you’re either young or young at heart.
Learn about the history of the banana industry with ‘The World of Bananas’ theatre and plantation tour experience, then immerse your tastebuds in banana heaven at the café and ice creamery. And if you’re after a special memento to remember your day by, the gift shop specialises in – you guessed it – everything bananas.
The grounds also include an opal centre, candy kitchen and very popular cheese making workshop.
Visit the Big Banana website for more information.
Photo credit: Visit NSW
2. Coffs Harbour Regional Museum
Situated in the original 1907 courthouse and police station, this museum brings Coffs Harbour’s history to life for the whole family. The building has been charmingly restored and features exhibitions exploring the relationship between the region’s residents and the surrounding waterways.
Discover stories of pioneers, gold miners and lighthouse keepers as you wander through an eclectic and ever-changing collection of static, audio-visual and hands-on displays. There are interactive sections allowing kids to get involved and even a treasure trail with clues to follow.
For more information on this historical gem, visit the Coffs Harbour City Council website.
3. Dolphin Marine Conservation Park
If you’ve always dreamt of getting up close and personal with dolphins, then the Dolphin Marine Conservation Park is an attraction you won’t want to miss. The park aims to promote the conservation of our marine environment and is home to a family of five inquisitive bottlenose dolphins who were either rescued or born at the park.
Other animals that call this park home include seals, a rescued Green Sea Turtle named Plugga, a flock of Little Blue Penguins and a couple of cheeky peacocks who roam the grounds freely in the spring and summer. There are plenty of opportunities to get close to the animals, learn about their rehabilitation and find out what you can do to help native wildlife at home.
If you’re after a truly unique and unforgettable experience, the park also offers a variety of premium water-based encounters with both the dolphins and seals, which are suitable for all ages and ability levels.
Visit the Dolphin Marine Conservation Park website for more information and and to make a booking.
Photo credit: Dolphin Marine Conservation Park
4. North Coast Regional Botanic Garden
Just 1km from the city centre, the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden boasts a stunning collection of worldwide flora covering 20 hectares. Absolutely brimming with natural beauty and serenity, the gardens feature several different areas each with its own distinct theme.
Whether you’re looking for a beautiful place to take a leisurely stroll or set up a picnic, these grounds are set to impress both botanical novices and enthusiasts alike. With enchanting mangrove and river walks showcasing the local environment of Coffs Creek, no visit to Coffs Harbour is complete without a wander through this magnificent garden.
There is easy access to all areas with 5km of wheelchair-friendly paths and boardwalks throughout. For more information on this local treasure, visit the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden website.
5. Gumgali Walking Track and Korora Lookout
The Coffs Coast is home to some incredible natural surrounds; from beautiful beaches and foreshores to stunning ancient rainforests. Whether you’re looking for a short idyllic stroll or a multi-day hike, there are plenty of coastal and bush walks to enjoy.
Korora Lookout is accessed by the Gumgali Walking Track – a 400m trail located within Bruxner Park Flora Reserve. One of the Coffs Coast’s best shorter walks, this scenic trail will take you through a Gunbaynggirr Dreaming story before rewarding you with stunning views once you reach the lookout.
A unique mix of nature, culture and art, the Gumgali track incorporates locally designed and made sculptures, mural art and interpretive signage which tell the story of Gumgali, the black goanna. In particular, during your scenic walk you will be able to view the two-metre tall postcards sculpture, a contemporary sculptural seat made from local Tallowwood and marble, and colourful spray art murals.
For more information on the Gumgali Track and other fantastic nature walks, visit the Coffs Coast website.
Photo credit: The Interpretive Design Company
6. Coffs Harbour Butterfly House
The award-winning Coffs Harbour Butterfly House gives visitors the opportunity to walk amongst hundreds of Australian butterflies inside a lush enclosed rainforest. Immerse yourself in the world of butterflies as they move freely about their environment.
Knowledgeable guides are on hand to answer any questions you may have about the butterfly life-cycle and ecosystem or to point out the different butterfly species on display. There’s also a separate outdoor maze where you can test your new-found butterfly knowledge and hunt for the hidden clues.
After you’ve worked up an appetite getting lost in the maze, enjoy lunch or some light refreshments at the onsite café. There is also a gift shop featuring a range of butterfly-inspired mementos and souvenirs.
Visit the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House website for more information and bookings.