Looking for a safe yet fun destination for your family vacation post-pandemic? New South Wales, Australia never runs out of fun outdoor attractions and experiences that are perfect for the whole family. No need to visit a crowded theme park or a cramped indoor museum — the state is home to a wide array of golden beaches, mountains, and other natural treasures that all beg to be discovered.
And if there’s only one city you should visit in NSW, let it be Coffs Harbour. The coastal city lies on the Mid-North Coast of NSW, Australia, and 540 km (340 mi) north of Sydney. It’s in the heart of the marvelous Coffs Coast, so expect to be spoiled with a plethora of memorable outdoor experiences.
Pack the beach mats, umbrellas, surfboards, and cute floaties — you’ll never run out of Vitamin Sea in Coffs Harbour.
The coastal city is home to stunning beaches that suit your needs, including the protected Jetty Beach. Aside from classic beach activities like swimming, snorkeling, and fishing, you can also visit Jetty Foreshores Park behind. The park has picnic grounds, barbeque areas, playgrounds, and pathways for blades and bikes.
Traveling with your pooch? Coffs Harbour also has a couple of dog-friendly beaches, such as Boambee Beach and North Wall Beach Coffs Harbour.
Forest Sky Pier allows you to feast your eyes on the epic coastal views of Coffs Harbour from a high vantage point. This 310m above sea level viewpoint, which is only a 10-20-minute drive from Coffs Harbour, sits within a flora reserve in Orara East State Forest. The best part is it caters to wheelchair-bound travelers. After viewing, you may trek the walking tracks through the rainforest and have a picnic.
Have you been dreaming to see a whale in person? Coffs Harbour is the perfect place to be. The harbor is set on the “Humpback Highway”, the annual migration route for humpback whales. From June to November, thousands of whales pass its shores, maximizing your chances of spotting these awesome creatures.
The region has several wonderful onshore vantage points for whale watching. These include Eastern Side Lookout, Look at Me Now Headland, Woolgoolga Headland, Arrawarra Headland, Bonville Headland, and the Southern Breakwall. You can also look into whale-watching cruises for up-close and unobstructed views.
Coffs Harbour may be famous for its golden beaches but that doesn’t mean the land-based adventures are limited. One must-visit destination that thrives in flora and fauna is the Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve, also known as Giidany Miirlarl. Aside from being a perfect spot for viewing the coast, the nature reserve is also ideal for walking and watching birds up close. In fact, it’s one of the few easily accessible places in NSW where the migratory wedge-tailed shearwater resides.
Muttonbird Island also gives you a bit of a cultural trip. The protected area has an Aboriginal significance. The best way to learn more about its Aboriginal history is by signing up on a guided Discovery tour conducted by local Gumbaynggirr rangers.
If you visit Coffs Harbour without striking a weightlifting pose in front of the iconic Big Banana, you’re surely missing out! The Big Banana Fun Park is a hub of exciting activities for the whole family. There’s a water park, a giant slide, mini-golf, toboggan, cheese factory, and a cafe with everything banana.
Looking for a thrilling adventure that will test your family’s physical and mental strength and teamwork? Say no more — the Coffs Harbour TreeTop Adventure Park is the place you’re looking for. The adventure park has over 100 different high ropes obstacles and 20 flying foxes for all skill levels and ages.
Let’s see who’s going to make it through the rope ladders, cargo nets, wobbly bridges, and ziplines! The park also has four junior courses and zip lines that are perfect for younger travelers aged 3 to 9 years old.
If you’re looking for an oasis of calm, with lush greenery, blooms, and water features, bring your family to North Coast Regional Botanical Gardens. The scenic and serene garden has approximately 5km of walking tracks, tranquil lakes, and a selection of gardens based around different themes, including the Sensory Garden and the Japanese Garden.
Coffs Harbour doesn’t only give us scenic coastal views from the shore — the city also has a few marine parks that will introduce kids (and kids at heart) to the wonderful world underwater.
- Solitary Islands Marine Park – The third-largest marine protected area in New South Wales. The marine park is home to a vast diversity of marine life, including tropical, temperate, and sub-tropical species of fish, algae, and coral.
- Dolphin Marine Conservation Park – The park works as a marine animal rescue and rehabilitation facility, conserving precious wildlife including dolphins, penguins, sea lions, and turtles. You can meet these marine animals up close while learning more about them and how to protect our oceans. The marine animals in their care will then be released into their ocean homes once the rehabilitation is over.
Disclaimer: Times have changed, and things are constantly changing due to the pandemic. Before flying to Coffs Harbour and visiting any of the attractions listed here, check online for updated business hours, travel restrictions, booking regulations, and other latest news.
Author Bio: Carmina is a passionate travel blogger and foodie who loves the outdoors. Discovering new places, food, art, and cultures, and writing engaging pieces of content about them make her heart happy. She loves sharing her insights about budget-friendly travel tips too. To know more about travel, cheap airfare deals, especially flights to Australia, visit Link Airways