Top things to see & do in Coffs Harbour, NSW in a weekend.
Did you know Coffs Harbour is only a 3 hour drive from the Gold Coast, 4 hours from Brisbane and 2 hours from Byron Bay? With that short distance, why wouldn't you make it your next road trip destination? Coffs Harbour is an absolute hidden gem, offering a coastline of glistening waters, epic nature walks, remote islands to explore, the some of the best changes of sighting whales and dolphins in Australia. It really is a must visit Northern New South Wales Destination.
For easy access to restaurants, bars and being located close to tourist attractions, Muttonbird island and the Coffs Harbour Marina, we recommend booking close to Coffs Harbour Jetty in the Jetty Precinct.
However the entire Solitary Islands Coastline is stunning, so you could consider staying anywhere along the coast between Coffs Harbour and Woolgoola. Woolgoolga is a great quieter option on the northern end of the Solitary Islands Coast with cafes and restaurants located in the town too.
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Top things to see and do in Coffs Harbour in a weekend:
Cafes - Specialty Supply Coffee & Bar
If you're looking for the perfect Breakfast or Brunch spot, we recommend Supply Specialty Coffee, a mirco roastery, espresso bar and cafe located within the Jetty Precinct of Coffs Harbour. We loved the cool interior design of this cafe along with all of the food and coffee. It's a large space with both indoor and outdoor seating options.
Lunch & Views - Bluebottles Brasserie, Woolgoolga
Another favourite cafe and restaurant we visited was the Bluebottle Brasserie. We recommend visiting for lunch as part of the Solitary Islands walk or drive. It's the perfect spot on the northern end of that Solitary coastline about 25 minutes drive north of Coffs Harbour. They offer relaxed outdoor and dog friendly seating and the food was great! Our highlights were the pesto pasta and salted egg yolk duck noodles (which was the special of the day).
Be sure to stop into the Blueblottles store next door to the restaurant to pick up any locally made produce, we got a few items here to take back home and share with friends and family as a memory from our trip.
Walk along the Coffs Harbour Marina Jetty
If there's one place you can't miss visiting in Coffs Harbour, its the Marina and Jetty. You can visit the old timber jetty, offering perfect sunrise and sunset views of the harbour and hosting a range of park and picnic options nearby.
Don't miss walking along the Marina Breakwall, this offers some of the best views looking back toward Coffs Harbour and over the Marina. There are a number of restaurants along this strip where you can enjoy dining with the harbour views, or also consider taking a day trip out by boat from the Marina.
This walk connects Coffs Harbour to Muttonbird Island, another must visit destination. It takes 5-10 minutes walking to reach the island.
Visit Mutton Bird Island for sunrise or sunset
You can walk directly out to Mutton Bird Island from the Coffs Harbour Marina following the marina breakwall. The best time to visit is sunrise if you want to enjoy the ocean views or sunset if you want to enjoy the sunset behind the mountains and beaches looking back toward Coffs Harbour (our personal favourite).
As you make your way along the path to the top of the island (Just a short walk, no more than 500m uphill and fully paved), be sure to look out for all the mutton bird nesting holes in the grass. Once you reach the top of the island you will be treated to 360 panoramic views over the Coffs Coast, Coffs Harbour, Beaches, Marina and more.
Take the Solitary Islands Coastal walk or drive:
The full Solitary Islands coastal walk stretches for more than 60km across beaches and rainforests along the Coffs Coast, spanning from Red Rock to Sawtell. It is a stunning walk full of epic coastal views, perfect for spotting whales, dolphins, kangaroos, birds and for enjoying a swim.
If you're only visiting Coffs Harbour for a short time and don't want to walk for an entire 60km, it is possible too to drive between the key destinations along the Solitary Island and enjoy some of the stunning short headland walks and beaches. We've highlighted the top ones not to miss below.
Take the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk Section: Diggers Beach and Macauleys Headland
For a short walk, visit Macauleys Headland. Park at the very southern end of Diggers Beach and from there you can walk uphill to Macauley's headland and continue south toward Park Beach. The walk offers incredible views over the coast looking back toward Muttonbird Island and the Solitary Islands. The walk is fully paved between the beaches and would take no longer than 30-40 minutes return, back to Diggers Beach.
Take the Solitary Islands Coastal walk Section: 'Look At Me Now' Headland
Our favourite of all of the stops along the Solitary Islands Coast was Look At Me Now headland, this is a must visit! It is part of the Moonee Beach Reserve, and can be accessed directly from the Look At Me Now Headland Carpark. It's a 15 minute drive north of Coffs harbour to get there and the headland walk itself takes within 30 minutes, being a short, easy and mostly paved walk.
If you're looking to spot wild kangaroos with beachfront views, this is the spot for it, as it is hope to many Eastern Grey Kangaroos. We spotted at least 30 basking in the grass and sun together. From the lookout point, the views span across Moonee Beach Reserve and to the west Mt Coramba.
Take the Solitary Islands Coastal walk Section: Woolgoolga Buster Shipwreck
Further North along the Coffs Coast is Woolgoolga, about 25 minutes drive from Coffs Harbour. We love the small coastal town vibes here. With a few cafes and shops in town, we recommend a stop here for lunch. If you visit at low tide, follow the sand along Woolgoolga Beach to try to spot the Buster shipwreck which can become partially exposed.
The Buster, from Novia Scotia in Canada was transporting timber, stopping via Sydney before making its way to New Zealand. While the ship was anchored during a storm off Woolgoolga jetty, the cable snapped and the shop was eventually wrecked of Woolgoola Lake in 1893 before becoming beached 200m further down the beach. No lives were lost in the incident.
Get your touristy photo at the Big Banana
While we found this spot and bit of a cheesy 1990s style family holiday attraction, you can't come to Coffs Harbour and not get a photo with the Big Banana. It's free to go inside and take a picture, they also have a gift shop and cafe you can enjoy without needing to pay any entrance fee. If you do want to spend more time there however there is a fun park with rides and water slides which might be fun for families, this requires a paid ticket to enter which can be pre booked online.
Visit the Sealy Lookout and the Forest Sky Pier
The Sealy Lookout and tourism award winning Forest Sky Pier are located in Bruxner Park Flora Reserve, part of the Orara East State Forest. It's only a short 9km drive to from the city centre of Coffs Harbour, taking the Sealy Lookout turn off from the Pacific Coast Highway. The carpark is located at the entrance to both the Sky Pier, which is free to enter and open until dusk. The edge of the pier offers stunning views over the surrounding national park, coast and Coffs Harbour itself. There is also a short forest walking trail and picnic area to enjoy the location. For a bit more of an adventure there is a high ropes adventure course located nearby at TreeTops Adventure park.
Dine at Latitude 30, Coffs Harbour Marina
Located right on the Coffs Harbour Marina, with water font views is the upmarket, fine dining Latitude 30 Restaurant. We visited for our anniversary dinner and loved the more intimate experience plus high quality seafood. Be sure to make a reservation in advance if you do plan to visit as this is a popular spot.
We hope you enjoyed our day trip guide to Coffs Harbour. To see more of our other Australian destination guides click here.
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