Coffs Harbour is a fantastic hidden gem on the East Coast of Australia. The town is located between Brisbane and Sydney and is well worth the stop if you are making the journey. My family would come here every year for a holiday, just to get away and relax. Coffs isn’t an overly large city, but has a lot to offer. The town is situated between the beach and the mountains, providing some great scenery. You will find mangrove forests on one side and banana farms on the other, covering the hills. The town is home to some great wildlife and if you look you will be able to find bearded dragons throughout the city. The sea is home to plenty of dolphins and whales and the nearby island, Muttonbird Island will let you see muttonbirds in great numbers if visited at the right time of year. The town is famous for its Big Banana, which is a banana farm that literally has a giant banana built out the front, attached to a banana café and banana gift shop and museum. If you get a chance, the food there is pretty fantastic. The Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens is worth a visit if you have time, you will get a chance to see some crazy tropical plants and walk through a mangrove forest.
The coastline and river inlets in Coffs Harbour are a unique biosphere. Mangroves themselves are highly unusual trees, growing in salt water with their roots protruding from the water and soil upward to allow them to breathe. The root areas of these trees create a unique ecosystem themselves. Mangrove forests are home to a plethora of mammal, reptile, amphibious and insect species.
Muttonbird Island is a small island just off the coast of Coffs Harbour, so close in fact, that the city has constructed a walkway to the island itself. You can simply walk from the beachfront, all the way to the island. The view from the top of the island looking back at the coastline is fantastic and worth the walk. On the way there and back you will pass the marina and see some very nice boats.
BANANAS! The Big Banana
The Big Banana, much like other BIG THINGS in Australia is a famous tourist icon. The building and facilities around it represent the importance of banana farming to the region. The hills surrounding the facility are covered in banana trees. The hills above the city make a nice drive and provide a view of the city below, as well as allowing you to pass through banana farms on the journey. If you happen to visit the café on site, it has fantastic banana based desserts that I highly recommend trying.