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Coffs Harbour

New South Wales, Australia

Coffs harbour.jpg
Coffs Harbour jetty and harbour, including Muttonbird Island, looking north

Coffs Harbour is located in New South Wales
Coffs Harbour
Population: 26,353 (2006)[1]
Established: 1870s
Postcode: 2450
Coordinates: 30°18′08″S 153°07′08″E / -30.30228, 153.118896Coordinates: 30°18′08″S 153°07′08″E / -30.30228, 153.118896
Elevation: 21 m (69 ft) [2]
LGA: City of Coffs Harbour
State District: Coffs Harbour
Federal Division: Cowper
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
23.3 °C
74 °F
14.0 °C
57 °F
1,674.6 mm
65.9 in

File:Coffs harbour location map in New South Wales.PNG

Coffs Harbour is a coastal city located on the north coast of New South Wales about 540 km (340 mi) north of Sydney, 385 km (239 mi) north of Newcastle, and 440 km (270 mi) south of Brisbane. The region has a wintertime population of over 70,000 people that swells to 100,000 in the holiday seasons. Popular with people wanting to relocate from big cities to small towns on the coast or in rural areas, Coffs Harbour continues to grow at an exceptional rate, with a population projection of 80,000 by the year 2016.

According to the CSIRO, Coffs Harbour has the most liveable climate in Australia, and it is nestled between a high mountain backdrop and dozens of "unspoiled" beaches. Coffs Harbour's economy is based mainly on farming (of bananas), tourism, and manufacturing.[3]

The city has a campus of Southern Cross University, a public[4] and a private hospital, several radio stations, and three major shopping centres. Coffs Harbour is near numerous National Parks, including a Marine National Park. There are multiple regular passenger flights each day to Sydney, Brisbane and Port Macquarie. Coffs Harbour is also accessible by road, by Countrylink trains, and by regular bus services.


The greater Coffs Harbour city is broken up into several suburb and precinct areas including:

  • Boambee
  • Toormina
  • Coffs Harbour City Centre (City Centre)
  • Coffs Harbour Jetty (Jetty)
  • North Boambee Valley
  • Diggers Beach
  • Korora
  • Moonee Beach
  • Park Beach
  • Red Hill
  • South Coffs
  • West Coffs
  • West Korora
  • Sapphire Beach

The city is surrounded by outlying towns which are referred to as suburbs of the Coffs Coast Region:

Sawtell, 10 km south along Hogbin Drive from the city has become a satellite suburb of Coffs Harbour, with it increasingly referred to as being part of the city instead of its own entity as a town.

Coffs Harbour is also one of many regional cities along the Pacific Highway between Newcastle and The Gold Coast. The city's close proximity to the centre of the mid and north coasts makes it a comfortable drive from either end of the highway. It has become a major service centre for those living between South West Rocks in the south and Grafton to the north.

The surrounding region is dominated by coastal resorts and apartments with hinterland hills and mountains covered by forests, banana plantations, and other farms. It is the only place in New South Wales where the Great Dividing Range meets the Pacific Ocean.


Coffs Harbour has a humid subtropical climate with marked seasonality of rainfall.

Climate data for Coffs Harbour
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 26.9
Average low °C (°F) 19.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 183
Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology Climate Data[5]


By the early 1900s, the Coffs Harbour area had become an important timber production centre. Before the opening of the North Coast Railway Line, the only way to transport large items of heavy but low value, such as timber, was by coastal shipping. This meant sawmillers on the North Coast were dependent on jetties either in rivers or off beaches for exporting their timber. Timber tramways were constructed to connect the timber-getting areas, the sawmills and jetties built into the ocean at Coffs Harbour.[6]


Coffs Harbour owes its name to John Korff, who named the area Korff's Harbour when he was forced to take shelter from storm in the area in 1847. Its name was accidentally changed by the surveyor for the crown when he reserved land in the area during 1861.[7]


Coffs Harbour is the hub for a thriving banana industry. One of the biggest attractions is the Big Banana, one of the first of Australia's Big Things (it celebrated its 40th birthday in 2005), with the World's Largest Banana celebrating the region's best known export. There is also a popular underwater diving spot on a small natural reef.

The Coffs Harbour Jetty is an historically important timber wharf where coastal shipping once moved the timber from the hinterland. The jetty area is the subject of current planning by Council and consultants to develop a cultural precinct and rejuvenated residential area.

Nearby, the Solitary Islands Marine Park preserves a diverse underwater ecosystem that mirrors the terrestrial biodiversity, covering the southern limit of northern tropical species and the northern limits of the southern temperate species. Directly out to sea from Coffs Harbour adjacent to the human engineered breakwater is Muttonbird Island. The island is a nature reserve protecting a significant Wedge-tailed Shearwater breeding site.

There are many national parks, reserves and marine parks surrounding the city, including:

  • Bellinger River National Park (west of Bellingen in the Bellinger headwaters)
  • Bindarri National Park (20 km west of the city, near Ulong and Dairyville)
  • Bongil Bongil National Park (south of Sawtell)
  • Cascade National Park (north of Dorrigo)
  • Coffs Coast Regional Park (beachside reserves and parks along the Coffs Coast)
  • Dorrigo National Park (just south of the Dorrigo township)
  • Hayden Dent Nature Reserve (northwest of Coffs Harbour)
  • Junuy Juluum National Park (north of Dorrigo)
  • Moonee Beach Nature Reserve (Moonee Beach-Emerald Beach)
  • Nymboi-Binderay National Park (north of Dorrigo, east of Glenreigh, on the Nymboida River)
  • Solitary Islands Marine Park (in the Tasman Sea from Coffs Harbour to Wooli)
  • South Solitary Island (18 km NE from Coffs Harbour in the Marine Park)
  • Ulidarra National Park (Bruxner Park and Mount Coramba area)
  • Yuraygir National Park (stretching from Yamba to Red Rock and west along the Coast Range)

The town's water supply comes from the nearby Orara River at Cochranes Pool and the city hosts the Coffs Harbour Regional Botanic Garden.


Coffs Harbour is home to the Coffs Harbour Education Campus (CHEC), a unique concept which is a partnership between the Southern Cross University, TAFE and the Coffs Harbour Senior College. Other universities include the University of New South Wales Rural Clinical School located on the Coffs Harbour Health Campus. Local state and private high schools include Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Orara, Toormina, John Paul College, Coffs Harbour Christian Community, Bishop Druitt College and the Coffs Harbour Senior College.

Libraries and cultural facilities[]


  • Coffs Harbour City Library and Information Service – with branches at Coffs Harbour, Toormina and Woolgoolga
  • Coffs Harbour Education Campus Library
  • Family History Library – Rose Avenue


  • Coffs Harbour Regional Museum


  • Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery
  • Bunker Cartoon Gallery


  • Jetty Memorial Theatre


  • HarbourChurch
  • Life House Orlando Street
  • C3 Church Coffs Harbour
  • Presbyterian Church High Street
  • Baptist Church Cnr High & Cura
  • Bible Church
  • Uniting Church Vernon Street
  • Church of Christ
  • Seventh Day Adventist
  • Abundant Life


Although the Pacific Highway cuts through the centre of the city, much attention has recently been focused on obtaining state government commitment to determining the routes of proposed highway deviations at a number of places including Bonville, the North Boambee Valley to the west of Coffs Harbour and north of Arrawarra to Wells Crossing.

Local media[]


  • The Coffs Coast Advocate – Wednesday and Saturday editions delivered free to all homes. An online index of articles between 1993–2004 and selected articles dating back to 1900 is maintained by the Coffs Harbour City Library, thought only articles relating to Coffs Harbour and its people are indexed.[8]
  • Coffs Coast Independent – Weekly full colour newspaper delivered free each Thursday to all homes in the Coffs Harbour district.



  • 2CS FM 106.3 – Converted from AM 639. Macquarie Southern Cross Radio network shows from Hobart, Gold Coast and Albury; the rest of the time it is an "Adult Hits" station.
  • Star FM 105.1/105.5 – Hot AC station that is networked. Commenced in 1997 as a third commercial license for the Coffs Coast.
  • 2HC 639 AM – Music, news, talk format. Part of the Broadcast Operations Group's Super Network continuously relaying programs from 2SM in Sydney except for the Steve Price Morning Show from between 9 am and 11 am which comes from 2UE. The station was purchased by Bill Caralis in 2005.


  • Triple J 91.5 FM
  • Radio National 99.5 FM
  • Classic FM 97.9 FM
  • ABC Coffs Coast


  • 2CHY FM 104.1
  • Racing Radio 107.1 FM
  • 2AIR FM 107.9
  • Freedom FM 94.1


  • RawFM 88.0 FM



Busways, Sawtell Coaches, and Ryans Bus Service all run service throughout Coffs Harbour and the surrounding areas. The various coach services which run along the east coast also stop at Coffs Harbour.

Ryans Bus Service runs frequent buses to the northern suburbs of Coffs Harbour and some less frequent services to Grafton.


Coffs Harbour is serviced by Countrylink Railway Services. Three northbound and three southbound XPT trains stop at Coffs Harbour Railway Station each day.


Local taxis are run by Coffs Coast Taxi & Hire Car Service.

Air travel[]

Coffs Harbour Airport is regularly serviced by Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Brindabella Airlines. The passenger terminal is accessible via Hogbin Drive.

The Coffs Harbour Aero Club on Aviation Drive supports private pilots. Flying lessons and discovery flights, as well as airwork/charter flights are available from the club, which is also working closely with local high schools to provide flying training for students.

Flying lessons and discovery flights, as well as airwork/charter flights are available from Coffs Coast Aviation Centre, which is also working closely with local high schools to provide flying training for students.


The city has 4 clubs in the Country Rugby League of NSW's Group 2 rugby league competition; Coffs Harbour Comets, Sawtell Panthers, Woolgoolga Seahorses, and Orara Valley Axeman. All clubs offer entries in age groups ranging from under 7s to first grade. The Sawtell Panthers are the current champions in first grade and under 18s, and Woolgoolga Seahorses were runners up to the Port Macquarie Sharks in reserve grade.

There is a local Australian Rules football competition with 3 clubs in the city; Coffs Swans, North Coffs Kangaroos, Sawtell Saints.

There is also a men's and women's association football league, a rugby union club (Coffs Harlequins), junior and senior basketball competitions and the representative Coffs Suns, field hockey and netball competitions.

In 2001, Coffs Harbour hosted the Oceania region's qualification matches for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. One these matches played at Coffs Harbour was the Australia 31-0 American Samoa game, which set a new world record for international association football's biggest ever win.[9]

Pacific Bay Resort hosted 'Camp Wallaby' throughout the 2000s, in which the ARU Wallabies called Coffs Harbour home.

The 2007 City vs Country Rugby League representative fixture was held in Coffs Harbour. The city is home to the BCU International Stadium, which has hosted FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and a Women's 2008 Beijing Olympics Qualification fixtures for the Matildas in football as well as some NRL pre-season fixtures and domestic one day cricket matches. Coffs Harbour is also known for a great place to skydive due to the hinterland views where The Great Dividing Range meets the sea.

In 2011, Coffs Harbour hosted the Australian round of the FIA World Rally Championship with Rally Australia. The region has hosted international rallying through the 1970's through to the early 1980's. After that time, the events became part of the Australian Rally Championship and NSW Rally Championships. In 2010, it was announced that Coffs Harbour will be the host city for 2011 Rally Australia, using roads from the neighbouring Bellingen, Clarence Valley and Nambucca Shires in addition to Coffs Harbour. 101 cars have been entered for this event, based at Coffs Harbour Airport.

Coffs Coast residents[]

  • Liz Cambage - basketball player
  • Russell Crowe – actor
  • Danny Glover – actor
  • Andrew Farrar – rugby league footballer and coach
  • Kevin Gordon – rugby league footballer
  • Clint Greenshields – rugby league footballer
  • David Helfgott – concert pianist
  • Deborah Knight – news journalist for the Nine Network
  • Emma Moffatt – triathlete, Beijing Olympics Bronze medallist
  • Sean Murray – actor, most famous for playing Timothy McGee on American crime drama NCIS
  • George Negus – author, journalist, and current affairs presenter
  • Jack ThompsonAFI award winning actor

Annual events[]

  • National Touch League (March)
  • Coffs Coast International Buskers Festival (October)


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Coffs Harbour (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "Coffs Harbour". Climate Averages for Australian Sites. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 24 November 2006. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Coffs Harbour Base Hospital ::: North Coast Area Health Service. (27 September 2007). Retrieved on 18 August 2011.
  5. ^ "Climate Data". Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 14 September 2009. 
  6. ^ The Timber Tramways of Coffs Harbour Longworth, Jim Australian Railway History, June, 2006 pp214-223
  7. ^ Coffs Harbour Library, Local Place Names, 
  8. ^
  9. ^ World Cup: Australia score 31 in World Cup. Telegraph (11 April 2001). Retrieved on 18 August 2011.

Raft Race Coffs Harbour Jetty hosted by Life House of Orlando Street

Further reading[]

External links[]

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