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coffs coast with the kids

Making memories on the Coffs Coast

New South Wales

The Coffs Coast is a destination for both the young and the young at heart, with an abundance of pristine beaches, adventure activities and wildlife encounters. Perhaps this explains why, in an age dominated by globalisation and overseas holidays, it not only remains a favourite holiday hotspot, but an Australian icon too, writes Natarsha Brown.

The Coffs Coast is family holidays how they used to be; parents and grandparents continue to flock back to its nostalgic shores with younger generations, trying to capture and share the down-to-earth comfort and charm of the area that permeates their own childhood memories.

coffs coast with kids

Family Activities along the Coffs Coast

Host to 90 kilometres of beaches, marine reserves and balmy, subtropical weather, Coffs Coast can feel like New South Wales’ very own endless summer.

Most beaches are family friendly, with features like playgrounds, beach showers, shaded areas and barbecues for cooking up a tasty lunch. With a string of fine breaks surrounded by unspoilt national parks, it is also an idyllic place to catch a wave.

The SurfGroms programme with the friendly Lee Winkler’s Surf School operates out of Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and Woolgoolga. Lee himself has been a professional surfer for 15 years, carving barrels against the likes of Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning. SurfGroms is broken into two programmes: MiniGrom for children aged five to eight years and SuperGrom for those nine to 12, so there is a difficulty level suited to each individual Kelly Slater-in-training.

Considered one of the best places on the east coast of Australia to witness the annual migration of humpback whales, Coffs is truly a once-in-a-lifetime whale watching experience, with its picturesque backdrop of golden beaches and rainforest-clad hills.

Operating daily from June to October, Jetty Dive tours get up close and personal to these enigmatic creatures of the deep, tracking them from the shallow waters of Coffs Harbour to the beautiful Solitary Islands Marine Park.


South of Coffs Harbour you’ll find an endless collection of seaside villages.

Long-time favourite ‘Sunny Sawtell’ is as charmingly pretty as they come. Take an eco-tour, go kayaking on Boambee Creek or Bonville Creek, or learn to stand-up paddle board with C Change Adventures. Award-winning tour guide Matthew Sparrius has been paddling since he was four and has taken over 1700 customers on tours since 2010.

Further south is peaceful Mylestom, known to locals as North Beach, which is a holiday haven for the littlies ensconced between the Bellinger River and a rolling surf beach. A netted tidal pool offers a protected swimming area, shady picnic area, sand dunes and a ‘shipwreck’ to explore.

If you would like to linger longer at the southern beaches, Sawtell Beach Holiday Park is surrounded by natural bushland, brimming with birdlife and the town is just a short stroll away. The award-winning park offers an array of accommodation options to suit everyone’s needs including Ocean Villas, Summer Breeze Accessible Villas, Studio Cabins, and over 250 camping sites.

coffs coast

What to do on the Coffs Coast

Home to lush mountain escarpments, national parks that race down to the edge of the sea and quaint small towns, the Coffs Coast is a sort of Promised Land.

Traverse the bushland, beaches and resort grounds of Coffs Harbour on land and in style by learning to ride a Segway with Time Out Adventures.

After a day in the sun, enjoy the Action Zone Xtreme; walk on water with Ozbubbles; score a slam dunk on the bungee challenge; or race one another on the Adventure Rush giant obstacle course.

While it may be the epitome of tourism kitsch, the Big Banana was one of Australia’s first ‘big icons’ and a family snap in front of the ripe fruit was a tradition decades before taking a ‘selfie’ was even a thing.

However, there is a lot more to this cultural beacon than getting your photo taken while eating chocolate-coated bananas (even though that is reason enough to stop on its own) with ice-skating, toboggan rides, laser tag, a candy kitchen, Max’s Mini Golf and water park.

If you want to sleep in town, Park Beach Holiday Park is located right on Coffs Harbour’s popular surf and swimming beach and offers both cabin and camping options. Catering for all members of the family, the park features a resort pool, barbecues, a children’s playground, a modern camp kitchen, jumping pillow, Wi-Fi, and Kids’ Club activities are held in the school holidays.

park beach holiday park

Outdoor Family Activities on the Coffs Coast

With over 11 national parks and 37 state forests, the Coffs Coast is a nature lover’s paradise.

A day trip through the lush dairy country of bohemian Bellinger Valley, along the roads of Waterfall Way and finally arriving at the heritage-listed Dorrigo National Park , is the perfect way to witness the diversity and history of the area.

Walk amongst the treetops at one of the region’s most popular attractions, the Dorrigo Skywalk, elevated 21 metres above the rainforest canopy and offering views all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Having had your fill of creatures of the sea, make your way to the unhurried town of Bonville, famous for two things: the nearby Bongil Bongil National Park and the beloved Butterfly House.

The indoor rainforest gives kids an ‘Alice In Wonderland’ moment, as they are surrounded by hundreds of colourful creatures fluttering, feasting on nectar and mistaking them for a flower... landing right on their fingertips.


This article featured in volume 48 of Holidays with kids. Enjoyed it? Subscribe to see more!

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