Leisurely drive through the Orara Valley

Coffs Harbour is so much more than beaches. Our hinterland is incredibly beautiful, tranquil and close by. I love driving through the Orara Valley and stopping the car wherever I want to enjoy the view and listen to the birds.

A Saturday or Sunday morning or afternoon is ideal to head out west to Coramba, Upper Orara and Nana Glen. On Monday and Tuesday, you may find some shops or cafés closed, but the views will be equally beautiful.

Find scenic views like this one at Upper Orara all around the Orara Valley

Find scenic views like this one at Upper Orara all around the Orara Valley

From the centre of Coffs Harbour, follow the signs to Coramba via West High Street and Coramba Road. The scenery becomes rural in just a few minutes, with banana plantations, avocado and fruit trees, wide open fields with cows and horses, and hills and valleys everywhere you look.

Take Mount Browne Road, which loops through the farmlands and forests of the Upper Orara Valley, a particularly picturesque piece of our hinterland. Drive up to the viewing platform on top of Karangi Dam (virtually always around 99% full!) to experience one of the quietest spots you’ve ever been.

Experience the utter peace and quiet up at Karangi Dam in the Orara Valley

Experience the utter peace and quiet up at Karangi Dam in the Orara Valley

Just before Coramba, you can stop at the charming Mountain Ash Pottery and Gallery, and in the historic village (1880) of Coramba itself, you’ll find a bakery, gift shop, general store and a pub with a beer garden out the back with incredible rural views.

Drive another 10km or so to Nana Glen, a lovely little village with two wineries and two cafés. I love Kafe Kookaburra, opposite the road from Orara Vale Vineyard, where you can enjoy a drink or lunch in the garden under the trees surrounded by cheeky birds.

The Orara River runs through here as well and there’s a nice park with picnic tables when you turn right in the centre of Nana Glen towards Bucca and Moonee Beach. Great place to relax in the shade by the river with a book and a snack.

When the sun is low, the light becomes magical. This is at the Kia-Ora farm in Nana Glen.

Late afternoon, the light becomes magical. This is at the Kia-Ora farm in Nana Glen.

You can continue on to Glenreagh and Grafton, go back to Coffs Harbour the same way you came, or take Bucca Road through the Wedding Bells State Forest for about 23km until you’re at the Pacific Highway, from where it’s just another 10 minutes back to Coffs Harbour. If you’re keen to stretch your legs, there are several places you can stop on Bucca Road and take a walk along a forest trail.

Besides petrol for the car and perhaps some money for coffee or lunch, this tour doesn’t cost anything and you get to see a whole other side of Coffs Harbour. Just don’t forget to roll down your windows and stop regularly to admire the views, listen to the birds and smell the pure air of our pretty hinterland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*