A visit to the lush rainforest at Dorrigo National Park should be on everyone’s itinerary when they’re staying in Coffs Harbour.
Dorrigo National Park is only 65km (1 hour by car) from the heart of Coffs via the scenic Waterfall Way, which starts to climb up Dorrigo Mountain after you’ve passed through Bellingen (very much worth a visit in its own right).
Amazing twisted tree branches (or are they aerial roots?) at Dorrigo National Park
I always take visitors on a day trip to this national park, as it’s sure to make an impression on both Australian and overseas visitors. The scenery at Dorrigo National Park is stunning and there are some very accessible walks that I recommend doing.
The Bellingen Community Markets, held monthly (on the third Saturday of each month), are the biggest and the best markets in the Coffs Harbour region, probably in Northern NSW as well, and perhaps even in Australia.
With around 250 stalls set up all around leafy Bellingen Park, you can spend hours at the market, which has such a good atmosphere and live music and performances that it feels less like a normal market but more like a festival that you get to enjoy every month.
The Bellingen Markets: 250 stalls under the trees in the park
Of course, Bellingen is known for its laid-back character, interesting locals and alternative lifestyles. This adds to the lovely, casual ambience you’ll find anywhere around the town and at the markets as well (cue massage tents and tarot reading stalls).
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
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.
There’s always something happening in and around Coffs Harbour, but I thought it would be good to give an overview of just the biggest Coffs Harbour events and festivals – the most popular ones that are held every year.
For more information on any of these, click on the link to go to the relevant website.
Overview of the main annual Coffs Harbour events and Coffs Harbour festivals:
If you’ve got an hour or two to kill and perhaps it’s raining or it’s too hot to be walking around outside, I recommend you pay a visit to Coffs Harbour’s quirky Bunker Cartoon Gallery.
The World War II Bunker has been turned into a fabulous gallery space
It’s a unique and funky little art gallery housed in an authentic, underground WWII bunker. It’s also Australia’s first and only dedicated cartoon gallery and has the largest collection of contemporary cartoons in the Southern Hemisphere (22,000 works and counting).
All cartoons, caricatures and comic strips have been catalogued and are available in folders and as a digital, interactive display for viewing at your leisure.
Exhibitions – both from the gallery’s own collection and other artists – change regularly and include the Bald Archy Prize and Marnie Yeates’ Nature Photography exhibitions.