One activity that is a typical Coffs Harbour thing to do, doesn’t cost any money and NEVER gets boring, is to go for a walk along the North Wall (the northern breakwall along the Coffs Harbour International Marina) and up onto and over Muttonbird Island (and back, of course).
Muttonbird Island is unique because:
- although it’s an island, you can walk to it because it’s attached to the mainland via the northern breakwall, so it’s very accessible;
- it’s a seabird rookery and is home to thousands of muttonbirds (wedge-tailed shearwaters, is what they’re called officially) between August and April;
- there’s a paved path over the top to the other side (1km return), giving you unsurpassed 360-degree views from the top back over Coffs Harbour, along the coast, the beaches and the ocean;
- there’s a viewing platform at the end from where you can watch for passing humpback whales between May and November;
- it’s a Nature Reserve and the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service has put up interpretive signs with interesting information about the shearwaters/muttonbirds and marine life such as the whales.
Throughout the day, people stroll along the North Wall, and may decide to go up Muttonbird Island or not. Usually the ones with proper walking shoes or trainers on and walking faster will go up. Who needs to go to the gym if you can tick off a trek up Muttonbird every day or a couple of times a week?!
Whether you go up or not (at least go halfway for the view back over the marina and Coffs Harbour!), there’s lots going on to look at when you walk along the North Wall too.
The scene will be different every day: fishermen offloading sharks and other big fish from their fishing boats, seagulls and pelicans in the air or the water, nice yachts moored in the marina, kayaks and canoes in the harbour, people fishing off the rocks on the breakwall, people jogging, walking their dog, cycling, swimming, snorkelling… it’s never the same and that’s why I never tire of this activitity.
It gives me fresh air to breath, great views and things to look at, a happy feeling inside to realise I’m living in such a wonderful place, and a health boost from the climb up Muttonbird Island. What more could you want?
And of course, when you come back, you can say you’ve “earned” that coffee & cake or brekkie at Latitude 30 (halfway along the North Wall), cone of ice cream from the Gelateria, fish & chips from the Fishermen’s Co-op, takeaway burger from The Galley or lunch on the veranda at the Yacht Club restaurant Y Knot (at the start of the North Wall) – so you can sit down and admire that view just a little bit longer!