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Coffs Harbour
New South Wales
Coffs Harbour IMG 4379 - panoramio.jpg
Coffs Harbour jetty and harbour
Coffs Harbour is located in New South Wales
Coffs Harbour
Coffs Harbour
Location in New South Wales
Population 71,822 (2018) (25th)
 • Density 142.081/km2 (367.99/sq mi)
Established 1870s
1987 (city)
Postcode(s) 2450
Elevation 21 m (69 ft)
Area 505.5 km2 (195.2 sq mi)
LGA(s) City of Coffs Harbour
County Fitzroy
State electorate(s) Coffs Harbour
Federal Division(s) Cowper
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
23.4 °C
74 °F
14.0 °C
57 °F
1,699.0 mm
66.9 in
Coffs Harbour Marina Panorama
Panoramic view of the Coffs Harbour marina, NSW Australia, from Muttonbird Island

Coffs Harbour is a city on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, 540 km (340 mi) north of Sydney, and 390 km (240 mi) south of Brisbane. It is one of the largest urban centres on the North Coast, with an estimated population of 71,822 in 2018. The Gumbaynggirr are the original people of the Coffs Harbour region.

Coffs Harbour's economy was once based on timber and agriculture. Over recent decades, tourism has become an increasingly important industry for the city. Once part of a region known as the Bananacoast, today the tourist city is part of a wider region known as the Coffs Coast.

The city has a campus of Southern Cross University, and a campus of Rural Faculty of Medicine University of New South Wales, a public 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 regular passenger flights each day to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane departing from Coffs Harbour Airport. Coffs Harbour is also accessible by road, by NSW TrainLink, and by regular bus services.


Coffs Harbour is a regional city along the Pacific Highway between Newcastle and The Gold Coast. It has become a major service centre for those living between South West Rocks in the south and Grafton to the north.

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.

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.

The Bananacoast Community Credit Union (BCU) is headquartered in Coffs Harbour.

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

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


Coffs Harbour has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa according to the Köppen climate classification system) with marked seasonality of rainfall. The city is relatively sunny, receiving 122.1 clear days annually, higher than Brisbane and Cairns. Summers are warm, wet and humid. Winters are mild, pleasant and drier.

Climate data for Coffs Harbour (Coffs Harbour Meteorological Office, 1943–2015)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 43.3
Average high °C (°F) 27.0
Average low °C (°F) 19.5
Record low °C (°F) 11.0
Rainfall mm (inches) 187.5
Humidity 69 71 69 65 62 59 54 53 57 63 65 68 63
Avg. precipitation days 15.0 15.0 16.6 12.5 11.6 10.1 8.0 7.7 8.1 11.1 12.2 13.7 141.6
Sunshine hours 235.6 204.4 220.1 216.0 207.7 198.0 223.2 257.3 255.0 251.1 237.0 244.9 2,750.3
Source: Bureau of Meteorology


Looking west from Moonee Street after a shower of rain - Coffs Harbour, NSW, 1922
Looking west from Moonee Street after a shower of rain – Coffs Harbour, NSW, 1922
Big Banana Coffs
The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour

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.


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.


The Bunker Cartoon Gallery Coffs Harbour
Inside The Bunker Cartoon Gallery Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour was 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. Muttonbird Island is accessible by walking along the breakwater from the harbour, with the nature reserve protecting a significant wedge-tailed shearwater breeding site. The Muttonbird Island footpath leads to a viewing platform where whales are often spotted between June and November.

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)
  • 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 is supplemented by the Nymboida River. The city hosts the Coffs Harbour Regional Botanic Garden.

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: Open to public


  • Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery
  • Bunker Cartoon Gallery


  • Jetty Memorial Theatre


  • St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, McLean Street
  • St. Augustines Catholic Church, Gordon Street
  • HarbourChurch
  • Life House, 167 Orlando Street (Sunday 9am, Thursday 9am oldies, Friday 7pm youth) Also Bible College
  • C3 Church Coffs Harbour
  • Harbourside Presbyterian Church (Sunday 8am, 9:45am, 5pm at 187 Harbour Drive)
  • Baptist Church, Cnr High & Curacoa
  • Bible Church
  • Uniting Church, Vernon Street
  • Church of Christ
  • Seventh Day Adventist
  • Abundant Life
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints


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.



Beaumonts, Busways, Forest Coach Lines, Newcombe and Sahdras all run service throughout Coffs Harbour and the surrounding areas. Greyhound Australia and Premier Motor Service long-distance coach services which run along the east coast also stop at Coffs Harbour.

Forest Coach Lines runs frequent buses to the northern suburbs of Coffs Harbour and some less frequent services to Grafton.

Most of the Beaumonts buses in 2011 were bought by Newcombe, originally Beaumonts bus service ran in the Orara Valley carrying high school and primary school students from the city of Coffs Harbour to their rural homes.


Coffs Harbour is serviced by NSW TrainLink. Three northbound and three southbound XPT trains stop at Coffs Harbour station each day.


Local taxis are run by Holiday Coast Transportation and operate as 13cabs.

Air travel

Coffs Harbour Airport is regularly serviced by Fly Corporate, Qantas and Virgin Australia. 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 air-work and charter flights are available from the club, which is also working closely with local high schools to provide flying training for students.

Annual events

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


According to the 2016 Census the population of the suburb of Coffs Harbour is 25,752. This is an increase from 24,581 in 2011. 52.5% of the population is female in contrast to the national average of 50.7%. The average age is 43, which is higher than the national average of 38. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 5.6% of the population.

75.5% of residents reported being born in Australia; higher than the national average of 66.7%. Other than Australia the most common countries of birth are England (3.2%), New Zealand (1.3%), Myanmar (1.1%), India (0.9%) and Germany (0.5%). 62.2% of residents also reported both their parents being born in Australia, considerably higher than the national average of 47.3%. 82.1% of people spoke only English at home.

The top religious affiliations in Coffs Harbour are Catholic 20.0%, Anglican 17.9% and Presbyterian and Reformed 3.9%. 29.3% declared no religion and 11.1% did not submit a response.


The most popular sport in Coffs Harbour is Rugby league. The city has four clubs in the Country Rugby League of NSW's Group 2 rugby league competition; Coffs Harbour Comets, Sawtell Panthers, Woolgoolga Seahorses, and Orara Valley Axemen. 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.

Rugby League Clubs in Coffs Harbour

  • Brisbane colours.svg Coffs Harbour Comets
  • Australian colours.svg Orara Valley Axemen
  • Bullscolours.svg Sawtell Panthers
  • Wolvescolours.svg Woolgoolga Seahorses

There is a local Australian rules football competition with three clubs in the city; Coffs Harbour, Northern Beaches-Woologoolga and Sawtell Saints.

There is also a men's and women's soccer league, two rugby union clubs (Coffs Harlequins and Southern Cross University), 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.

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

The 2007 and 2013 City vs Country Rugby League representative fixtures were held in Coffs Harbour.

The city is home to the Coffs Harbour International Stadium, which has hosted FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and a Women's 2008 Beijing Olympics Qualification fixtures for the Matildas in soccer as well as some National Rugby League (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.

The region has hosted international rallying through the 1970s through to the early 1980s. After that time, the events became part of the Australian Rally Championship and NSW Rally Championships. It was the host city for Rally Australia, a round of the World Rally Championship in 2011. The rally used roads from the neighboring Bellingen, and Nambucca shires in addition to Coffs Harbour. The rally returned permanently to Coffs Harbour in 2013. In 2016, the rally was run in November with a Super special Stage at the Coffs Jetty. It was last held in 2018.

Coffs Harbour is home to three locally grown sporting events attracting thousands of competitors each year: the Coffs Harbour Triathlon (bcu Coffs Tri), the Coffs Harbour running festival and the Coffs Ocean Swims, all raising money to local children's charities.


Coffs Harbour is home to the Coffs Harbour Education Campus (CHEC) 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. Australian Catholic University, Rural Education (REZ). 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.

Primary schools include; Boambee, Bonville, Coffs Harbour Public, Coramba, Corindi, Crossmaglen, Karangi, Kororo, Lowanna, Mullaway, Nana Glen, Narranga, Upper Orara, Sandy Beach, Sawtell, Toormina, Tyalla, Ulong, William Bayldon and Woolgoolga Public School. Private primary schools in the area include; Mary Help of Christians, St Augustine's and St Francis Xavier's.

Defunct primary schools

  • Brooklana Public – 1920–49
  • Bucca Central Public – 1910–63
  • Bucca Lower Public (Formerly Bucca Creek until May 1919) – 1896–1978
  • Corindi Creek Public – 1920–62
  • Timmsvale Public – 1928–70
  • Yalbillinga Special School (Amalgamated with Coffs Harbour PS) – 1965–93

Other schools

  • Casuarina School for Steiner Education
  • Bishop Druitt College
  • Coffs Harbour Bible Church School
  • Coffs Harbour Christian Community School

Special schools are public schools designed for children or youth with chronic disabilities or who for other reasons cannot be accommodated in the comprehensive school system. Coffs Harbour Learning Centre is available for these students.

Notable residents

See also

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