Coffs Harbour, in Australia, is a coastal city located on the north coast of New South Wales about 540 km (340 mi) north of Sydney, and 390 km (240 mi) south of Brisbane. Its population was 45,580 in 2011 with the greater region having a population of 70,990 in 2012.
According to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Coffs Harbour has the most liveable climate in Australia, and it is nestled between a high mountain backdrop and dozens of beaches. Coffs Harbour's economy was once based mainly on bananas, now being superseded by blueberries as well as tourism and fishing.
The city has a campus of Southern Cross University, 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, Brisbane, and Melbourne departing from Coffs Harbour Airport. Coffs Harbour is also accessible by road, by NSW TrainLink trains, and by regular bus services.
New South Wales
Coffs Harbour jetty and harbour, including Muttonbird Island, looking north.
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 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:
Hayden Dent Nature Reserve
Coffs Harbour City Library and Information Service ( Coffs Harbour City Library )
Coffs Harbour Education Campus Library
Family History Library
Coffs Harbour Regional Museum
Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery
Bunker Cartoon Gallery
Jetty Memorial Theatre
Coffs Coast International Buskers Festival