Last week we visited Sydney for Sean’s Windsurfing National Championships on Botany Bay. Because windsurfing involves such a ridiculous amount of gear to drag around we opted to drive rather than fly, to minimise the hassle (believe it or not) and to improve the life of airport luggage handlers. Driving back from Sydney we made a pit stop at Coffs Harbour and decided to do a 24-hour tour around the area. Coffs is about 6 hours north of Sydney along the the Pacific Highway, which has decently upgraded over the past 10 years however the bulk of the roadworks are through the last 80km in to Coffs.
We started off with everyone’s favourite and the most easily recognisable landmark on the Pacific Highway – The BIG Banana. Apparently, Australia has an obsession with BIG things. There is the Big Banana (obviously), the Big Apple, the Big Pineapples, the Big Prawn and the list goes on and on… The Big Banana, apart from being a 12 metre wide fibreglass banana, is also a small tourist park with a waterpark for the young ones, ice skating ring, laser tag and toboggan ride – all built on to the hill of the owner’s banana plantation. Coffs Harbour is famous area for banana produce in Australia – hence The Big Banana! After taking a selfie (must do!) with the enormous fruit statue we decided to go on the toboggan ride. It didn’t seem so popular as we were the only ones there – but it ended up being a lot of fun. Can highly recommend the toboggan!
The next spot on our list was a walk down the Coffs Harbour Marina and up to the scenic Mutton Island Nature Reserve. Even though the temperatures were a bit overwhelming (Australian summer is far away from being cool), it was windy this particular day so the high temperatures were bearable. Muttonbird Island is joined to the mainland by the the rock retaining wall of the marina; protecting the beach from the storms and large seas of the relentless Pacific Ocean. Being one of the more eastern points on the east coast of Australia, it’s home to some of Australia’s more interesting migratory birds. Thousands of wedge-tailed shearwaters (muttonbirds) travel to this island to breed every single year.
Back in town, we headed in to Coffs Central for lunch; the large shopping centre on Harbour Drive; 3 levels of shopping and eating which resulted in us downing a good old fashion Australia meat pie (highly recommend!).
We stayed the night in one of Coffs many motels (calling themselves ‘resorts’ but aren’t really) situated on the hill on the Pacific Highway. On the weekends just over the hill you can stop in to Bunnings, Australia’s largest hardware chain store which puts on an Aussie-style ‘sausage sizzle’ on the weekends with a $2.50 sausage on bread.
Our next morning was spent swimming with the Dolphins at the Dolphin Marine Magic park which you can read all about here.