As the first eco destination in NSW, the Coffs Coast is an unspoiled playground of natural beauty. From ocean activities to bush retreats, here are eight ways to experience this stunning region.
With a shimmering spectrum of oceanic blues colliding with the lush greenery of the Great Dividing Range, Coffs Coast nature is a blatant beauty.
Dramatic headlands, pristine marine parks, unpopulated beaches and bush-covered hinterland have made the area an epicentre for sustainable and conscious tourism. Globally recognised as an eco destination and certified by Ecotourism Australia, this remarkably unblemished stretch of NSW’s Far North Coast is a rare and exceptional escape for nature lovers.
Find stunning beaches like Woolgoolga Beach all along the coastline. (Image: DNSW)
1. Learn to surf with Solitary Islands Surf School
Ride the wave of sustainable tourism and have an incredible time while you’re at it. If you’ve ever wished you could surf and feel the surge of elation when you finally place two feet on a board, there’s no better place to learn to surf than the stunning Coffs Coast waters.
Eco-certified Solitary Islands Surf School guides wannabe wave-riders into the crystalline waters of the Solitary Islands Marine Park to turn them into capable surfers. The team selects the best spots for novice-friendly conditions, from Woolgoolga to Sawtell; join a group lesson or opt for private tuition and lock down that long-held life goal.
Join eco-certified Solitary Islands Surf School guides. (Image: DNSW)
2. Take a Solitary Islands walk
Tread lightly and take in the oceanic drama of the Coffs Coast on the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk. Unfurling from the northern point of Red Rock down to Sawtell in the south, the 60-kilometre walk takes in secluded bays, uncrowded beaches, clifftop vantage points and native fauna, such as bird life, migrating humpback whales and the attention-seeking kangaroos of Look At Me Now Headland.
Serious walkers can complete the walk in four days, while more casual amblers can enjoy small sections at a time, dipping in at Arrawarra Headland, Woolgoolga Beach, Emerald Beach and Park Beach.
Spot Kangaroos on a walk through Look At Me Now headland. (Image: DNSW)
3. Go whale watching from shore
Pull on your puffer vest and grab your binoculars to witness the annual spectacle of whales migrating along the Coffs Coast. Making their way northward from June to October, humpback, southern right and, sometimes, minke whales relish the warmer waters of this pristine coastline, where you can spot them frolicking and taking a well-deserved rest.
While you can join a charter cruise and head toward the horizon, one of the most eco-friendly ways to revel in these majestic mammals is by ogling them from land. Top vantage points include Woolgoolga Headland, Eastern Side lookout on Muttonbird Island, Sawtell Headland and Look At Me Now Headland.
Spot humpbacks and other whales along the Coffs Coast. (Image: Coffs Coast Marketing)
4. Swing through the canopy with Treetops Adventure
Ascend to the hinterland heights of Coffs Harbour for adrenaline-fuelled fun under the lush canopy of the Orara East State Forest, not far from Sealy Lookout.
Here, you’ll be fitted with a harness and shown the ropes, swing bridges and ziplines of Treetops Adventure, where you can attune to your natural surroundings and unleash your inner action hero. With 110 challenges and 20 ziplines, your thirst for excitement will be thoroughly quenched as you glimpse ocean vistas, come face to face with wildlife and test your appetite for heights.
Sessions last two and a half hours, with courses to suit all family members aged between three and 75.
Unleash your inner action hero at Treetops Adventure. (Image: DNSW)
5. Explore Coffs Coast’s creeks and rivers
Embark on a water-top discovery of the Coffs Coast’s creeks and rivers with C-Change Adventures. Guiding both experienced and first-time paddleboarders and kayakers through the gentle waters of Boambee Creek, Bonville Creek and Coffs Creek on half- or full-day tours, and sunset and moonlight tours, you’ll be in the knowledgeable hands of a marine scientist who will dispense incredible facts about the region.
For thrill hunters, C-Change Adventures also offers pulse-quickening whitewater tours of the Orara and Bellingen rivers, while DIY paddlers can simply hire stand-up paddleboards, canoes and kayaks to make their own leisurely way.
Explore Coffs Creek on a stand up paddleboard. (Image: DNSW)
6. Go swimming with whales
Imagine the heart-lifting experience of swimming alongside a gentle giant of the ocean. With Coffs Harbour’s Jetty Dive, you can make that dream a reality with a snorkel tour that offers the opportunity to swim beside whales.
Open to experienced snorkellers over the age of 12 from August to September, you’ll be positioned near a pod of (hopefully curious) whales who may swing by to take a closer look at you. Whales aside, you can also join Jetty Dive on guided dive and snorkel tours to admire the diverse aquatic life in the stunning Solitary Islands Marine Park, or embark on a new passion with their learn-to-dive courses.
Dive into Solitary Island Marine Park. (Image: DNSW)
7. Paddle with original custodians
Explore the homelands of the Gumbaynggirr tribal nation with the original paddlers of the region on a Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tour.
This eco- and ROC-certified (Respecting Our Culture) social enterprise experience is authentically Indigenous and an incredible way to interact with nature while hearing the knowledge and perspective of a First Nations guide.
The stand-up paddleboard tour through the Solitary Islands Marine Park layers stunning landscapes and the gentle rhythm of the water with cultural understanding for an unforgettable excursion of connection.
Paddleboard through the Solitary Islands Marine Park. (Image: DNSW)
8. Check into Coffs Coast Mountain Retreat
Nestled in the beautiful Orara Valley, experience the village of Lowanna and untether from daily life at the eco-certified Coffs Coast Mountain Retreat.
Comprising two stylish cabins positioned to absorb the peace and seclusion of the surrounding bush, you can relish in cosy nights by the fire pit, stargaze from the hot tub and surrender to the quietude of nature. Both cabins sleep four adults and are pet-friendly for those who prefer to holiday with their four-legged loves.
Check into eco-certified Coffs Coast Mountain Retreat.
Discover more eco-aware experiences at coffscoast.com.au