Fishermen's Co-operative (known as Fishermen's Co-op) is located at the very heart of the harbour – the perfect meeting place between local fishermen and fresh seafood lovers. It's been operating since the early 1950s, and has been doing so in its current location since 1979. In case you're wondering why it's named as 'Co-operative', it's because Fishermen's Co-op is owned by 45 local fishermen who supply fresh seafood to the shop most of the days of the year. Being located right by the harbour, the freshness and quality of their seafood is claimed to be "unsurpassed", due to quick deliveries of local catches to their retail outlet. They've even won awards for their food - Fishermen's Co-op is the 2013 and 2015 winner of Sydney Fish Market's Seafood Excellence Awards for Best Supplier (NSW). Come and try them out for yourself, you won't be disappointed!
There is a comfortable shady patio directly outside the shop where customers can eat their food away from the harsh sun, and (mostly) away from the pesky seagulls that seem to gather where all the seafood shops are! As with seating areas at most seafood places, please do clean up after yourself to make the next person's visit more pleasant. It's also worth noting that dogs are not allowed on the patio, but don't fret - those with doggy companions can choose from the ample tables and benches that litter the harbour; although there is usually no shade, it's worth it because it does mean that your pooch doesn't miss out on good food and your company.
There is a wide range of fresh seafood and hot food available; it'd be hard to walk away with just one or two items. The Co-operative's Fresh Seafood Shop proudly sells the best seafood on the North Coast, whereas the Hot Seafood Shop offers a wide variety of cooked seafood, fish & chip combinations, and fresh salads. They even claim to offer the best fish & chips in town! Availability may vary between seasons and so forth, and of course, the earlier you head in, the more choices you'll have in terms of variety. The seafood will also be fresher, so it's worth going there for an early lunch rather than an early dinner - they will, however, be open till 6pm every day.
Still heaps of seafood to choose from at the end of the day, but head in early to get the freshest choices!
In addition to your regular pre-packaged drinks that can be found in the fridges in store, Fishermen's Co-op also offers a self-serve coffee bar to "kick start your day" - "buy a cup and fill it up"! Coffees cost $3.50 for a small, and $4.50 for a large.
If you're not planning on eating your takeaway food (hot or cold) right away, but are worried about the food going off or going soggy, Fishermen's Co-op sells Thermabags that will keep hot, cold, or frozen food for 3 hours. These bags don't require ice and are waterproof, but perhaps best of all, they're re-usable! Fishermen's Co-op also has in stock a wide variety of spices, sauces, herbs, and much more, to help add flavour to your meal. Or, if you're feeling game and want to catch your own fish, Fishermen's Co-op also has fish bait available from Tweed Bait.
For those with dogs, there is a great off-leash dog beach at the entrance to the harbour - your dogs can work off all the calories for you! The area near the entrance to the harbour is also home to the Coffs Jetty Carnival which runs every January, and is great fun for kids should you visit during this period. Coffs Harbour is also, of course, home to the Big Banana - there is just so much to do here, with great fun to be had by the whole family. We can't wait to be back!