Gold Coast Explorer since Jan 2010. Always on the lookout for fun, family things to enjoy with my four kids.
Published April 6th 2016
Jump Nike style - just do it
No trip to Coffs Harbour would be complete without experiencing this beachside city's wooden jetty which extends out into the blue waters of the protected harbour. Built in the 1890's, to enable shipping to move timber from the hinterland, the Coffs Harbour Jetty is not only an historically important timber wharf but also the object of a number of fun activities. The views over the marina, with its collection of yachts, out to Muttonbird Island and over the ocean and beach are just beautiful. Walk out on the jetty for sunrise or sunset, a night view under it's lights or check the fishing during the day. We watched several wedding groups pose for photos and caught sight of a dolphin chasing fish, a ray cruising past and dozens of fish around the base. The pier overlooks Jetty Beach, which is the perfect spot to chill and swim.
All of the above make for a picture perfect setting, however it's a more adrenalin filled activity that really brings out Coffs sense of fun. Jumping off the jetty appears to be a rite of passage for locals and is equally popular with tourists. During our Easter visit, there were many people summoning the courage to climb over the barrier and take a leap off one of the timber supports. This activity resembles standing on top of a very high telegraph pole that you jump off, drop down through the air and into the ocean below. It's much more than a hop into the water type of affair. It takes courage and a sense of adventure to take that leap of faith.
As I stood contemplating my jump, which actually isn't such a good thing, as the longer you look down the harder it gets to make the jump, I was taken back to the diving pool of Edinburgh's Commonwealth Pool. As a child, I'd climb up the stairs to the top board, inch to the edge and holding firmly to the handrail, peer cautiously over the edge and wonder how anyone could dive from such a height. My friends and I would do this on each visit, until we were spotted by the lifeguard, at which point the whistle was blown on us, sending us back down to the first diving board, with some relief. Since those days, I have bungee jumped from Gouritz River Bridge in South Africa and sky dived over the Gold Coast in Australia, feats my girls were quick to remind me of, as I looked over the edge of the pier.
The jetty jump of around 11-12m (depending on the tide) guarantees you a beating heart and more than a moment of hesitation, before you jump into nothing, plummet downwards and enter the ocean with a triumphant splash. The satisfaction afterwards is great as you resurface. A word of advice here - hold your nose unless you want a salt rinse, at force. If you are a swimmer and looking for a free adrenalin adventure, then a jetty jump will definitely appeal. If you are sure it's not your thing, it's lots of fun people watching, as others grapple with the personal challenge. We watched a range of ages make a jump but the biggest age group would have to be the teenage school group who were not only brave but also adventurous. We even came across some night jumpers that threw a whole new twist on things.
Halfway up the jetty on the left hand side, there is a lower platform. Jumping into the water near there gives a shorter distance to swim back as you can climb out on the platform and take the stairs up onto the jetty easily from there. Swimming back to shore is fun too and good prep for Coffs Harbour Ocean Swim, an annual event that includes a 600m jetty swim.
So if you visit Coffs Harbour and want to Jetty Jump, make a "Nike" jump – "Just do it".