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Tourist on a Budget in Coffs Harbour

Home > New South Wales > Beaches | Family | Markets | Nature
by Susan J Bowes (subscribe)
Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published April 13th 2019
Numerous tourist adventures and all under five dollars
You would wonder where you could go on $5.00 if you were a tourist and wanting to see the sights of another town. Wonder no more as there are lots of places in Coffs Harbour where a five-dollar note or less can give you a pleasurable and relaxing time.

The Bunker Cartoon Gallery is custodian of Coffs Harbour's Cartoon Collection and for a $5.00 entry fee, this is one of the best entertainment venues you can visit that will provide Gallery is that it is housed in an authentic underground World War II bunker that is now converted into a jazzy exhibition space. The idea to turn a bunker into a gallery is largely thanks to the Coffs City Rotary Club, as well as Rotarians Tom Hamilton Foster and the late John Champion, whose caricatures are displayed in the foyer.

Coffs Harbour, Tourist Attractions, Family Attractions, Beaches, NSW, Learn Something
The Bunker Cartoon Gallery, Coffs Harbour (Author's Photo from a Brochure)

There are several exhibitions and workshops held throughout each year and many leading Australian and International cartoonists have bequeathed rare works and private donations to the Gallery. You certainly will get a chuckle from the reading the cartoons displayed on the walls as you wander around the room; people are amazingly creative and funny. The Gallery is located at 1 John Champion Way, Coffs Harbour. Some caricatures are for sale and these purchases can be made at the gift shop in the foyer.

Gardens, Coffs Harbour, Learn Something, Nature, NSW, Coffs Harbour
North Coast Regional Botanical Gardens (Author's Photo)

The North Coast Regional Botanical Gardens is located at the corner of Coff and Hardacre Streets in Coffs Harbour. Being a keen gardener, I find botanical gardens always a place of interest to visit during my holiday destinations. For a gold coin entry donation, you have over twenty acres of Crown land with kilometres of paths and boardwalks, as well as an incredible array of natural forest, mangroves, rare, threatened and exotic species of plant life to enjoy, while meandering around or sitting down on the benches and grassy areas.

Gardens, Coffs Harbour, Learn Something, Nature, NSW, Coffs Harbour
North Coast Regional Botanical Gardens (Author's Photo)

The gardens were officially opened in 1988. In 2018, the Australian Geographic Magazine rated the Botanic Gardens second in the top ten botanic gardens in Australia. They have an onsite Herbarium and Seed Bank with a variety of plants available for purchase. A gift shop is also situated near the entry.

Coffs Harbour, Learn Something, NSW, Tourist Attractions, Family Attractions, Accommodation, Cafe
The Clog Barn & Miniature Dutch Village (Author's Photo)

The Clog Barn and the miniature Dutch Village was one of my favourite spots in Coffs Harbour. All the replica buildings, including the working windmills and garden railways, are actual buildings in The Netherlands. For the past thirty-five years, Thomas Hartsuyker has been handmaking these buildings and today at 85 years of age, he is still enjoying the craft. The Village is a photographer's delight as you walk around, stopping to read the descriptions on the plaques, which are situated at the side of each building. Entry to the miniature Dutch Village is by a gold-coin donation.

The Clog Barn now consists of a Gift Shop where at certain times of the day you can watch clogs being made. Big Oma's Coffee House is right next door and accommodation is also available in self-contained units, powered sites for caravans, motorhomes and campsites. I have heard that Clogs are lovely to wear once your feet get used to the wooden boot.

Coffs Harbour, Tourist Attractions, Family Attractions, Beaches, NSW, Learn Something
The Clog Barn & Miniature Dutch Village (Author's Photo)

Not calculating how long it would take me to drive to a certain place, I decided to take a drive to Sealy Lookout in the Orara East State Forest. The road is extremely windy, with shear cliff faces and white crosses reminding me to drive to the road conditions at a reduced pace. It was quite difficult for cars to pass on the road; in fact, at times cars completely stop to let you through. Depending on the land mass available, there were houses built on rather precarious land areas with steep driveways to their location as well as hundreds of banana plantations also built along the cliff edges. You would think you would need to be a mountain goat to harvest the produce!

Coffs Harbour, Tourist Attractions, Family Attractions, Beaches, NSW, Learn Something
Sealy Lookout's Spectacular Views (Author's Photo)

The view at the summit of Sealy Lookout was well worth the drive up; it was spectacular. Walking out to the end of the Forest Sky Pier will give you an overview of Coffs Harbour and its pristine beaches reaching as far as the eye can see. There are boards positioned on the Pier to show you where landmarks are below allowing you to gauge a near proximate area to where you are staying in the City.

For the adventurous or those with plenty of time, there are several walking paths ranging in a duration of one to three hours. Walking down a few steps from the Lookout Carpark to a lower plateau, you will find several wooden picnic tables for families to enjoy. On this plateau, I came across an unusual plant growing out from the grass and dirt. It is quite amazing what you find in nature. Sealy Lookout is open to vehicles during daylight hours and is free.

Coffs Harbour, Tourist Attractions, Family Attractions, Beaches, NSW, Learn Something
Sealy Lookout - Interesting Plant Life (Author's Photo)

Depending on your budget and what you want from your holiday, there are several accommodation properties, hotel/motel style and self-contained units along Ocean Parade, which is right across the road from the beach and lifesavers flagged areas. It was great not having to get into the car and drive to the beach. The beach was beautiful with white sandy dunes and clear water that you could see down to the sand at the bottom. For March, the water was a good temperature for a swim and there were medium sized waves for body surfing.

On a Friday night during the New South Wales Daylight Saving, there is a Twilight Food Market in Park Beach Reserve. People are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket or chairs, bottle of wind and purchase a meal from the multi-cultural food vans while sitting back and relax to an evening of free live entertainment. There were a few concrete tables available; however, to get these, you need to be early. From where I was staying, I could walk over to the event. There is also plenty of off-street parking available.

Coffs Harbour, Tourist Attractions, Family Attractions, Beaches, NSW, Learn Something
Beautiful Beaches, a stone's throw from my accommodation (Author's Photo)

From my accommodation, I also had the luxury of being in easy walking distances to Park Beach Bowls Club, The Hoey Moey on The Beach, Surf Club Restaurant and Bar and other resort restaurants, so there was plenty of options to suit every budget.

As Coffs Harbour is well-known for the "Big Banana", it would have been remiss of me not to stop and get a photograph. The Big Banana Fun Park caters for families with loads of rides and a full-day's entertainment. My interest was inclined towards sampling a small banana ice-cream and a walk through the gift shop. The ice-cream tasted very much like the banana candies you can purchase in shops.

Tourist, Family Attractions, Beaches, Markets, Fun For Children, Coffs Harbour, NSW
The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour (Author's Photo)

Coffs Harbour is approximately four and a half hours from Brisbane via M1 and Pacific Highway. Although there are some road works along the way, my journey was enjoyable with a lot of small towns and tourist spots to stop for a rest and stretch the legs. I was also fortunate that the price of petrol was considerably less than what I had been paying in Brisbane. An enjoyable time and plenty to see on any budget.
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Why? Holidaying on a Budget
When: All Year Round
Phone: 02 6648 4000
Where: Coffs Harbour
Cost: Individual Prices
Your Comment
Great article! Coffs is like my second home so I enjoyed reading your perspectives. Congrats on the gold!
by Michael Genrich (score: 3|1886) 1520 days ago
Well done on your gold award Susan. I am going to Coffs for Easter this year so all your tips will come in handy.
by May Cross (score: 3|8394) 1520 days ago
Great article, very interesting and great pics too Susan. Lovely read. Thank you.
by Jen (score: 3|3574) 1519 days ago
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