Coffs Harbour
New South Wales
Marina Bay
Marina at Sunset
Coffs Harbour Jetty
City Centre
South Wall Quary
Coffs Harbour is located in New South Wales
Coffs Harbour
Coffs Harbour
Coordinates30°18′08″S 153°07′08″E / 30.30222°S 153.11889°E / -30.30222; 153.11889
Population78,759 (2021 census)[1] (25th)
 • Density155.804/km2 (403.53/sq mi)
1 September 1987 (city)[2]
Elevation21 m (69 ft)[3]
Area505.5 km2 (195.2 sq mi)
LGA(s)City of Coffs Harbour
RegionMid North Coast
State electorate(s)Coffs Harbour
Federal division(s)Cowper
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
23.4 °C
74 °F
14.0 °C
57 °F
1,699.0 mm
66.9 in
Panoramic view of the Coffs Harbour marina, NSW Australia, from Muttonbird Island

Coffs Harbour, locally nicknamed Coffs,[4] is a coastal city on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, 540 km (340 mi) north of Sydney, and 390 km (240 mi) south of Brisbane. It is one of the largest urban centres on the North Coast, with a population of 78,759 as per 2021 census.[1] The Gumbaynggirr are the original people of the Coffs Harbour region.[5]

Coffs Harbour's economy was once based on timber and agriculture. Over recent decades, tourism has become an increasingly important industry for the city. Once part of a region known as the Bananacoast, today the tourist city is part of a wider region known as the Coffs Coast.[6][7]

The city has a campus of Southern Cross University, and a campus of Rural Faculty of Medicine University of New South Wales, a public and a private hospital,[8] several radio stations, and three major shopping centres. Coffs Harbour is near numerous national parks, including a marine national park.

There are regular passenger flights each day to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane departing from Coffs Harbour Airport.[9] Coffs Harbour is also accessible by road, by NSW TrainLink, and by regular bus services.[10]


Coffs Harbour is a regional city along the Pacific Highway between Newcastle and the Gold Coast. It has become a major service centre for those living between South West Rocks in the south and Grafton to the north.

Sawtell, 10 km (6.2 mi) south along Hogbin Drive from the city has become a satellite suburb of Coffs Harbour; it is increasingly referred to as being part of the city instead of its own entity as a town.

The surrounding region is dominated by coastal resorts and apartments with hinterland hills and mountains covered by forests, banana and blueberry plantations, and other farms including macadamia nuts, cucumbers, and tomatoes.[11][12] It is the only place in New South Wales where the Great Dividing Range meets the Pacific Ocean.

The greater Coffs Harbour city is broken up into several suburb and precinct areas, including:

The city is surrounded by many towns and villages in the Coffs Coast region, including:


Looking west from Moonee Street after a shower of rain – Coffs Harbour, NSW, 1922

The traditional inhabitants of the Coffs Harbour region are the Gumbaynggirr people, who have occupied the land for thousands of years, forming one of the largest coastal Aboriginal nations in New South Wales. Their nation stretches from the Nambucca River in the south to around the Clarence River in the north and to the Great Dividing Range in the west.[13]

By the early 1900s, the Coffs Harbour area had become an important timber production centre. Before the opening of the North Coast railway line, the only way to transport large items of heavy but low value, such as timber, was by coastal shipping. This meant sawmillers on the North Coast were dependent on jetties either in rivers or off beaches for exporting their timber. Timber tramways were constructed to connect the timber-getting areas, the sawmills and jetties built into the ocean at Coffs Harbour.[14]


Coffs Harbour owes its name to John Korff, who named the area Korff's Harbour when he was forced to take shelter from a storm in the area in 1847.[15] The name was accidentally changed by the surveyor for the Crown when he reserved land in the area during 1861. [16]

Heritage listings

Coffs Harbour has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


Historical population
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics data.[18][19] Note: after 2006, the Coffs Harbour population expanded to included several neighbouring communities.

According to the 2021 Census[20] the population of suburban Coffs Harbour is 78,759. This is an increase from 72,944 in 2016. 52.6% of the population is female in contrast to the national average of 50.7%. The average age is 43, which is higher than the national average of 38. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 5.6% of the population.

75.5% of residents reported being born in Australia; higher than the national average of 66.7%. Other than Australia the most common countries of birth are England (3.2%), New Zealand (1.3%), Myanmar (1.1%), India (0.9%) and Germany (0.5%). 62.2% of residents also reported both their parents being born in Australia, considerably higher than the national average of 47.3%. 82.1% of people spoke only English at home.

The top religious affiliations in Coffs Harbour are Catholic 20.0%, Anglican 17.9% and Presbyterian and Reformed 3.9%. 29.3% declared no religion and 11.1% did not submit a response.[20]


Coffs Harbour has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa according to the Köppen climate classification system) with hot, wet summers and short mild winters, with marked seasonality of rainfall. The city is relatively sunny, receiving 122.1 clear days annually, higher than Brisbane and Cairns but not as sunny as Townsville. Summers are moderately hot, wet and humid. Winters are mild, albeit featuring cool nights, with light to moderate rainfall. There is a history of floods in the city, with major flooding occurring in the years 1917, 1938, 1950, 1963, 1974, 1977, 1989, 1991, 2009 and 2021.[21]

Climate data for Coffs Harbour MO (1991–2015, extremes to 1943)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 43.3
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 27.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 23.6
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 19.8
Record low °C (°F) 11.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 176.4
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 10.9 11.8 13.6 10.2 9.6 7.4 6.0 4.9 5.3 7.4 10.6 10.3 108.0
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) 67 69 68 63 61 58 54 52 57 61 65 66 62
Average dew point °C (°F) 18.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 235.6 204.4 220.1 216.0 207.7 198.0 223.2 257.3 255.0 251.1 237.0 244.9 2,750.3
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[22]


Inside The Bunker Cartoon Gallery Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour was the hub for a thriving banana industry. One of the biggest attractions is the Big Banana, one of the first of Australia's Big Things (it celebrated its 50th birthday in 2015), with the World's Largest Banana celebrating the region's best-known export.[23] There is also a popular underwater diving spot on a small natural reef.

The Coffs Harbour Jetty is an historically important timber wharf where coastal shipping once moved the timber from the hinterland. It was listed on the NSW State Heritage Register on 25 June 2021, recognising its significance "as the longest coastal timber jetty built by the Harbours and Rivers Section of the NSW Public Works department in the 19th century."[5] The jetty area is the subject of planning from 2018 by Council and consultants to develop a cultural precinct and rejuvenated residential area.

Nearby, the Solitary Islands Marine Park preserves a diverse underwater ecosystem that mirrors the terrestrial biodiversity, covering the southern limit of northern tropical species and the northern limits of the southern temperate species. Muttonbird Island is accessible by walking along the breakwater from the harbour, with the nature reserve protecting a significant wedge-tailed shearwater breeding site. The Muttonbird Island footpath leads to a viewing platform where whales are often spotted between June and November.

There are many national parks, reserves and marine parks surrounding the city, including:

The town's water supply comes from the nearby Orara River at Cochranes Pool and is supplemented by the Nymboida River. The city hosts the Coffs Harbour Regional Botanic Garden.


Coffs Harbour is home to the Coffs Harbour Education Campus (CHEC) which is a partnership between the Southern Cross University, TAFE and the Coffs Harbour Senior College. Other universities include the University of New South Wales Rural Clinical School located on the Coffs Harbour Health Campus. Australian Catholic University, Rural Education (REZ). Local state and private high schools include Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Orara, Toormina, John Paul College, Coffs Harbour Christian Community, Bishop Druitt College and the Coffs Harbour Senior College.

Primary schools include; Boambee, Bonville, Coffs Harbour Public, Coramba, Corindi, Crossmaglen, Karangi, Kororo, Lowanna, Mullaway, Nana Glen, Narranga, Upper Orara, Sandy Beach, Sawtell, Toormina, Tyalla, Ulong, William Bayldon and Woolgoolga Public School. Private primary schools in the area include; Mary Help of Christians, St Augustine's and St Francis Xavier's.

Defunct primary schools

Other schools

Special schools are public schools designed for children or youth with chronic disabilities or who for other reasons cannot be accommodated in the comprehensive school system. Coffs Harbour Learning Centre is available for these students.


Bypass under construction in 2024 looking toward one of the tunnel portals

The Pacific Highway cuts through the centre of the city. Work has commenced to build a 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) deviation containing three interchanges and three tunnels through the ridge line.[24] The project was approved in November 2020 and is due to be completed in 2027 at a cost of $2.2 billion[25][26]

Local media




Of the three main commercial networks:








The Coffs Harbour bus network extends from Grafton and Red Rock in the north to Macksville and Grassy Head in the south. Regular route services are operated by Busways and Forest Coach Lines. Forest Coach Lines also operate the Woopi Connect On Demand bus service in the Northern Beaches area.


Coffs Harbour is serviced by NSW TrainLink. Three northbound and three southbound XPT trains stop at Coffs Harbour station each day.


Local taxis are run by Holiday Coast Transportation and operate as 13cabs.[29]

Air travel

Coffs Harbour Airport is regularly serviced by Link Airways,[30] Qantas and Regional Express. The passenger terminal is accessible via Hogbin Drive.

The Coffs Harbour Aero Club on Aviation Drive supports private pilots. Flying lessons and discovery flights, as well as air-work and charter flights are available from the club, which is also working closely with local high schools to provide flying training for students.


The most popular sport in Coffs Harbour is Rugby league. The city has four clubs in the Country Rugby League of NSW's Group 2 rugby league competition; Coffs Harbour Comets, Sawtell Panthers, Woolgoolga Seahorses, and Orara Valley Axemen. All clubs offer entries in age groups ranging from under-7s to first grade. The Sawtell Panthers are the current champions in first grade and under-18s, and Woolgoolga Seahorses were runners up to the Port Macquarie Sharks in reserve grade.

Rugby League Clubs in Coffs Harbour

There is a local Australian rules football competition with three clubs in the city; Coffs Harbour, Northern Beaches–Woologoolga and Sawtell Saints.

There is also a men's and women's soccer league, two rugby union clubs (Coffs Harlequins and Southern Cross University), junior and senior basketball competitions and the representative Coffs Suns, field hockey and netball competitions.

In 2001, Coffs Harbour hosted the Oceania region's qualification matches for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. One these matches played at Coffs Harbour was the Australia 31–0 American Samoa game, which set a new world record for international association football's biggest-ever win.[31]

Pacific Bay Resort hosted 'Camp Wallaby' throughout the 2000s, in which the Wallabies called Coffs Harbour home.

The 2007 and 2013 City vs Country Rugby League representative fixtures were held in Coffs Harbour.

The city is home to the Coffs Harbour International Stadium, which has hosted FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and a Women's 2008 Beijing Olympics Qualification fixtures for the Matildas in soccer as well as some National Rugby League (NRL) pre-season fixtures and domestic one day cricket matches. Coffs Harbour is also known for a great place to skydive due to the hinterland views where The Great Dividing Range meets the sea.

The region has hosted international rallying through the 1970s through to the early 1980s. After that time, the events became part of the Australian Rally Championship and NSW Rally Championships. It was the host city for Rally Australia, a round of the World Rally Championship in 2011. The rally used roads from the neighbouring Bellingen, and Nambucca shires in addition to Coffs Harbour. The rally returned permanently to Coffs Harbour in 2013. In 2016, the rally was run in November with a Super special Stage at the Coffs Jetty. It was last held in 2018.[32]

Coffs Harbour is home to three locally grown sporting events attracting thousands of competitors each year: the Coffs Harbour Triathlon (bcu Coffs Tri), the Coffs Harbour running festival and the Coffs Ocean Swims, all raising money to local children's charities.

Notable residents

Annual events


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Coffs Harbour". 2021 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 26 November 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ 01 May 1987 – LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1919—PROCLAMATION – Trove Archived 14 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine. (1 May 1987). Retrieved on 2017-02-13.
  3. ^ "Coffs Harbour". Climate Averages for Australian Sites. Bureau of Meteorology. Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2006.
  4. ^ "From Freo to the Gong: Search is on for Aussie town nicknames". 16 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Coffs Harbour Jetty". NSW State Heritage Register. 25 June 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  6. ^ Coffs Harbour City Library – Catalogue – Full Display – Record 1 of 1. (26 September 2003). Retrieved on 13 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Home".
  8. ^ Coffs Harbour Base Hospital ::: North Coast Area Health Service Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine. (27 September 2007). Retrieved on 18 August 2011.
  9. ^ Arrivals and Departures Archived 10 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Coffs Coast (20 December 2016). Retrieved on 13 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Coffs Harbour Area". Destination NSW. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  11. ^ Bungard, Matt (12 October 2019). "'We could be known as the Big Blueberry': Bananas only a fraction of Coffs' crops". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  12. ^ "Harvest Guide (2023) - Fruit Picking Seasons Australia". Harvest Guide. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  13. ^ "FACT SHEET 1 Gumbaynggirr Nation" (PDF). Arrawarra Sharing Culture. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 June 2019. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  14. ^ The Timber Tramways of Coffs Harbour Longworth, Jim Australian Railway History, June 2006 pp 214–223
  15. ^ "Korff, John (1799–1870)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Archived from the original on 24 July 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  16. ^ Brambley, Steve (13 May 2023). "Revisiting Coffs Harbour's History". Pacific Marina Apartments. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  17. ^ "Ferguson's Cottage". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H01802. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  18. ^ "Statistics by Catalogue Number". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 19 January 2024.
  19. ^ "Search Census data". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 19 January 2024.
  20. ^ a b "2021 Australian Census, Coffs Harbour". Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  21. ^ Flooding in Coffs Harbour City of Coffs Harbour. Retrieved 23 June 2023.
  22. ^ "Coffs Harbour Meteorological Office". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  23. ^ Styles, Talia. "5 Reasons to Visit Australia's Best Town of 2020: Coff's Harbour". Hunter and Bligh. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  24. ^ Coffs Harbour Bypass Government of New South Wales
  25. ^ "Coffs Harbour Bypass". 2 November 2020. Archived from the original on 20 May 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  26. ^ "Full steam ahead on Coffs Harbour bypass". 7 June 2023. Retrieved 19 June 2024.
  27. ^ Coffs Coast news, weather, sport and local classifieds Archived 28 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Coffs Coast Advocate. Retrieved on 13 February 2017.
  28. ^ "Coffs Harbour City Library - Newspaper Index". Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  29. ^ "13cabs Coffs Harbour | Call a taxi on 13 2227". 13cabs Coffs Harbour. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  30. ^ "Fly Corporate". Archived from the original on 11 March 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  31. ^ World Cup: Australia score 31 in World Cup Archived 29 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Telegraph (11 April 2001). Retrieved on 18 August 2011.
  32. ^ Rally Australia set to return in 2021 Auto Action 21 June 2020
  33. ^ The Hungarian Socceroo Archived 14 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ "Former Coffs Harbour High Student Becomes New WA Premier".
  35. ^ "Local Builders Win Top Awards". Coffs Coast Advocate. North Coast News. 6 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  36. ^ Pender, Kieran (17 June 2023). "'It's everything': Matildas midfielder Clare Wheeler dreaming of World Cup debut". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 21 June 2023.

Further reading