Introducing Coffs Harbour
Where other coastal towns have the ready-made aesthetic of a main street slap-bang on the waterfront, Coffs has an inland city centre, and much of the town seems to turn its back on the sea. And yet, Coffs has a string of fabulous beaches and a preponderance of water-based activities, action sports and wildlife encounters, making it hugely popular with families, backpackers and ‘middle Australians’ drawn to the cultural beacon that is the Big Banana.
Originally called Korff’s Harbour, the town was settled by Europeans in the 1860s. The jetty was built in 1892 to load cedar and other logs. Bananas were first grown in the area in the 1880s, but no one made much money from them until the railway came to town in 1918. Banana growing reached its peak in the 1960s and these days tourism is the mainstay of the local economy.
The town is split into three areas: the jetty area, the commercial centre and the beaches. South of Coffs is Sawtell, a sprawl of housing developments fronting some fabulous surf beaches.