Introducing Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay
With a nice beach in a deep cove, Woolgoolga (also known as Woopi; population 3800) is a less-developed coastal town just north of Coffs, known for its surf-and-Sikh community.
As you drive by on the highway you’ll notice the impressive Guru Nanak Temple, a Sikh gurdwara (place of worship). Don’t confuse it with the Raj Mahal, a decrepit, Indian-influenced concrete extravagance that has two giant elephant statues out the front; it’s actually an emporium of sorts, with arts and crafts, clothes, and a restaurant.
If you drive straight through town up to the point, you’ll get a magnificent view of the Solitary Marine Reserve.
About 5km south of Woolgoolga and signposted off the Pacific Highway, the small Lake Russell Gallery (
The Maharaja Tandoori Indian Restaurant (
Red Rock (population 290), a sleepy village with a beautiful inlet and gorgeous surrounds, is a site sacred to the Gunawarri people. Soak up the sun or catch a fish while camping at Red Rock Caravan Park (
The 20, 000-hectare Yuraygir National Park covers the 60km stretch of coast north from Red Rock. The beaches are outstanding and there are some bushwalking paths where you can view endangered coastal emus.
Walkers can bush camp and there are basic camping areas ($5 per person) at Station Creek in the southern section; at the Boorkoom and Illaroo rest areas in the central section; on the north bank of the Sandon River, and at Red Cliff at the Brooms Head end of the northern section. These are accessible by car; there is also a walk-in camp site in the northern section at Shelly Beach.
Nearby Wooli (population 600) hosts the Australian Goanna Pulling Championships (
The Solitary Islands Marine Park Resort (
The Solitary Islands Marine Park, a group of five islands, is the meeting point of warm tropical currents and cooler southern currents, which makes for a wonderful combination of corals, reef fish and seaweeds.