As a travel destination, Coffs Harbour has a whole lot to offer. Not only does the region bask in some of the best weather in Australia, but you’re almost guaranteed there’ll be something special happening during your stay…
Coffs Harbour is not just a place to relax and enjoy beautiful beaches, bustling cafes and great restaurants.
There’s so much more to this destination, including a packed calendar of world-class festivals and events. Here are six Coffs Harbour festivals and events you shouldn’t miss if you happen to be in town…
Coffs Triathlon (March)
If you’re a sporting enthusiast, you may like to time your visit for the annual Coffs Triathlon. The event takes over Jetty Beach for the swim legs, local roads for the cycling, and the picturesque harbour foreshore (including the iconic timber jetty) for the running. Coffs Harbour uses the event to showcase its natural beauty and wonderful community spirit. Over 300 local volunteers get involved, and the event features a relaxed and fun vibe for both participants and spectators.
Sawtell Chilli Festival (July)
Foodies, there are two wonderful festivals on the Coffs calendar to enjoy. The first is the Sawtell Chilli Festival, held in the seaside village of Sawtell — 10 kilometres south of Coffs Harbour. It’s a ‘must-experience’ for chilli connoisseurs. The main street of the town, shaded by large fig trees, is lined with a huge range of stalls showcasing all manner of chilli products and cooking techniques. If you’re not into chillies, don’t worry, as there’s lots of entertainment and plenty of non-chilli food options that will suit any palate.
Woolgoolga Curryfest (September)
The second culinary party is the colourful and entertaining Woolgoolga Curryfest, which is held in the beachside town of Woolgoolga — 25 kilometres north of Coffs Harbour. The event is a celebration of food, culture and community diversity. Woolgoolga’s streets come alive throughout the event with vibrant colour, tantalising smells, dancing and much more. If you love a good curry, this is the place to be!
The Rotary Cartoon Awards at the Bunker (September/October)
The Bunker Cartoon Gallery in Coffs is a unique cultural facility. It’s called the ‘Bunker’ as it is housed in an authentic underground WWII bunker. Each year it hosts the Annual Rotary Cartoon Awards for cartoonists young and old, and entries are received from all over the world. You can come and view all the entries and see if you agree with the judge’s decisions. The gallery is the only one in the southern hemisphere that exhibits such a large collection of contemporary cartoons. It’s open to the public throughout the year.
Buskers & Comedy Festival (September/October)
Every year in late September/early October Coffs Harbour hosts the International Buskers and Comedy Festival. Apart from a strong Australian contingent, the festival features artists from across the globe. It’s five days of fun and laughter across Coffs — including the City Centre, the Harbourside Markets, the Botanic Gardens, and local pubs and clubs. Many events are free. Some artists pass the hat around at the end of a performance, while others ask for a gold coin donation. Either way, it’s always good value. There is also a special Kids’ Day.
Rally Australia (November)
If you’re a bit of a rev-head then you will love the fast-paced Rally Australia, which is the closing leg of the annual FIA World Rally Championship. It’s an epic competition which features some of the world’s best rally drivers. ‘Factory’ teams from Japan, France, Korea and Britain battle it out for supremacy across open-country and forestry stages, as well as in the final stage which takes place around the Coffs Harbour Jetty Foreshore. This usually quiet spot with its ocean backdrop is the place to be to enjoy the atmosphere of the Rally.
Need a place to stay?
The Quality Inn City Centre is located just a stone’s throw from the bustling Coffs Harbour CBD, with it shopping precincts, pubs, clubs and cafes. You’re also close to sand and surf, with the jetty foreshore precinct and the surrounding beaches just a short drive away.
The nearby Comfort Inn Premier offers a variety of contemporary accommodation options, including twin and queen rooms, family rooms and executive suites. Executive and family options have kitchenettes, microwave ovens and dining facilities.
Both hotels are conveniently located on the drive into or out of beautiful Coffs.
About the writer
Dixie Lamers is a Coffs Harbour-based freelance writer and travel blogger. When Dixie is not writing about travel, you will find her enjoying an Aussie caravanning lifestyle with her partner — exploring the big island we call Australia.