Decisions, decisions, decisions,its wether to have a short black, latte or cappuccino before we head into the hinterland behind coffs harbour. This is because coffs is the closest place on the east coast where the great dividing range meets the wonderful blue water of the pacific ocean. I mean where else can you scuba dive in the morning then explore lush rainforest within kilometres of the coast, then be back in your resort later that day.
In 1847 John Korffs sheltered in the now harbour area with supplies for the timber cutters that were further south, hence after several years and spelling mistakes the name Coffs Harbour evolved.
With the mountains meeting the sea, we have some of the best 4wd tracks in the land, wether it be from extreme to the more sedate- exploring through our thick rainforest.
Being in a sub tropical climate the bush is alive with massive timber ranging from red cedar trees to gums that seem to go on forever towards the sky, then there is the ever present lantana that seems to grow an inch per minute, we have strangler vines that do what they love, the rain forest pockets are alive with bangalow palms, grasstrees that are over 500 years old and dense thick areas of scattered white gums that sparkle in the mid day sun. A typical day 4wding in Coffs can be started within 3 kilometres of the highway. Local knowledge plays a big part in the tracks around here as some of the peaks can range up to 500 metres high. A good map of the area, knowing your cars capabilities and a good recovery set up is also required. Weather conditions also play a big part in deciding wether a track is drivable or not- basically you have to ask yourself if you need to continue on and not jeopardise your safety.
With such high peaks running around the outside of this wonderland, you can be assured of fantastic views towards the coast that seems to sparkle a deep blue from any height. A good starting point is Mount Coramba which is an easy run to the top of the mountain that juts up nearly 300 metres high just north west of Coffs. This gives you 360' views that seem to go on forever. Now be warned most tracks that run off this mountain are hard core, with ruts that you can lose a tyre in or rocks that will stop you in your tracks. But then if this is your thing -this is heaven on a hill !!..
Coffs is also the home to crystal clear creeks that snake their way through the forest towards the sea. This is another alternative in summer, finding a private hide away beside a cooling creek while the rest of the world smelters in sizzling heat. There are so many tracks wether they be in State Forest or National Parks chances of seeing anyone else is pretty slim. But be aware that these tracks can carry other 4wds, bikes ( mountain and motor ), bushwalkers or even the odd log truck, so it is advisable to drive with your lights on. Even better still, slow down and watch for the array of wildlife that graces this area. You might spot wallabies,a huge range of birds,koalas,the shy spotted quoll and even have a lyre bird or pheasant dart across the road.
Coffs is surrounded by numerous National Parks and State Forests's, and thankfully we haven’t got too many locked gates yet.
Within 60 kilometres of Coffs you can explore Nymbodia which is full of gorges and waterfalls that drop several hundred metres to to the forest floor, white water raft down extreme rapids, then head north to Yuringar to drive on beaches that offer an area of water sports,visit old gold mines that if you search hard enough a fortune could be found.
Along the coastal strip both north and south of Coffs you can pop out to enjoy a healthy lunch, drop into a local pub to feast on a counter lunch or pack your own picnic-and make your own lunch spot.
This place is just that good !!!!
While you need some planning for your day out, it is easy enough just to wander into the bush with a map, a feed, your camera, some water and a huge sense of adventure for several hours.
For the less adventurous you can head south to Bellingen, a sleepy little crafty town hiding in the shadow of Coffs where you can find great little coffee shops to pass the time away.Further west from here lies Dorrigo where you can walk the world heritage listed national park, see forever on the skywalk that lets you walk above the tree line, some 50 metres high.
Another alternative is to explore some of the local bushwalking tracks. These can range from an easy creek stroll, to some that are hard to extreme that drop several hundred metres into valleys that hide mystical waterfalls and huge gums that have stood the test of time. But be warned here, these hard tracks are definatly not for the faint hearted as some may take you anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to complete the walk.
If beach driving is more your thing there are several beach drives you can do.One is right on our doorstep that starts at the harbour at Coffs and heads south on Boambee beach and runs a full 7 kilometres to Boambee creek near sawtell. This beach is popular with fisherman, kids playing, sun bakers and is a leash free beach for dogs- so care must be taken by following the standard road rules.
The other alternative is 40 kms north of Coffs where you turn off into Yuringar National Park and head a further 17km east, where you pop onto another beautiful beach- Station Creek. National Parks have worked hard here to put a driving boardwalk into place so 4wds don’t dig up the sand dunes before entering onto the beach. Driving is only permitted north along here as there are several bird breeding areas to the south. This area is so pristine that on any given day you might encounter the odd emu, wild brumbies, sea eagles looking for a feed, the endangered little turn, or the ever present sand piper.
So the choice is yours wether it be a rainforest drive, spending time with some beach combing, testing your vehicles limits or looking for that perfect photo shot, its all here with in a stones throw of the city centre.