Visiting the coastal town where I spent my relatively unproductive teenage years, now accompanied by my own teenagers, brings about the expected nostalgic memories along with the usual pressure to have a fun filled family holiday.
Story By Louise Clark
The first few days find us staying with family on the northern beaches of town, and day one at the clichéd Big Banana- thankfully no longer just a photo opportunity. The slalom inspired ride brings a smile to everyone’s face including the parents, and a session at the new blow up water slide park ensures the kids and their younger cousins are totally exhausted.
TIP: Sessions at the waterpark go for 1.5hrs- check out starting times first if you plan to go.
We wake to Sunshine . With little ones in tow we decide to go to Moonee Beach about 7 km north of Coffs town. We drive along the turn-off past the sort of caravan park which is a dying breed. The relatively early start finds us wading through the clean gentle inlet - with a very happy dog in tow to the uncrowded surf beach.
TIP: This is the perfect beach for young families, safe, no crowds, no parking hassles and clean amenities – Moonee has a shopping centre on the way perfect to pick up a picnic.
The Pet Porpoise Pool is a local icon and we arrive to find that it has reinvented itself in a surprisingly positive way. This is not Seaworld – it is low key, resulting in a more relaxed intimate experience. The childhood dream of swimming with dolphins can be achieved here with a very personal touch.
TIP: Book ahead for dolphin swims in school holidays as they book out.
After a few days with family it's time to move on. Teenagers need their space so we’ve chosen an apartment in a relatively new complex Pacific Marina Apartments. Personally for me this is a perfect position, only a short walk from the main patrolled beach and the Coffs Harbour Jetty shopping village with a solid coffee culture.
TIP: Check out the local markets every Sunday at the Jetty, perfect for the girls
Dinner time finds us at the Jetty Strip of restaurants having fantastic Thai at a table outside, a visit to coldrock and a walk along the Jetty complete the evening. But be warned the Jetty foreshore at night in January becomes home to the Carnival, complete with rollercoaster Octopus and all the old favourites so if the thought is too stressful, stay clear.
If you’re a bit beached out and/or older kids are keen for an adrenalin, hit the Go Kart track (Raleigh Raceway) at Bonville about 15km south of Coffs, it's a hoot. Full safety equipment is provided –perfect family photo! Little ones are fine to ride with an adult – its definitely a family bonding experience.
Coffs has a wide range of family friendly dinner destinations and we have great nights out at the Greenhouse Tavern complete with PS2 and playground, and at Waves Bistro excellent value at the Park Beach bowling club . Fish and chips at the Jetty is the perfect lunch. The Deep Sea Fishing Club up on the hill at the Jetty has spectacular views and family friendly meals