Coffs Harbour was initially inhabited by Gumbaingirr Aborigines prior to 1788. The first Europeans who arrived in the area were the convicts, who escaped and took refuge on Muttonbird Island in 1791. The town of Coffs Harbour was named by John Korff as ‘Korff’s Harbour’, a shipbuilder who took refuge in Coffs Harbour in 1847. The name was later modified in the year 1861. There was not much of habitation in the area till 1880. Gold was mined in Coffs Harbour between 1881 and 1898 but was soon closed down because gold was only available on the surface. The development of rail, road and air transport in the town helped in the growth of population in Coffs Harbour and today it has become one of the popular tourist destinations.
The climate of Coffs Harbour is of sub-tropical nature characterized by warm and wetty summers and cool, dry winters. During summers the average temperatures soar up to 27ºC or more and in winters it drops down to 7ºC. The average annual rainfall is 1704mm, with March having 248mm of rainfall. The inland mountain ranges receive greater amount of rainfall than the coastal areas. The closeness of Coffs Harbour to the coast ensures the fact that temperatures are brought down by the influence of the sea.
Coffs Harbour has a well-developed transport system of bus, train, airways and taxis. Ryans Bus Service, Busways and Sawtell Coaches all have buses operating throughout Coffs Harbour and nearby towns. Coffs Harbour is served by Countrylink Railway Services with 3 northbound and southbound trains stopping at Coffs Harbour Railway Station on a regular basis. Coffs Harbour Regional Airport is the main airport serving the region with daily flights of Virgin Blue, Qantas and Brindabella Airlines. Throughout Coffs Harbour, one can find extensive taxi services operated by Coffs Harbour Taxi Cab Network.
Coffs Harbour has a thriving night life with live rock bands playing their music in several pubs. There are many attractive beaches where one can enjoy and relax like the Park Beach which lies on the north of the town. The Jetty beach is good for swimming and surfing purposes apart from Diggers Beach, Macauleys Beach and Headland Beach. White-river rafting can be enjoyed at the Goolang and Nymboida Rivers. The Muttonbird Island is an excellent place to see whales and Muttonbirds. Some other popular tourist attraction spots include:
- Beacon Hill Lookout
- The Old Jetty Area
- Coffs Harbour Historical Museum
- Pet Porpoise Pool
- The Big Banana
- The Clog Barn
- The North Coast Regional Botanic Garden
- Coffs Harbour Zoo
- George’s Gold Mine
- Bruxner Park Flora Reserve
Coffs Harbour also has many resorts, apartments and motels meant for providing accommodation to the travelers. Some of the renowned hotels of Coffs Harbour are:
- Pier Hotel
- Hotel Coffs Harbour
- Plantation Hotel
- Fitzroy Hotel