Patricia Newell-Dunkley – Photographs by Reginald J. Dunkley.


This article was attacked by Gremlins as only part of it came through from Australia.

It’s now been updated so I’m re-running it, edited and complete!

Greetings from down under where the weather is perfect at the moment, with sunny days and cool breezes.


Coffs Harbour is one of the most popular family holiday destinations on the New South Wales North Coast, being 540 kilometres north of Sydney and 400 kilometres south of Brisbane. It is a good halfway point between Sydney and Brisbane, and a very popular stopover when driving between the two cities.


The location is edged by forest covered hills and leafy banana plantations on one side, and golden coloured beaches on the other, and the best way to take it all in is at Sealy Lookout, a ten minute drive from the city centre. Here you will find the well-named forest sky pier, which juts out 68 feet from the lookout and 49 feet above the forest floor. It offers superb views of the city, beaches and coastline and is a great way to orient you with the landscape.




Originally a thriving timber production town, but now known for its banana plantations that thrive in the warm, sub-tropical weather. You can also follow the Arts and Culture trail to learn more about the history of Coffs Harbour and see more of its beautiful gardens, architecture and art. Plus visit the neighbouring towns of Bellingen and Urunga.

Stroll along the foreshore promenade of the popular local spot Jetty Beach and discover the old timber jetty which is well worth exploring. The Fishermen’s Co-op Shop has been owned and run by 45 local fishermen since 1950 and sells freshly caught seafood daily, you can also have beautiful fish and chips to eat. You can take a walk to the very end of the jetty which connects the mainland to Muttonbird Island.

Warm waters and a rich variety of marine life make Coffs Harbour a delight for scuba divers, snorkelers and fishermen. The Solitary Islands Marine Park is the third largest marine protected area in New South Wales, extending 75 kilometres (46 miles) along the coast. It is an excellent spot for both beginners and experienced divers to explore. Between May and November watch humpback whales from a headland or a lookout, or join a whale watching cruise for a closer look.  Jetty Dive will take you out to see the whales, and they can also help you with dive courses and charters.

You can see dolphins surfing the waves all year round. The Coffs Coast is also renowned for its excellent fishing. Cast a line from the beach or jetty, or join a fishing charter for a deep-sea fishing adventure or eco estuary tour.

Coffs Harbour is a great base for setting out on day trips. Dorrigo National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area has stunning scenery millions of years in the making. The pretty riverside town of Bellingen has the Old Butter Factory, where you will find a great cafe open for breakfast and lunch, as well as shops and galleries. At Macksville you can enjoy top notch fishing and boating. The nearby town or Urunga has two interesting Galleries, Sharkey Fibre Art and Island Art Shop and Studio.

Coffs harbour is an excellent destination for families. Take time out at Butterfly House and stroll among hundreds of live Australian Butter-flies in a beautiful indoor rainforest. Children aged six and older can swim with dolphins and seals at Dolphin Marine Magic, while younger children can, or those who prefer not to swim, can still get up close to a seal and dolphin with “Meet the Stars” experience.

If you are looking for action and adventure, learn to surf with Lee
Winkler’s Surf School. Winkler is a legendary local surfer who spent fifteen years as a Pro Surfer on the world tour.  There is also White Water Rafting Adventures to be had on the nearby Nymboida River with Wild Water Adventure. You can also take a 4WD tour along forest tracks or explore the countryside on horseback, or mountain bike. Soar over the beaches and mountains of The Great Dividing Range on a scenic helicopter flight, or try the thrill of tandem skydiving over the beach.  There is much to see and do at Coffs Harbour, and don’t forget to eat plenty of their famous bananas.

Here at Shelly Beach all is well with plenty of birdlife, and Princess Pixie the Pomeranian is snuggling down and enjoying the cooler weather. I have been very busy with two art shows and another coming up shortly, it is a good time of the year.

My books ‘The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain, Wallis the Woman I Love, Letters of a Travelling Lady,’ are available on Amazon, Xlibris, and my website. For those who love flowers my Poetry Pamphlet “Flower Power” is now released.

Cheers. Patricia.