Coffs Harbour Marina/Muttonbird Island walk.
Coffs Harbour Marina/Muttonbird Island walk. TREVOR VEALE

Help. I've got visitors coming for the school holidays.

SCHOOL holidays signal the start of "family and friends migration”.

If you live on the Coffs Coast be prepared, this is the time everyone from your nearest and dearest to distant Facebook friends and assorted randoms lob up on your doorstep looking for a bed and a cheap holiday.

Giving them the bed is the easy part. Keeping guests entertained, especially if they come with children, without breaking your budget is the tricky bit.

These suggestions are all budget friendly and can be enjoyed during winter.

Coffs Harbour Marina senic. northwall walkers. 12 JUNE 2019
North Wall is a great place to stretch your legs TREVOR VEALE

Walk the Walls:

Living here it's easy to forget how beautiful the marina and foreshores are but visitors will certainly appreciate it.

Take a walk along North Wall, admire the yachts and fishing boats and if you're feeling energetic climb Muttonbird Island for a great selfie spot and to catch sight of whales.

On the way back stop and enjoy a wine (and the view) at Lattitude 30 or, if you're with young kids, grab an ice cream or some fish and chips in the marina.

The South Wall is a favourite for families to take their little ones to ride scooters or tricycles and is also the ideal spot to take some great holiday photographs.

The foreshores are well-lit at night and an evening walk along the timber jetty will often reward you with turtle and sting ray sightings.

Winter beaches

While it's only the braver visitors who will venture in for a swim at this time of year, our beaches can certainly still be appreciated during winter school holidays.

The Korora Headlands to Charlesworth Bay walking track is just one of many tracks along our coastline that are fun to explore.

This is a 4km track with plenty of ocean views.

New tank at National Marine Science Centre is a hit with locals and tourists.
National Marine Science Centre is a hit with all ages Rachel Vercoe

Solitary Islands Aquarium

Once you've arrived at Charlesworth Bay, drop in and visit the Solitary Islands Aquarium, at Southern Cross University's National Marine Science Centre.

This facility is both fun and educational helping to bring an awareness and appreciation for our marine environment.

Focused on regional species, resource management and conservation, the aquarium provides an intimate experience for guests to learn about and to interact with marine life of the Coffs Coast.

A series of aquariums, guided tours, interactive and visual displays ensures a memorable experience for all ages and the little ones will especially enjoy the touch tank where they can get up close with a sea star, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

Open every day during the NSW school holidays, 10am to 4pm. Tickets: $12 adults, $10 conc. $8 children (U3 free) and $30 family (2A & 2C). More info:

Tallow enjoying a run on Emerald Beach.
There are plenty of dog-friendly,on-leash and off-leash beaches on the Coffs Coast Vanessa Racklyeft

Pet friendly adventures

If your guests bring their pooch along on holiday there are plenty of spots on the Coffs Coast that are dog friendly.

Dogs are allowed off leash (but under supervision) at Boambee Beach, North Wall Beach, Thompsons Road Reserve, Emerald Beach (north of Fiddamans Creek), Woolgoolga Back Beach and Corindi/Pipeclay Beach (south of Ocean St.)

Dogs are allowed on leash at Charlesworth Bay, Hills Beach, Korora Beach, Sawtell Beach (north of Murrays Beach), Campbells Beach, Sapphire Beach, Mullaway Beach.

For full list/conditions see CHCC website.

Moonee Beach is also a dog-friendly, on-lead beach and after a stroll along the sand head to Maggie's Dog Cafe at the Moonee Market shopping centre where the whole family, including your pooch, can be inside and enjoy a cappuccino.

harbourside markets
Sunday Harbourside Market always draws a crowd.

Market Sundays

Markets are great entertainment for the whole family with cheap food, free entertainment and the chance of picking up a bargain or something unusual as a holiday souvenir.

Sunday Harbourside markets are held at the jetty foreshores from 8am to 2.30pm and Uptown market is held in the Big W car park in the city centre from 8am to 2pm.

Sealy Lookout and the Forest Sky Pier. 06 july  2016.
Sealy Lookout and the Forest Sky Pier. Trevor Veale

Selfies at Sealey

Part of being on holiday is having great "show and tell " photos. Sealy Lookout in Bruxner Park is the perfect spot to stop and take a selfie or a family snap.

Only a short drive off the Pacific Hwy, Sealy Lookout and the Forest Sky Pier sits within a flora reserve in Orara East State Forest.

The Forest Sky Pier offers magnificent coastal views over the city of Coffs Harbour and up and down the coastline.

There are walking tracks through rainforest, ranging from one to three hours, and picnic tables and toilets provided. Free to visit, open during daylight hours.

Coffs creek walkway. 02 April 2018
Coffs Creek walkway is popular with locals and visitors. Trevor Veale

Coffs Creek Walk & Cycleway

Feel like you're in the middle of the bush without leaving the city centre.

With no set start or finishing point, this 8km of track can be explored to suit your family.

Take a short stroll along the creek and finish at Dolphin Marine Magic for coffee and cake or get on the bikes and explore the entire 8km.

The tracks hug the creek and provide plenty of bird-watching opportunities and picnic spots along the way.

Wheels on the beach

Vehicles are permitted on the following beaches: Boambee Beach, Darkum Beach, Hearnes Lake Beach, Woolgoolga Back Beach.

Note you must use officially constructed beach access tracks when entering onto the beach.

Drive below the high tide mark whenever possible and during high tide drive as close to the high tide mark as possible.

The maximum vehicle speed is 25khm within 100m of pedestrians and beach users and 50kmh at other times.

Look at me now, kangaroos, dolphins, sea eagle. surfing. 19 FEB 2018
Look at Me Now headland at Emerald Beach. TREVOR VEALE

Other budget-friendly options to entertain visitors during the school holidays include:

Whale watching, a trip to Look at Me Now Headland at Emerald beach to spot kangaroos, a trip to the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden where kids can enjoy the mangrove walk, sensory garden and international garden, the rainforest walk at Dorrigo is perfect in winter and has long and short track options as well as a coffee shop with delicious home-baked treats, The Bunker Cartoon Gallery (check their website for holiday cartoon workshop details), Bellingen Market on July 21, Coffs Museum and Regional Art Gallery and Brelsford Park playground and Coffs Skatepark.

At the movies, Toy Story 4, The Secret Life of Pets 2 and Aladdin are showing locally see Event Cinemas and Sawtell Majestic Cinemas for session times.