Why you won't find a friendlier place than Coffs!
WE ALL know it's the sights and experiences that sell a tourist destination, but let's face it, it's the people in that place who generate return visits.
A school holiday mecca, with the heart of a big country town like Coffs, has for generations featured in the photo albums of holidaying families.
Lets face it, who in Australia hasn't seen or stopped at the city's big yellow claim to fame.
And when it comes to tourist surveys, you can't believe every statistic or poll of 1,000-odd people to establish the truth.
But when a popular company, like Big 7, takes to social media and asks it's social audience of 1.5 million people "where you would find the friendliest cities and towns in Australia," Well the outcome is going to carry some merit.
And too no surprise Coffs rated right up there.
The search for the friendliest places was based on how easy the city is to navigate or strangers helping you find your way, to making new best friends in a local bar.
The cities and towns across Australia where locals made visitors feel the most welcome.
And here's the results.
The friendliest cities and towns in Australia
Melton is a friendly place if - and emphasis on if - you're local. While that's all well and good for Melton residents and their good neighbourly vibes, it can mean that visitors might feel like they don't quite fit in and are unwelcome.
Warrnambool might have beautiful ocean views but its residents aren't doing much to boost its reputation on a global scale. Locals aren't exactly rude, per se, but the overall indifference towards strangers can take its toll.
Australia's seventh largest city is unfortunately one of its least friendly, according to Big 7 Travel readers. It might rank highly when it comes to surfing and and artsy scene, but when it comes to people it's a different story. While locals aren't rude, it's more of a "polite but unfriendly" vibe.
22nd. Alice Springs
Alice Springs is beautiful, with fiercely proud locals who love where they're from. However, that proudness can often be mistaken for arrogance towards outsiders. Locals here are stubborn, and its sparse rural population can make it harder to make friends.
This Queensland coastal city is famous for its namesake Bundaberg Rum, but its hospitality could use a little loosening up. It has its charm but could be friendlier; you won't exactly be greeted with a smile from the local cashier.
While a lot of people can pass Mackay by on their way to see other parts of Oz, this city is a cultural hub with a vibrant food scene. Its tourist-friendly initiatives are helping the state big time, but overall its reputation has some catching up to do.
The cannabis capital of Australia? Nimbin's iconic rep as a hippy village is known the world over. It doesn't have the sort of overt friendliness of other places, but locals are generally mellow enough. We can probably guess why…
Despite it being less than an hour's drive from Melbourne, Geelong doesn't rate as well on terms of the friendliest cities and towns in Australia. You won't be invited into someone's home for tea, but they're nice. There's light-hearted banter between locals here.
The Garden City is a popular newcomer on many tourist itineraries and has the potential to be a consistent winner for city breaks. Its developing tourism industry means that locals are eager to chat away to visitors.
Sydney might not have a reputation for being friendly on a global scale, but our readers ranked it highly in terms of helpfulness from strangers. Look lost? Chances are a good-natured Sydney-sider will help you out.
15th. The Gold Coast
The Gold Coast doesn't just have sandy stretches of beach: it's been recognised as one of the most welcoming places to visit, live, work and play. The laidback holiday vibe is made even better by the friendly people you will meet here.
Locals here are some of the most welcoming and friendly people you're likely to meet on your travels across Oz. There's a chilled out pace of life here that lends itself to a warm atmosphere.
Another QLD city scoring highly, Townsville exudes a welcoming atmosphere as soon as you arrive that continues everywhere in the city itself. Maybe it's the 320 days of sunshine each year?
12th. Logan City
Logan City locals are down-to-earth and willing to help, without expecting anything in return. Our readers scored the state highly on its community vibe. It's a safe city for travellers (once you explore with some common sense!) with a diverse mix of locals and an exciting energy.
People here are always keen to strike up conversation and will look after their own community no matter what. They're equally nice to visitors, too. The city's rich history and gourmet offerings make it a must-visit in Australia.
Making it into the Top 10 friendliest cities and towns in Australia is Hobart, Tasmania. family-friendly and safe, with heaps of culture and makes visitors soon feel like locals. The atmosphere in the city and beyond is hard to match, with a homey feel and locals who go the extra mile to welcome tourists.
Let this put an end to any Canberra-bashing from other Australian cities: it might be quiet-ish city, but the people here make it a fun and vibrant place to spend some time. There's a real sense of community, where it's common for a stranger to help you out.
The gateway to the Top End, Darwin now has the title of Australia's 8th friendliest city, thanks to its exuberant vibe and a multicultural mix of residents. It's an easy city to find your way around, with plenty of bars and social spots where you will find yourself chatting to locals.
7th. Port Macquarie
This scenic coastal NSW town has plenty to offer. Port Macquarie folk are incredibly warm and the hospitality here is unbeatable. You'll ask for directions and end up being personally shown there.
Melbourne's progressive atmosphere makes it an enjoyable city to visit, with some of the friendliest people in Australia to boot. It's family-friendly and safe, with heaps of culture and makes visitors soon feel like locals. You'll get an instant feel for the friendliness here.
Locals are open-minded and will eagerly share their favourite place to eat or drink with out-of-towners. Our readers scored Cairns highly on first impressions, putting it firmly as one of the friendliest cities in Australia.
Both Adelaide's city centre and 'burbs residents are friendly to just about everyone. The city has excellent walkability, so you can just wander around at your own leisure. Expect to bond with welcoming locals over a drink or two.
Queensland's capital city makes the nations proud with its attitude towards strangers and tourists. Its warm and welcoming community add a real buzz to the city, making it a popular city break and tourist destination.
2nd. Coffs Harbour
Whether you've been born and raised here or are just passing through, locals will treat you with the same kind attitude. People here have a particular kind of friendliness that will make you want to move here immediately.
The friendliest city in Australia awards goes to Perth, thanks to its lively locals, engaging social scene and ease of access for first time visitors. Perth is a wonderfully vibrant and social place to be. Expect to make new friends in every bar you go to.
Pretty good result Coffs, champions of the East Coast at least.