Walk Me Through It

The Coffs Harbour Headlands Walk

Getting There

After an evening drive through rain and motorway traffic, it was wonderful to awake to blue skies over Coffs Harbour. The Headlands Walk starts anywhere near the Coffs Jetty, on the traditional lands of the Gumbaynggirr Nation. To get there from Coffs central, head east – all roads lead to the harbour. Or for the geographically challenged, just follow the road signs. There is plenty of free parking in the area.

Walk Me Through It
Coffs harbour

Muttonbird Island Views

We started with a walk along the breakwater, enjoying fabulous views on either side. To the left, trawlers and yachts are moored in a picturesque harbour. To the right, a pristine beach, surfers and the open sea, looking out to the Solitary Islands.

Walk Me Through It
Muttonbird Island from the breakwater.

Still heading east at the end of the breakwater, the track passes through a gate, before the walk up to the hilltop of Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve. The uphill incline is moderate, with several spots to stop, take a breath and take in the ever-changing view. It’s still misty after the overnight rain, so the mountains in the distance appear to pop out of the mist.

This is an out and back walk, well worth the views.

On a clearer day you can see all the way to South West Rocks. Beyond this scenic summit, the track continues east, out to a viewing point that is perfect for spotting the humpback whales migrating between May and November. This is an out and back walk, well worth the views.

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Getting to Gallows Beach

Returning to the harbour we strolled along the aptly named Jetty Beach. This lovely walk passes under the Coffs Jetty, past swimmers and seagulls. If you cross the road at the southern end you reach Gallows Beach, where a large group of surfers are riding as far as they dare before the waves crash into the rocky headland.

Gallows Beach is a foreboding name, so-called for the dangerous nature of the surf, according to Coffs Coast Heritage. Just above the beach is a World War 2 cement observation bunker, complete with a ‘Lest We Forget’ plaque – a sombre reminder of different days that contrasts starkly with the natural beauty of the setting.

Walk Me Through It
Gallows Beach

Taking a Pitstop

There are several paths from here onto the southern headland. The path to the top provides amazing views of the beaches and headlands to the south, again against the backdrop of misty mountains. Consider a pitstop at Jetty Beach House, before the return walk – just across the road from the Gallows Beach car park. A local icon, the setting provides great views while refuelling.

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The view south.

There is a walkway behind the beach, through the coastal vegetation. But today the ocean walk was so pleasant we chose to retrace our steps along the beach.

Further Information

As described, this walk was just over seven kilometres – perfect for an easy morning. Much shorter versions are possible by parking closer to the headlands and skipping the Jetty Beach walk.

Or longer, as the paths go on further both north and south. So whatever your fitness level or desire for exercise, there are many easy options for enjoying the magnificent Coffs Harbour coast by foot.

Walk Me Through It

Good walking sandals are best for this type of coastal walking, providing comfort and support while keeping your feet cool. And after a stroll along the sand they are very easy to give a quick shake. Check out the range at Kathmandu in Coffs.

All images by Glenn Mead.

Next up for Walk Me Through It is a visit to the top of Australia.