Coffs Harbour City CouncilEconomic profile
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Coffs Harbour City

About the area

Name origin

Coffs Harbour is named from Korff's Harbour, which was named after John Korff, a shipbuilder and insurance surveyor who found safe shelter for his ship in the harbour during a gale in the late 1840s.

Location and boundaries

Coffs Harbour City is located on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, about 540 kilometres north of Sydney and 440 kilometres south of Brisbane. Coffs Harbour City is bounded by the Clarence Valley Council area in the north and west, the Coral Sea in the east, and Bellingen Shire in the south.

Included areas

Coffs Harbour City includes the townships, villages and rural localities of Arrawarra, Arrawarra Headland, Barcoongere (part), Boambee, Boambee East, Bonville, Brooklana, Bucca, Bundagen, Coffs Harbour, Coramba, Corindi Beach, Dirty Creek (part), Emerald Beach, Halfway Creek (part), Karangi, Korora, Lowanna, Moonee Beach, Mullaway, Nana Glen, North Boambee Valley, Red Rock, Safety Beach, Sandy Beach, Sapphire Beach, Sawtell, Sherwood (part), Toormina, Ulong, Upper Corindi, Upper Orara and Woolgoolga.

Economic region
Coffs Harbour City

Land use

Coffs Harbour City is a predominantly rural area, with expanding residential, rural-residential and resort areas, and some industrial and commercial land use. The City encompasses a total land area of nearly 1,200 square kilometres, including substantial areas of national park, state forest, parkland, coastline and beaches. Settlement is based around the main town of Coffs Harbour, and the townships of Sawtell, Toormina and Woolgoolga, with many small villages and localities along the coast and inland. Much of the rural area is used for timber production and agriculture, particularly banana growing. Tourism is also an important industry, especially along the coast.


Coffs Harbour City is served by the Pacific Highway, the north coast railway line and Coffs Harbour Regional Airport.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from the 1840s, with land used mainly for agriculture and cedar logging. Settlement was initially along the rivers which functioned as ports. Population was minimal until growth took place in the 1870s and 1880s, aided by gold mining and improved access. Significant development did not occur until the post-war years, particularly during the 1950s and 1960s. Rapid growth took place during the 1970s and 1980s, spurred by tourism. The population of the City grew from about 15,000 in 1966 to 25,000 in 1976, and then to 42,000 in 1986. The population continued to increase during the 1990s and early 2000s, rising from under 53,000 in 1991 to nearly 70,000 in 2011.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Coffs Harbour area were the Gumbaynggir Aboriginal people.