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In Australia, the No.1 recreational activity is fishing, with more people choosing to participate in this pastime than engaging in any other hobby or spot. And due to its popularity, many families choose to holiday at places around the country that provide optimum conditions for fishing. Often better known for its tourist attractions (like the Big Banana) and great beaches, Coffs Harbour is actually one of the best places to fish in Australia. Enthusiasts can catch a variety of fish species all in the local area — something not found in most fishing havens. Apart from offering world-class fishing spots, the Coffs Coast is also the perfect place to enjoy swimming, snorkelling, diving, sightseeing, shopping, kayaking and more. If you’re ready to visit this holiday hot spot, then book a hotel in Coffs Harbour and read on for three of the best areas for fishing and frolicking.
Solitary Islands Marine Park
In New South Wales, the Solitary Islands Marine Park is the largest marine protected area in the state. Extending around 75 kilometres along the Coffs Coast, this group of islands is popular with fishing enthusiasts who love to get offshore for deep-sea fishing. While the area has zones where fishing is not allowed, in the regions where you can dangle a line you’re likely to catch an array of species such as snapper, pearl perch, Spanish mackerel, jewfish, amberjack, kingfish and more. Visitors to the Solitary Islands Marine Park can also enjoy scuba diving and snorkelling in the waters, and are sure to be impressed by the area’s 550 species of fish, 90 varieties of coral and 600 types of molluscs. The region is home to various turtle species, and hosts humpback whales during the autumn and winter months. While in the area, you may also be interested in visiting Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre that is adjacent to the Marine Park. The centre is suitable for all ages and is home to the Solitary Islands Aquarium, and has guided tours and visual displays.
A small community in the Coffs Coast region, Repton is approximately a 20-minute drive away from Coffs Harbour. It’s popular with both locals and tourists who enjoy freshwater fishing. The region boasts clean rivers and lakes, and is ideal for anglers who want to try their hand at fly fishing, salmon or trout fishing. The two most popular fishing spots nearby Repton are the Repton Rail Bridge and Repton Hole. They both provide deeper-water fishing where tourists are likely to catch mangrove jack, school jewfish, flathead, mulloway, trevally, perch and stud bream. While visiting Repton, travellers can also enjoy boating, swimming, relaxing picnics along the river, canoeing and horse riding. Repton is adjacent to Bongil Bongil National Park, so hikers and bird-watching enthusiasts are well-catered to. If food and wine are more your scene, then head to nearby Raleigh Vineyard and Winery to sample local cheeses and wines; if you prefer to get the adrenaline pumping, then don’t miss a visit to the Raleigh Raceway.
Boambee Beach, near the village of Sawtell, is popular with locals and tourists alike. It’s regularly visited by fishermen, four-wheel-drive enthusiasts, joggers and Jet-Ski owners. The Beach provides anglers with both beach and river fishing, and the standard catch includes blackfish, flathead, whiting, mulloway and brim. At the southern end of Boambee Beach, you’ll find Boambee Creek Reserve. Although it’s a popular spot for families with young children (due to the shallow water and picnic and playground facilities), there is also a pedestrian bridge located under the rail bridge which provides fishing enthusiasts with access to the southern end of Boambee Beach. When not spending time catching fish in the area, tourists can enjoy amazing views from the Boambee Lookout and perhaps even spot migrating whales from June to November. There are also plenty of walking trails to explore, lots of shops, cafes and galleries to enjoy in nearby Sawtell, and many safe cycling tracks in the region.
About the Author: Fiona Charles is a travel writer and mother who enjoys exploring Australia’s best fishing spots with her husband and kids.