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Coffs Harbour

"Coffs - A balanced Opinion"

Coffs Harbour is a nice town which is slowly becoming a city. It had a boom a few years ago which saw the prices of properties, and the cost of living rise -but little has been done to really capitalise on this boom. It has 2 major 'ish' shopping plaza's but due to the lack of competition the prices are quite steep compared to major cities.
The cost of living is quite high in this area and there are several social issues which mar this region including unemployment, drug abuse and poverty. The price of petrol is more expensive here for some reason , and the rate of unemployment is very high. Usually you will not even be considered for a job unless you know the person hiring you or are close family. What this has led to is people in roles that they are totally unsuitable or unqualified for, which is a real problem in this area; and which further contributes to the region's inherent social issues .
Youth social issues are particularly prevalent due the lack of things to do for young people and the lack of employment opportunities. There is a real humanitarian focus in this area as there has been an influx of refugees and asylum seekers being moved into houses across Coffs Harbour. If you are on Centrelink, you will be penalised for moving here due to the lack of employment opportunities and will have to serve a waiting period.
There is really not much to do unless you love the beach or love hanging around doing nothing. Public transport is very limited and you really need a car to get around to places. The main crimes committed in this area according to statistics are theft from cars, armed robberies and muggings which is not really surprising considering the higher than usual unemployment rate. If you are particularly skilled and wish to work, you will most probably end up stacking shelves at Woolworths ; so if you are looking for a career - steer clear from Coffs Harbour and go for a more promising area.
There are a lot of volunteer positions that you can go for in Coffs Harbour if you want to give something back to the community, and the area has a higher than usual volunteer rate. This has been attributed to several factors - firstly that most people in Coffs Harbour are retired and want something to do with their time, and it can often be a useful way to make contacts in order to find employment.
Be careful however of unscrupulous companies/individuals who try to capitalise on the high unemployment in Coffs Harbour and get you to "volunteer" (i.e: work for free) in their companies for years with a vain hope of employment. I have heard this story from many people in Coffs Harbour who are asked to work for free under the guise of volunteering in a faint hope of an offer of employment that never comes. Be aware of your rights in Coffs Harbour and be prepared to stand up to these people.
There is a university and a TAFE in Coffs Harbour if you wish to pursue a higher education. They have a variety of courses on offer and there are a few trades available although competition is fierce. Many of the people who grew up here eventually leave Coffs Harbour in order to enhance their prospects in life although there has been a drive from the university and TAFE's to retain locals in the area to stop the gradual "brain drain" occurring in Coffs Harbour. As the majority of the people in the area are high school dropouts there are very few skilled people in the area, as these go for more promising affluent area's. I am studying nursing at the moment and most of the people I attend university with are planning to move out of Coffs Harbour as soon as they finish their degree in order to get good employment and to have a better chance.
If you are retired and wish to make a seachange and have a bit of money behind you then this is the area for you. I would not recommend it for anyone else unless you have a job lined up already or some kind of contact here. There is very little change in this area and it isn't really progressing anywhere - I've heard it called a 'welfare wasteland' by the Daily Telegraph and 'halfway to nowhere' by most people who grew up here. It does feel a bit backwards here and it isn't keeping up with the times at all. The shopping complexes are dowdy and there is vey few services here.
If you wish to start up a business here, make sure you have a lot of money behind you as you will struggle in this area. A few businesses I am aware of have had problems generating an income in this area due to the low elasticity of the market and have faced problems with the council who keep raising rates and ban advertising on roadways and in major traffic area's which in turn works against small businesses. Big businesses like Woolworths and Coles have squashed out the majority of the local florists, butchers and grocers so there isn't a lot of independents here and the lack of competition means that food prices are very expensive here.
Most of the locals are elderly and retired and resist any proposed change which could enhance the community. As the largest demographic they have the major vote in the area so little is done in Coffs that doesn't suit its largest demographic. Looking to the future I don't see any real future for Coffs Harbour unless there is another boom or unless some drastic changes are made. This saddens me because I believe that so much can be done to the area to improve it with some time and investment. Properties are expensive and it is difficult to get rentals in the area so even moving here can be quite a challenge unless you have some serious money behind you or family in the area.
On the plus side it has some beautiful beaches and some stunning vistas, and a few national parks scattered around. It is a great holiday destination if you want to get away from the city for a few days and out of the rat race. I would advise anyone thinking of moving here to think very carefully about what they want out of their life - if you want a good stable career, with employment prospects and opportunities for growth, a stable future for your family, opportunities' for your children or if you want a lucrative business - stay away. If you want a seachange, to retire somewhere pretty, want a break from the city for a year, a holiday or are happy to live on welfare - then Coffs is the place for you

Great for

  • Beaches
  • Beautiful

Who lives here?

  • Retirees
  • Tourists

I'm afraid I disagree with a lot of what's mentioned here. If you look at Bureau of Stats figures for the area, you'll see that the age demographic is fairly evenly spread and this is no longer a retiree-dominated area. Compared to regional Vic (where we moved from this year), the bus services are fairly good. As Coffs isn't huge, if you do have a car, getting around is easy. Yes, employment is a problem for a lot of people. Fortunately my husband and I have very marketable skills and he had no problem getting his business up and running here. I do some work interstate so my earning capacity hasn't been particularly badly affected. I realise that's not the case for everyone. There are great cafes, new housing going up, excellent beaches, and some very good schools (part of the reason why we were willing to move here with our two boys). Aside from the beaches, there are great walks, good bike paths, the Big Banana, marekets, a cinema in town as well as the re-furbished Sawtell cinema etc. I think the area is gradually improving and in time, this will translate to increased work being available for those who wish to be employed. If you can afford to get started, being self-employed may be easier! :)


I too disagree with alot of this commentators words.Seems to me you have been blinded by your own enviroment for to long .If I read this article and no other I wouldnt consider buying and moving there in the near future as im about to. Your unbalanced opinion is inherently unfair and as I have spent time in Coffs over my 60yrs on earth as well as having the pleasure to have known the Landi family who built the BIG B very well you are wrong in a lot of what you say, eg, I have lived here in Perth for the last 10 yrs. Properties are expensive ,cost of living expensive, fuel,gas petrol expensive ,local gvt irrational and inneficient although improving presently, demographically West Australians are as belligerent as anywhere Ive ever been maybe more so and the least friendly, should I go on. If you have an axe to grind its very easy to put up misrepresentative comment if you go looking for it as you can see, so I hope anyone else that reads this takes a large grain of salt with it as I have.
Im aware of the age of this article so I hope the author has moved on succesfully and is reflecting on where she came from with a bit of home sickness. :)
Coffs isnt on its own with unemployment and crime you need to look across all the states to see the similarities in statistics, opportunity abounds if you put your mind to it and I for one look forward to moving to a town with a great future soon.
And by the way the beaches there are second to none on the coast and they get surf , we dont here in the west unless you want to drive 300 ks south to over crowded and aggressive surfing spots.


I am a young adult and have lived here for 15 years. What has been mentioned above is true and is a "balanced opinion" of Coffs Harbour. Disagree with the last two replies.

The opinions expressed within this review are those of the individual and not those of Homely.com.au.Report
Nambucca Heads

"Honest view of Nambucca Heads"

I moved here from Sydney and have been living in this town for 3 years now. There are some stunning views in Nambucca Heads. The town is very quiet and most people are generally quite friendly. It is lovey to be able to walk along the beach which are more often than not deserted, and to feel the sea breeze through the town which is great in summer. If you are moving here to work however; you are going to be sorely disappointed. There is 8.5% unemployment which I have been told is the highest in the nation. Most people have to wait at least 4-5 years before they can even get a potential job offer - there is a lot of nepotism in this area so if you have specific skills you will only be considered for a job if you are close friends with the person hiring you. If you are on Centrelink and wish to move here from any other part of Australia you will be penalised and will have to serve a waiting period. If you are looking to set up a business here, you will have a struggle on your hands. I have seen many businesses start in this area and fail dismally within at least 6 months of opening. A Woolworths opened in this town a few years ago and squashed out a lot of the independent butchers, florists, and grocers so your only choice of shopping is to go to Woolworths. There is not much to do in the town unless you are a surfie type and spend all your time at the beach. Shopping is extremely limited and you have to go to Coffs Harbour to do any shopping which quickly chews up your petrol and your time - and it gets old very quickly. On the subject of petrol, for some reason it is more expensive here than it is in Sydney and public transport is very limited. Due to the lack of things to do and lack of employment there is a high rate of drug use in this area and there has been a few armed robberies and drug busts. If you wish to study there is a university in Coffs Harbour which isn't too bad and the cost of rent is extremely affordable. I would say the main issues in this area are definitely unemployment and the Pacific Highway which is very dangerous and there has been at least 7 deaths in the years that I have lived here which is a big number for such a small town. The roads in this area are terrible. The council is at least 40 million dollars behind in roadworks due to the high incidence of flooding which in turn breaks up the road leading to potholes- so make sure you get your car serviced regularly. There are a few hopsitals round here - Macksville is the closest. These hospitals struggle to stay open and have to rely on the community to keep them open or to get medical equipment which is testament to the community spirit in Nambucca Heads. House prices are quite low so it is a good area to buy but terrible to sell. Most people I know have had their property on the market for 3 years and no interest. All in all, Nambucca is a nice place, excellent for those who wish to retire.

Great for

  • Good beaches
  • Nice area
  • Nice people

Not great for

  • Major shopping centres
  • Nightlife

Who lives here?

  • Retirees
  • Beach Lovers

also has the best Maccas and KFC in NSW

The opinions expressed within this review are those of the individual and not those of Homely.com.au.Report