A Travel Price Comparison for Australia Coffs Harbour vs. Wollongong for Beaches, Families, Attractions, and Food

Should you visit Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Coffs Harbour and Wollongong can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour is a relaxing, fun, and nature-filled vacation town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and hiking.

Wollongong

Wollongong is a trendy, vibrant, and student-friendly coastal city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. Other reasons to visit include hiking, shopping, and museums.

Coffs Harbour and Wollongong: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable


Is there more to do in Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

You'll generally find more things to do in Wollongong than Coffs Harbour. Wollongong is bigger than Coffs Harbour, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Wollongong is better known for its museums and big city activities, while Coffs Harbour is more popular for its resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, hiking, shopping, and impressive beauty. Coffs Harbour is more touristy than Wollongong and is known for its popularity as a holiday destination, diverse marine environment, and the iconic "Big Banana". Wollongong is well known for its surrounding nature and urban beaches. Also, Wollongong is famous for Grand Pacific Drive.

How is Coffs Harbour different from Wollongong?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Wollongong and Coffs Harbour. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Wollongong is an excellent place to visit for its museums and history. Also, Coffs Harbour is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Wollongong. There are several museums like the Wollongong Science Centre and Wollongong Planetarium and the railway museum Trainworks. There's also the Illawarra Museum, which is housed in the former post and telegraph office.

Coffs Harbour offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. The town is home to the infamous Big Banana Fun Park. It's a large amusement park that's become recognized for the "Big Banana" at the entrance - which is the first of the "Big Things" found in Australia. The town also has several other landmarks to check out such as the Forest Sky Pier, the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden, and the Butterfly House.


Is the Food Better in Coffs Harbour or Wollongong? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Both Coffs Harbour and Wollongong offer excellent local cuisine and restaurants.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Coffs Harbour. It's a popular tourist destination, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants that cater to families, couples, and all types of vacations. There are quaint cafes as well as fine dining restaurants and the cuisine ranges from local seafood to modern Australian favorites, or international treats.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Wollongong. In recent years a younger crowd of entrepreneurs and self-starters has moved into the city, and with them has come a growing food scene. You'll find local cafes, fine dining restaurants, and many great beachfront restaurants where you can dine.

Is Coffs Harbour or Wollongong Better for Nightlife?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Both Coffs Harbour and Wollongong have excellent vibes after the sun sets.

Coffs Harbour has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. It's a vacation spot that attracts visitors who want to enjoy the evening activities. The Jetty Strip is popular for its nightlife scene, but you'll find no shortage of bars and pubs in other areas as well.

The people in Wollongong know how to have a good time. The nightlife scene has seen a revitalization in recent years, and in addition to the standard bars and pubs, you'll find local venues that range from quirky to lively.

Is Coffs Harbour or Wollongong Better for Resorts?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Coffs Harbour is great for its luxury resorts. However, Wollongong is not a resort destination.

Coffs Harbour is known as a popular and fun resort destination. There's a huge range of accommodation types in the area with everything from camping to luxury resorts. There are also budget-friendly hostels and family-friendly hotels.

Wollongong is not a resort destination.


Is Coffs Harbour or Wollongong Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Coffs Harbour is great for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Wollongong is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Many visitors partake in scuba diving or snorkeing while visiting Coffs Harbour. Scuba diving and snorkeling is popular in the area, as this is where the Solitary Islands Marine Park begins. The area sees a mix of the warm water from the Great Barrier Reef and the cooler waters from around Sydney, so the marine life is diverse. There are sheltered areas that offer snorkeling for all ages and you'll see a great mix of tropical and sub-tropical marine life, as well as both soft and hard corals.

Wollongong is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Coffs Harbour or Wollongong Better for Beaches?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Coffs Harbour is an unbeatable place for the beach. Also, Wollongong is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its beaches.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Coffs Harbour. People come for the beaches, and they won't disappoint. You can enjoy everything from surfing, swimming, fishing, or simply walking and taking in the beauty. Popular beaches in the area include Emerald Beach, Woolgoolga, and the family-friendly Jetty Beach.

Wollongong is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. There are urban beaches, as well as more hidden coastal areas that attract locals and visitors alike. In the heart of the city you'll find North Wollongong Beach and Wollongong City Beach, both of which have picnic areas and are popular with locals.

Is Coffs Harbour or Wollongong Better for Hiking?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Coffs Harbour is great for hiking. Also, Wollongong is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for the nearby hiking options.

Many visitors go to Coffs Harbour for the hiking trails. There are many national parks and natural areas nearby with excellent hiking and bush walks. The Coffs Creek Walk is a walking and biking path that's in town and connects the city center to many of the top sights that are nearby. Out of town, there's the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk, the Gumgali Track, Sherwood Nature Reserve and Ulidarra National Park.

Many people include a hike when visiting Wollongong. The surrounding area has many great hikes that can be done as a day trip or even a half day trip. There are waterfalls, city views, and forest walks. Some of the most popular trails include Brokers Nose and Clover Hill Trail.


Is the Shopping Better in Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Coffs Harbour is great for its shopping areas. Also, Wollongong is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Coffs Harbour. The city has many shopping centers and markets where you can enjoy leisurely shopping or pick up any essentials that you may have forgotten.

Wollongong is a great destination for shopping. The most popular shopping area is Wollongong Central Shopping Centre, which has international brands and all of the big fashion names.

Is Coffs Harbour or Wollongong Better for Families?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Coffs Harbour is an unbeatable place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Wollongong is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its family-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Coffs Harbour is a very family-friendly destination. There are great beaches where kids can swim or learn to surf. There are also water parks, including the famous Big Banana Fun Park, as well as amusement parks, nature reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries. Kids and adults alike will enjoy going dolphin or whale watching, or putting on a mask and going snorkeling.

Wollongong is a very family-friendly place to visit. The beaches, nearby nature, and ubiquitous bike trails make this a fun coastal city to explore with kids. There are also interactive museums such as Discovery Space and plenty of playgrounds. Kid-friendly surf lessons as well as the Nan Tien Temple make this a fun and fascinating family destination.

Is Coffs Harbour or Wollongong Better for Couples?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Both Coffs Harbour and Wollongong are excellent destinations for a couple's getaway.

Coffs Harbour makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. It's a beautiful city and a popular honeymoon destination. Couples will enjoy the impressive beaches and fun activities. There are places to explore nature as well as restaurants and fun evening activities. There's also great scuba diving and snorkeling at the Solitary Islands Marine Park.

Couples visit Wollongong frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. The scenic natural areas, including the Grand Pacific Drive or the many bush walks, make this a wonderful couples retreat. There are water sports like surfing as well as horseback riding and even helicopter rides. In the evening, enjoy a nice meal and a sunset view.


Is Coffs Harbour or Wollongong Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Coffs Harbour is great for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Wollongong is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Coffs Harbour. There are a number of hostels around town as well as great water activities and a lively atmosphere, making this a nice stop off for backpackers.

Wollongong is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are a couple of hostels as well as many outdoor areas to explore, so backpackers who want to escape the traditional backpacker scene will appreciate some time here.

Is Coffs Harbour or Wollongong Better for Students?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Wollongong is a coastal city with good options for its student-friendly activities. However, Coffs Harbour is not popular with students.

Plenty of students visit Wollongong. It's not too far from Sydney and has a smaller, more laid back coastal vibe that appeals to many students.

Coffs Harbour is not popular with students.

Is Coffs Harbour or Wollongong Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Wollongong is an excellent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Coffs Harbour is lacking in options for its public transit.

Public transit in Wollongong is fairly effecient and thorough. There's a free Gong shuttle bus that travels around the city center. It runs a loop from Wollongong Station to Wollongong University in both directions. There are also other bus services in town.

Public transit is generally limited in Coffs Harbour. This is a very car dependent area and public transit is very limit. While there are buses, the area is spread out and you need the freedom of having your own vehicle to explore.


Is Coffs Harbour or Wollongong a more walkable city?

Coffs Harbour
Wollongong

Wollongong is an excellent place to visit for its walkability. However, Coffs Harbour is lacking in options for its high level of walkability.

Wollongong is very walkable. There are walking paths in the city center so it's possible to walk to many tourist destinations.

Coffs Harbour is not a walkable vacation town. Most visitors arrive with a car and you'll struggle to fully experience the area if you don't have your own form of transportation.

For even more information, also check out Is Coffs Harbour Worth Visiting? and Is Wollongong Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Wollongong or Coffs Harbour?

How long in Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

It's fun to spend time in either Coffs Harbour or Wollongong. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Coffs Harbour due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Coffs Harbour, and 2-4 days is enough time in Wollongong.

Families should spend more time in Coffs Harbour than Wollongong. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Coffs Harbour, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Coffs Harbour than Wollongong. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Coffs Harbour that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Coffs Harbour than Wollongong if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Coffs Harbour.


  • How many days in Coffs Harbour or Wollongong? Ideal Length of Stay
    Coffs Harbour 3-7 
    Wollongong 2-4

One day in Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

With food and scuba diving and snorkeling around the lively vacation town of Coffs Harbour, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the student-friendly destination of Wollongong. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

With scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping around the destination of Coffs Harbour, there's plenty to do. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. It offers something for everyone. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Wollongong. Most people come for the beaches. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities.


Five days in Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

Coffs Harbour, a popular vacation town, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this vacation town. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the student-friendly destination of Wollongong. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. This coastal city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

A week in Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

Coffs Harbour is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this vacation town makes for a great vacation. One of the main draws to the area is the beaches. One week should give you a good understanding of everything this vacation town has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

You'll find food and shopping around the coastal city of Wollongong. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.


Which place is cheaper, Wollongong or Coffs Harbour?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Coffs Harbour is $136, while the average daily cost in Wollongong is $121. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Coffs Harbour and Wollongong in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Coffs Harbour $63
    Wollongong $65
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Coffs Harbour $126
    Wollongong $130
Compare Hotels in Coffs Harbour and Wollongong

Looking for a hotel in Coffs Harbour or Wollongong? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Coffs Harbour


Hotels in Wollongong


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Coffs Harbour Hotel Prices and Wollongong Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Coffs Harbour $22
    Wollongong $39

Is it cheaper to fly into Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

Prices for flights to both Wollongong and Coffs Harbour change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Coffs Harbour $51
    Wollongong $31

Typical Food Prices in Wollongong

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Wollongong:


  • Lunch
    $7.83

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Coffs Harbour $42
    Wollongong $22
Typical Entertainment Prices in Coffs Harbour

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Coffs Harbour's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Surfing Museum (for 2)
    $7.18

Tours and Activities in Coffs Harbour

For Coffs Harbour, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Coastal Adventure: $126
  • Rainforest & Waterfall Experience: $126
  • Sunset Experience: $78
  • Sunset Kayak Eco Tour with Marine Scientist: $40

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Coffs Harbour $8.39
    Wollongong $18


When comparing the travel costs between Coffs Harbour and Wollongong, we can see that Coffs Harbour is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Pacific, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Coffs Harbour Expensive? and Is Wollongong Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

Wollongong has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Coffs Harbour. When comparing the sizes of Coffs Harbour and Wollongong, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Coffs Harbour or Wollongong?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Coffs Harbour or Wollongong in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Coffs Harbour and Wollongong. Many travelers come to Coffs Harbour for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, many visitors come to Wollongong in the summer for the beaches, the hiking, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences.

In January, Coffs Harbour is generally around the same temperature as Wollongong. Daily temperatures in Coffs Harbour average around 23°C (74°F), and Wollongong fluctuates around 23°C (74°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Wollongong this time of the year. In Coffs Harbour, it's very sunny this time of the year. Coffs Harbour usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Wollongong during summer. Coffs Harbour gets 237 hours of sunny skies, while Wollongong receives 236 hours of full sun in the summer.

Coffs Harbour gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In January, Coffs Harbour usually receives more rain than Wollongong. Coffs Harbour gets 187 mm (7.4 in) of rain, while Wollongong receives 97 mm (3.8 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Coffs Harbour 23°C (74°F) 
    Wollongong 23°C (74°F)

Should I visit Coffs Harbour or Wollongong in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Coffs Harbour as well as Wollongong. Many visitors come to Coffs Harbour in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Additionally, most visitors come to Wollongong for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, and the shopping scene during these months.

Coffs Harbour is around the same temperature as Wollongong in the autumn. The daily temperature in Coffs Harbour averages around 20°C (67°F) in April, and Wollongong fluctuates around 18°C (64°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Coffs Harbour this time of the year. In the autumn, Coffs Harbour often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Wollongong. Coffs Harbour gets 203 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Wollongong receives 195 hours of full sun.

Coffs Harbour receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Coffs Harbour usually gets more rain in April than Wollongong. Coffs Harbour gets 215 mm (8.5 in) of rain, while Wollongong receives 73 mm (2.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Coffs Harbour 20°C (67°F) 
    Wollongong 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Coffs Harbour or Wollongong in the Winter?

Both Wollongong and Coffs Harbour are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Coffs Harbour for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Wollongong because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In the winter, Coffs Harbour is a little warmer than Wollongong. Typically, the winter temperatures in Coffs Harbour in July average around 13°C (55°F), and Wollongong averages at about 10°C (50°F).

It's quite sunny in Wollongong. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Coffs Harbour. Coffs Harbour usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Wollongong during winter. Coffs Harbour gets 219 hours of sunny skies, while Wollongong receives 208 hours of full sun in the winter.

In July, Coffs Harbour usually receives more rain than Wollongong. Coffs Harbour gets 63 mm (2.5 in) of rain, while Wollongong receives 47 mm (1.8 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Coffs Harbour 13°C (55°F) 
    Wollongong 10°C (50°F)

Should I visit Coffs Harbour or Wollongong in the Spring?

Both Wollongong and Coffs Harbour during the spring are popular places to visit. The spring months attract visitors to Coffs Harbour because of the beaches and the natural beauty. Also, the beaches and the activities around the city are the main draw to Wollongong this time of year.

In October, Coffs Harbour is generally a little warmer than Wollongong. Daily temperatures in Coffs Harbour average around 19°C (66°F), and Wollongong fluctuates around 17°C (63°F).

In Wollongong, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Coffs Harbour. In the spring, Coffs Harbour often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Wollongong. Coffs Harbour gets 257 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Wollongong receives 240 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Coffs Harbour. Coffs Harbour usually gets more rain in October than Wollongong. Coffs Harbour gets 103 mm (4.1 in) of rain, while Wollongong receives 76 mm (3 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Coffs Harbour 19°C (66°F) 
    Wollongong 17°C (63°F)

Typical Weather for Wollongong and Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour Wollongong
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 23°C (74°F) 187 mm (7.4 in) 23°C (74°F) 97 mm (3.8 in)
Feb 23°C (73°F) 195 mm (7.7 in) 23°C (73°F) 103 mm (4.1 in)
Mar 22°C (72°F) 241 mm (9.5 in) 21°C (70°F) 139 mm (5.5 in)
Apr 20°C (67°F) 215 mm (8.5 in) 18°C (64°F) 73 mm (2.9 in)
May 17°C (62°F) 177 mm (7 in) 14°C (58°F) 66 mm (2.6 in)
Jun 14°C (58°F) 125 mm (4.9 in) 12°C (53°F) 142 mm (5.6 in)
Jul 13°C (55°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 10°C (50°F) 47 mm (1.8 in)
Aug 14°C (57°F) 66 mm (2.6 in) 12°C (53°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)
Sep 16°C (62°F) 62 mm (2.4 in) 14°C (58°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)
Oct 19°C (66°F) 103 mm (4.1 in) 17°C (63°F) 76 mm (3 in)
Nov 20°C (69°F) 136 mm (5.4 in) 20°C (68°F) 85 mm (3.3 in)
Dec 22°C (72°F) 143 mm (5.6 in) 23°C (73°F) 54 mm (2.1 in)