Coffs Harbour is a coastal city located on the north coast of New South Wales about 540 km north of Sydney, 385 km north of Newcastle, and 440 km south of Brisbane. The region has a wintertime population of over 70,000 people that swells to 100,000 in the vacation seasons. Popular with people wanting to relocate from big cities to small towns on the coast or in rural areas, Coffs Harbour continues to grow at an exceptional rate, with a population projection of 80,000 by the year 2016. According to the CSIRO, Coffs Harbour has the most livable climate in Australia, and it is nestled between a high mountain backdrop and dozens of "unspoiled" beaches. Coffs Harbour's economy is based mainly on farming (of bananas), tourism, and manufacturing. The town has a university (the Southern Cross University), a public hospital, and a private hospital, several radio stations, and three major shopping centres. Coffs Harbour is near numerous National Parks, including a Marine National Park. There are multiple flights per day by QantasLink, by Virgin Blue, and by Brindabella Airlines from Coffs Harbour to Sydney, Brisbane, and Newcastle. Coffs Harbour is also accessible by road, by Countrylink trains, and by regular bus services.
By the early 1900s, the Coffs Harbour area had become an important timber production centre. Before the opening of the North Coast Railway Line, the only way to transport large items of heavy but low value, such as timber, was by coastal shipping. This meant sawmillers on the North Coast were dependent on jetties either in rivers or off beaches for exporting their timber. Timber tramways were constructed to connect the timber-getting areas, the sawmills and jetties built into the ocean at Coffs Harbour.
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