G’day Travelers! Following on from my recent post about traveling to the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, I thought I’d continue with another of the big international motorsport events that heads to Australia, the World Rally Championship’s (WRC) Rally Australia .
Some of the worlds leading drivers and manufactures descend upon Coffs Harbour in regional NSW every year to see who has the fastest cars on the gravel roads of WRC Rally Australia. It’s a great world class event, that showcases New South Wales on a world stage.
I’ve been lucky enough to have been to Coffs Harbour for Rally Australia a couple of times now, so here are my tips for traveling to Coffs Harbour for WRC Rally Australia.
Where is the WRC Rally Australia held?
On the gravel roads in the forests surrounding Coffs Harbour. There are 3 days of rally action in three separate areas in the outskirts of Coffs Harbour. With nightly special stages held in the center of the city. While individual configurations of the competition stages change yearly. One day is usually held to the south, another to the west and one more to the north of Coffs Harbour.
Where To Stay?
Rally Australia covers a fair bit of ground over the course of 3 days, but it all based around Coffs Harbour. There are plenty of accommodations options to cater for all sorts of budgets in and around Coffs Harbour. It’s nice and central and you’ll have easy access to Thursday nights Rally Show in the center of town. There are also plenty of options for dining which will make trip easier.
Getting To and From the Rally Stages?
Your going to need a car to get around. As I mentioned in the previous sections Rally Australia covers a large area over the 3 days. While the spectator areas are well thought out, with some easily accessible on sealed roads. Some of the spectator areas are only accessible through gravel logging roads. It’s recommended (but not required) to have a car with some sort of AWD/4WD capabilities. Particularly in the stages to the south of Coffs Harbour.
Also worth noting that parking options are limited near the spectator areas so it’s recommended that you get to the stages early. I’d recommend at least an hour (if not 2) before the first car is due to arrive in stage.
What To Do In The Evenings?
If you just cant get enough rally action, then there are night time stages held in Coffs Harbour. You’ll need additional tickets for the night Super Special Stages. But its a good opportunity to catch the cars running a couple of times in short succession.
Update – I’ve been advised that the Super Special Stages have been replaced by new night stages in 2015.
Alternatively if you’ve had enough rally action there are plenty of pubs and restaurants in and around Coffs Harbour for you to try out. They cater for all sorts of budgets and tastes, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding something that suits you.
Spending Time In Coffs Harbour Before or After?
Coffs Harbour is a great place to relax for a couple of days before or after Rally Australia. Coffs Harbour has some sensational beaches and national parks to explore. Why not check out my top five things to do in Coffs Harbour post to see what else there is to do.
WRC Rally Australia Tips
As I mentioned previously, you need to get to the stages spectator areas early, at least an hour prior to the stage start. But also give yourself plenty of time to drive to the spectator areas. You might find the road your GPS is directing you is part of one of the rally stages and closed. You’ll need to give yourself enough time to navigate around those road closures and any other traffic you might encounter.
While competition is held over 4 to 6 stages a day. You should really plan to watch from 2 spectator points in a day. While the WRC cars get through the stages extremely quickly, there are 100’s of other competitors from WRC2 and local rally series coming through the stages. Giving you plenty of cars to watch and a couple of hours action at each spectator point.
Another note about the spectator areas, some of them are quite remote. Id recommend bringing some food and drinks with you to get through the day. That said the rally villages, setup as part of some of the spectator areas have some facilities available.
One last point I’d like to mention is to obey the instructions of spectator marshals. Rallying is a spectacular but unpredictable sport and while some of spectator areas will require you to cross the road that forms part of the rally stage, only do so when the spectator marshals say it’s ok. Cars can have issues at any point during the stage, so you can’t be guaranteed the road is safe to cross without proper instructions.
Traveling to Coffs Harbour for the first time? You may also like to check out my tips for traveling to Coffs Harbour for the first time. For more information about WRC Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour including where to buy tickets and maps of the spectator points head over to the Rally Australia website – http://www.rallyaustralia.com.au/
If you’d like to see my photos from the 2014 WRC Rally Australia, head on over to – http://vandersyde.com/2014/09/15/rally-australia-coffs-harbour/
Update – The updated 2015 Rally Guide is now available – http://www.rallyaustralia.com.au/2015-rally-guide-1-now-available/
Have you been to the Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour before? Feel something else should have been on the list? Let me know comment below so I can check them out for next time.
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