Sawtell is a pleasant surprise. Sawtell is in essence a suburb of Coffs Harbour, but this small and historic town has retained an independence from the greater city. Sawtell has lots of character which is out of character for Coffs Harbour. Heritage and history is important at Sawtell.
In 1863 a cutter carrying a load of cedar logs ran aground on what would become Sawtell Beach. A Coffs Harbour farmer named Walter Harvey assembled a team of workers to salvage the logs, and a small settlement developed near the site of the wreck.
Forty years later, the land around Sawtell Beach was purchased and subdivided by Oswald Sawtell for housing and farmland. A railway station, post office, school and hotel followed soon thereafter and by the 1930s Sawtell had become a thriving coastal village.