COFFS Harbour residents who saw a family at the centre of what appears to have been a murder-suicide had no clue that a tragedy was pending.
A 39-year-old woman on holiday from Tamworth and what are believed to be her two sons, aged two and 11, died at two separate locations, 45 minutes drive apart on Friday.
Staff at the Ocean Spray Holiday Apartments in Park Beach discovered the bodies of the two boys in their unit on Friday morning.
The body of the woman, who had been reported missing, was discovered in a toilet block at the Never Never picnic area in Dorrigo National Park, 70km away, on Friday afternoon.
Park Beach residents who saw the children playing and staff who worked at Park Beach Bowling Club where the family had meals said they appeared to be a normal happy family.
Park Beach Bowling Club financial controller Lyn Campbell told journalists staff were in shock because the family had seemed really close.
The club provided police with security camera footage showing the family dining at the bistro on two occasions.
Park Beach residents said police door-knocked the area on Friday looking for a mother and two sons holidaying from Tamworth and their vehicle, a white Kia Carnival van.
Both sites were sealed off from the public and crime scenes established.
One source told AAP there were no visible marks on the children's bodies to indicate how they died.
Detectives from Coffs Clarence Local Area Command are conducting inquiries into the deaths, with help from the Homicide Squad.
The children's bodies were removed from the holiday unit late on Friday and police dismantled the Park Beach crime scene at lunch time on Saturday after the forensics unit had conducted extensive investigations.
Post-mortems are expected to be conducted in Newcastle over the next few days.