A magical riverside escape
Beautiful Bellingen is a lush green, charming town settled on the banks of the lovely Bellinger River. The Bellinger River is a popular watercourse for people who enjoy kayaking and canoeing. Historical and fascinating, Bellingen has a rich architectural heritage as well as an interesting eclectic mix of people. Bellingen is a delightful place to visit or stay for a getaway. Visitors can enjoy music festivals, markets, bushwalking and treks through magnificent rainforest.
As you drive along the beautiful driving route (and beautifully named!) Waterfall Way, you will come across the quaint and special township of Bellingen. Bellingen is picturesque and lush green year round, with adorable B&Bs and guest accommodations along the banks of the tranquil Bellinger River.
Produce farms thrive on the extremely rich soil in and around the town. Local produce is almost always organic, and grows at such an incredible rate with the idyllic weather conditions of frequent brief rain, and lots of sun. The Bellingen Growers Market sells some of the local produce two Saturdays a month. The Market is a fun place to visit and pick up some wonderful fresh local produce. Kombu Wholefoods also sells local farmers’ organice produce.
About half-way between Sydney and Brisbane on the East Coast of Australia, (about 30 minutes’ drive from the larger town of Coffs Harbour), Bellingen is a special pocket of idyllic conditions. It’s ideal for a very relaxing and classic country getaway. And you can still enjoy creature comforts and gourmet dishes! The town is an excellent place to stay when you want to explore all the surrounding natural attractions, such as the rivers (Bellinger, Kalang and Never Never) and the nearby Dorrigo National Park, which is World Heritage listed with incredible history.
You can find out a lot about the history of Bellingen and Dorrigo (in fact all the Mid North Coast), by popping into the Dorrigo Visitor’s Centre, or the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre. If staying at luxurious Hermes Estate, you can ask your butler to share information about the area’s history. Several tours and activities have been created for you to enjoy the area, and your tour-guides are locals who know a lot about the history of the area too. Finally, small museums exist in Bellingen and Dorrigo to fill you in on all the wonderful stories of days gone by.
A perfect way to discover the native wildlife of the Bellingen area and along the Bellinger River, is to go canoeing down the waterway with Bellingen Canoe Adventures. They also offer exciting whitewater experiences, riding down the rapids. For more serene, yet no less energetic rainforest and waterfall walking tours, try Million Star Hotel Outdoor Arts and Adventures They arrange tours that depart from Bellingen, and amble throughout different locations in the blossoming and lush Bellinger Valley.
When planning a visit to or stay in Bellingen, accommodations are available to suit various budgets. From luxurious, five star (Hermitage Estate, a private retreat in Gleniffer), to romantic retreats (Lombok or Aniseed) and elegant guesthouses (Guesthouse on Hyde) to a youth hostel (Belfry Guesthouse) and riverside camping! (With permission.) Organic farms often offer farm stays too, for something more hands-on. Savor some of the locally grown and organic seasonal produce at some of the quality cafes and restaurants in the area. As mentioned above, you can even visit the growers market and prepare your own dishes if you prefer.
With a vibrant community of artisans and artists, Bellingen celebrates its creativity with the monthly Bellingen Community Markets and several festivals such as Bellingen Music Festival, a classical music event. ‘Bello’ Winter Music Festival and Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival are popular, too.
The lovely local Neighbourhood Centre also provides support for local families and elderly in need. Donations are always welcome, as government funding is rarely forthcoming for small communities.
FLY INTO COFFS HARBOUR AIRPORT
The small but efficient airport at Coffs Harbour is located 4 km from Coffs Harbour’s CBD. Guests of Hermitage Estate can hire a car and drive to the retreat.
Other visitors to the area have the option of using the shuttle bus and taxi services available at the front exit of the terminal.
You can rent a vehicle from one of the hire car services offered at the airport, and that way you can explore the entire region at your own pace. Do book ahead and arrive during business hours when hiring a car. There is no shortage of information available, or people who will recommend places to visit. Your accommodation host will also be able to recommend things for you to see and do.
Direct flights are available between Coffs Harbour and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. There are four operators currently servicing the region are – QantasLink, , Virgin Australia and Fly Corporate Private Jets. Helicopter and private planes are accommodated at the airport. Some locations have their own helipad for domestic visitors who prefer private conveyance and discreet movements.
THINGS ON THE MUST DO LIST
- Explore Dorrigo National Park
- 4WD through subtropical rainforests
- Discover Bindarri National Park
- Visit spectacular Bangalore Falls
- Enjoy Bellingen Music Festival
- Attend Bellingen Writers Festival
SOME GREAT EXPERIENCES IN BELLINGEN
Bangalore Falls is a must-see destination within Bindarri National Park. These magnificent waterfalls are easily accessible, yet in a beautiful, remote location. It’s an easy 500 mtr walk from the car park…
Bellingen Nature Bike Rides is a locally owned and operated family business offering tailored Mountain Bike Hire in the Bellingen Shire. Affordable short-term hire from our home in the forest, with native bush land…
Close to Coffs Harbour, Bindarri National Park offers 4WD touring routes, mountain bike trails, walking tracks and scenic spots for picnicking, swimming and birdwatching.Just 20km inland from Coffs Harbour,…
Bluff loop walking track is a great track for kids or anyone keen to explore the lush, coastal forests of Bongil Bongil National Park. Beginning and ending at Tuckers Rocks, the track offers access to the lookout…
Million Star Hotel is a wonderful and inventive initiative by Jake and Jemah Schmidt who have extensive knowledge and understanding of the local ecosystems, environments, and traditions…
Subtropical 4WD tours through rainforest and Eucalypt forests.
Orara Escarpment 4WD touring route is a short 80 kilometre round-trip from Coffs Harbour, yet it takes you through remote eucalypt forests and subtropical rainforests. With plenty of picnic and swimming spots along…
ACCOMMODATION IN BELLINGEN
If you’re visiting or driving through the Mid North Coast you cannot skip a visit to picturesque Bellingen. Bellingen, a lovely little country town on the North Coast of New South Wales, is like something out of a movie. Classic and beautiful, it lies on the Bellinger River just south of Coffs Harbour. (About 10 minutes inland.)
Apart from the incredible hinterland views the further in you travel, the region is also home to a number of exciting and informative festivals that celebrate the region’s connection to the arts and the environment. Accommodation in Bellingen includes luxurious, sumptuous retreats, cosy country cottages, comfortable cabins or even a laid-back tourist park on the banks of the river. Camping and caravaning is available here and there, along with guest houses, backpacker hostels and youth hostels. The endless array of options mirror the endless array of people and lifestyles in the area, making it the perfect destination for a break at any time of the year.
With the opulent, elegant retreat escapes, the more affluent, selective folk can really sink into five star luxury and feel like you’re in a home away from home, but without any distractions, and with a better view! With comfortable cabins and self-contained holiday units, you’ll be able to relax in a clean, comfortable space, while enjoying the tranquility of your bush surroundings. Mostly set on expansive grounds and with ‘executive’ style flourishes, including on-site massages, the luxury accommodation in Bellingen will entice you to come back every year, whether for holidays, anniversaries, bridal showers, honeymoons or just a hibernation session.
A little further out from Bellingen, in the towns of Brierfield and Thora, there are lovely hillside farmstays and retreats set alongside expanses of forest and bushland. You can engage in authentic farming activities, like feeding the animals, or you can take leisurely bushwalks and explore the lush and quiet surroundings. Let the trees absorb all that negative energy and leave you feeling revitalized and de-stressed. These retreats are more suited to adult couples than families – so choose your favourite wine and get set to cuddle by the fire!
- Bellingen Opulent Retreats & Five Star Hotels
- Bellingen Apartments
- Bellingen Backpackers And Hostels
- Bellingen Bed And Breakfast
- Bellingen Caravan, Camping And Holiday Parks
- Bellingen Cottages