Some places are so beautiful, it almost seems like holy ground. A sense of awe and admiration comes over you, as you enter this hidden gem. Welcome to the Promised Land in Gleniffer, near Bellingen.

The jewel of the Promised Land is the crystal waters of the Never Never River. Pristine refreshment flowing straight from the mountains of the dividing range, the water is a heavenly reminder of the incredible gifts of nature. Peaceful, healing, restorative.

While the Bellinger River and Never Never Creek are extremely popular (especially in Summer!), when you stay as a guest at Hermitage Estate, you have over 500 meters of totally private river front all to yourself.  Swim, dip your toes, or just sit in the lush, mossy coolness of the banks, listening to the flowing water and the birds singing. Such absolute tranquility awaits you at this private luxury retreat.


never never river


Never Never River in the Promised Land, Gleniffer, Bellingen
Secret Never Never River Swimming Hole


Amongst the lush green lands and grazing cows, the beautiful Gleniffer Valley countryside unfolds. You could be forgiven for thinking you’re on a movie set, such is the picturesque quality of the area. Thankfully, it is wonderfully authentic, and beautifully private.

Embraced by the protective presence of the mountainous escarpment, the alternating sunshine and mist over the mountains offers a fresh new view every day, usually every hour! And this gorgeous vista is only one small part of the incredible blessings bestowed upon you by this divine location. It simply seems too perfect to be true. But true it is.

Originating in the Dorrigo Mountains, the Never Never flows down to meet the Bellinger River, sometimes meandering, sometimes dashing, sometimes absolutely barreling during a good rain! It is pristine, perennial and picturesque, every day. Why was the river named “Never Never”? We are still researching that fact. No doubt the Gumbaynggir tribe of Aboriginals who lived there upon its discovery, used a similar sounding word to describe it.


Private pristine Never Never river frontage. Clear fresh water and peaceful serenity.
Your private stretch of pristine Never Never River.


For example, the name Bellingen was first used by Clement Hodgkinson, the British explorer, as the name for the area. The name is believed to have come from the native word ‘Baalijin’, the Gumbaynggir name for the Quoll (A native animal of Australia).

Apparently there was some confusion, and the word was mistaken to mean river? (There’s a town further south called ‘Nellingen‘ – coincidence?) Hodgkinson refers to the river as the ‘Bellingen River’ in his 1845 book, Australia : From Port Macquarie to Moreton Bay. We can only imagine some rough writing or misspelling resulted in the river being officially known, to this day, as the Bellinger River, as opposed to the Bellingen River.

Therefore the actual source of the naming of the Never Never river is a mystery. However it’s one we often muse upon, sipping tea by the gurgling springs of the beautiful waterway. Perhaps that mystery is part of its beauty.


Read about an avid Australian swimming-hole-seeker’s wonderful experiences here, and watch this mesmerizing trip down the river in a kayak, a first-hand view.