Time for a road trip? We know a place perfect for a getaway; a place jam-packed with rural charm, natural beauty and laidback vibes, yet still offering plenty to see and do.
Surrounded by green rolling hills and superb natural attractions, Bellingen is famous for its rich architectural heritage, lively music festivals, quirky cafes and creative, friendly locals.
It’s also the ideal destination for a road trip from any of our parks on the NSW Coffs Coast.
Here’s how to make the most of a day in beautiful Bellingen.
8:00am: But first, coffee
Start the day right with a delicious breakfast in one of Bellingen’s unique cafes.
Indulge in the European flavours of The Fennel Seed. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and heritage surrounds of the Cedar Bar & Kitchen, or feast upon local produce at the Black Bear C need plenty of energy for your day’s adventures, so don’t hold back!
10:00am: Natural heaven on earth
Bellingen is renowned for its natural assets/ From crystal-clear swimming holes to waterfalls and an abundance of hikes.
You’ll enchanting forests, there’s natural perfection at every turn. And plenty of ways to get amongst it.
Prefer to explore by foot? Dorrigo National Park is only 30 minutes away. Visit the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, then stroll through lush rainforest on the Crystal Shower Falls Walk to reach a beautiful cascading waterfall. You can even walk behind the waterfall itself for a spectacular view.
Or cool off in the infinitely photogenic Never Never Creek. Just 12 minutes from the centre of town, this sublime stream features a crystal-clear swimming hole. The epitome of paradise.
1:00pm: Let’s do lunch
Back to town and with tummies surely rumbling, it’s time again to sample local gourmet delights.
For good food and plenty of it, you can’t go past The Federal Hotel. This beautifully renovated heritage building has a relaxed, friendly feel, and is the ideal spot for a debrief on your morning’s adventures.
Or for something a bit on the quirkier side, try the Hyde Bellingen. A Bellingen institution, this café offers both tasty treats and a delightful range of homewares, clothing and skincare.
2:00pm: Shop till you drop
So … you’ve got the taste for shopping now? That’s OK. You’re in the right place.
A trip to Bellingen isn’t complete without a visit to the Yellow Shed. This hard-to-miss building is a Bellingen icon, offering everything from books and beauty products to jewellery, toys and artworks.
The Old Butter Factory Shopping Village is another shopping highlight. Browse specialty shops, admire the creations in the Woodcraft Gallery, then enjoy afternoon tea at the Old Butter Factory Café.
Or if the timing’s right, visit the bustling Bellingen Community Markets (third Saturday of the month). Here you’ll find art, craft, fresh produce, entertainment and scrumptious multicultural cuisine.
5:00pm: Down to the river
So you’ve worn out your feet AND the credit card? Let’s take things down a notch.
Warm evenings are practically made for al fresco dining near Lavenders Bridge. Take a relaxing evening dip in the Bellinger River, then order some delicious take-away from a nearby restaurant. Spread out the blanket, open a bottle of local wine and watch the sun go down on your perfect day.
8:00pm: I like the nightlife
But it’s not all over just yet! There’s always something on at Bellingen, with plenty of live music and special events, as well as music festivals throughout the year.
Take your pick of entertainment, and enjoy an extra dose of country hospitality.
10:00pm: Sleep on it.
It’s been a big day. Time to hit the road and drive back to your Reflections Holiday Park on the NSW Coffs Coast. You’re sure to sleep well after living it up in Bellingen.
All images supplied by Destination NSW.