Farmhouse entrance, Explore Australia Publishing

Population 2878

Bellingen is an attractive tree-lined town on the banks of the Bellinger River, surrounded by rich pasturelands. Traditionally serving dairy farmers and timber cutters, Bellingen is now a haven for urban folk fleeing the big cities, attracted to the relaxed and alternative lifestyle on offer. The area is the setting for Peter Carey's novel Oscar and Lucinda.

Visitor Information

29–31 Hyde St; (02) 6655 1522

Nearby national parks

  • Dorrigo National Park

    Perched on the edge of the dramatic New England escarpment, Dorrigo National Park, with its high mist-shrouded plateau descending to...more

  • Hat Head National Park

    Hat Head National Park, a beautiful stretch of New South Wales' northern coastline, with pristine beaches, rocky headlands and one of...more

  • Guy Fawkes River National Park

    Guy Fawkes National Park in the state’s north-east is isolated, extensive and wild. The Guy Fawkes River winds its way through the...more

Nearby towns

  • Urunga

    Urunga is a sleepy, attractive town at the junction of the Bellinger and Kalang rivers and is regarded by locals as one of the best fishing...more

  • Dorrigo

    Dorrigo is known as 'Australia's national park capital'. It is entirely surrounded by national parks including Dorrigo and Cathedral Rock....more

  • Nambucca Heads

    Located at the mouth of the Nambucca River, this is a beautiful coastal holiday town. The stunning long white beaches offer perfect...more

In Town

Bellingen Bat Island This 3 ha island is home to a colony of up to 40 000 grey-headed flying foxes (fruit bats). At dusk the flying foxes set off in search of food, filling the sky. The best time to visit is Sept–Mar. Access is via Bellingen Caravan Park in Dowle St (north of the river).

Horse-drawn carriage tours: guided tours of town and river picnics (operate during holidays and by appt); 0423 671 581.

Bellingen Museum: features extensive photo collection of early pioneer life and early transportation; Hyde St; (02) 6655 1259.

Hammond and Wheatley Emporium: the first concrete block construction in Australia, the emporium has been magnificently restored – including a grand staircase leading to a mezzanine floor – and is now home to boutiques, homewares retailers and jewellery galleries; Hyde St.

Local art and craft: galleries thoughout the town including The Yellow Shed, cnr Hyde and Prince sts, and The Old Butter Factory, Doepel St.


Raleigh Vineyard and Winery: tastings available; (02) 6655 4388; 11 km E.

Walking, cycling, horseriding and canoeing: along the Bellinger River and in forest areas; information and maps from visitor centre.

Scenic drive: north-east through wooded valleys and farmlands, across Never Never Creek to Promised Land; map available from visitor centre.

Fishing spots near town

Coffs Harbour - Fishing Sub-region 29 km

My introduction to fishing north of Sydney was at Coffs Harbour, an area with a diverse range of options. The first time I fished here I was into land-based game and spent most of my time on the ledges of Mutton Bird... Find out more

South-West Rocks 47 km

When it comes to popularity, there are two types of fishing destinations: those that are hot all the time and those that wax and wane depending on the season. South West Rocks is in the first category. For as long as I... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Cycling around Armidale and Coffs Harbour 27 km

A 5-kilometre bicycle track leads from Harris Park in Armidale to the University of New England. Bikes can be hired from Armidale Bicycle Centre or the University’s Sports Union. The 26-kilometre-return ride from... Find out more

Bush-tucker tasting - Macksville 28 km

Sample some Australian bushfoods at Valley of the Mist near Macksville, a farm dedicated to sustainable methods. You will taste bush fruits, nuts, herbs and condiments and have a tour of the farm. You can also take a... Find out more

Houseboating on the Macleay River 70 km

Although large chugging houseboats can be an environmental no-no, Macleay River Houseboats at Kempsey are small – designed for just two people – use relatively clean four-stroke petrol motors, have... Find out more

Golf courses around town

Bonville Golf Resort 17 km

Bonville is Australia’s most beautiful inland course. Carved from 250 hectares of flooded gums and blackbutt forest, with small pockets of subtropical rainforest, Bonville is often described as Australia’s... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Lodge 241 Gallery Cafe

This three-storey weatherboard lodge (c. 1912) is an iconic landmark in Bellingen, equally renowned for its food, coffee and history. Absolutely everything is made on-site (from pastry to bread to jams), and the... Find out more

No 2 Oak Street

Set in a charming heritage weatherboard cottage with gleaming floorboards, the award-winning eatery serves comforting country cooking with lashings of contemporary flair. The menu is an imaginative cross-section of... Find out more

Vintage Espresso

The new addition to Bellingen’s busy cafe scene features stained-glass windows and a contemporary interior. It serves great coffee and food, and has fantastic views of the main street (a major drawcard). Elite... Find out more

Campsites around town

Bindarri camping areas (walk-in and bush camping) 18 km

Walk-in bush camping is possible throughout the park – facilities such as toilets, picnic tables and wood fireplaces are only available at Bindarray and Bangalore picnic areas, so you’ll need to be... Find out more

Sawtell Beach Holiday Park 22 km

This well-appointed caravan park is on Lyons Rd, about 8 km south of Coffs Harbour. You’ve got easy access to the beach and a wide range of accommodation options, including powered and unpowered sites, villas and... Find out more

Bush camping areas 29 km

Self-sufficient campers armed with detailed, up-to-date topographic maps can access a number of good spots throughout the forest, either on foot, horseback or mountain-bike.... Find out more

Platypus Flat camping area 36 km

Perched on the banks of the Nymboida River, just off Moonpar Forest Dr, Platypus Flat provides tent sites in a grassy clearing beneath blue gums and river oaks, a short walk from your car. There are fabulous swimming... Find out more

Cod Hole picnic and camping area 40 km

This is a popular spot for picnickers and whitewater rafters, located at the end of Cod Hole Rd via Moses Rock Rd, off Moonpar Forest Dr. Take a relaxing dip in the river, launch your kayak or stop in for a picnic midway... Find out more

The Junction camping area 44 km

Take the Black Mountain Rd south from Nymboida, Glenreagh or Lowanna and turn onto Junction Rd, a 1.4 km unsealed road suitable for 4WDs only – unless you’re prepared to walk or paddle in. Once there,... Find out more

Thungutti Rest Area camping area 49 km

The campground at Thungutti is set amid towering eucalypts and snow gums. Cars have to be parked a short distance from the campsites. There are 18 sites; booking is not essential but fees apply. Firewood is supplied, and... Find out more

Trial Bay Gaol camping area 50 km

This is a spectacular camping area on a sheltered surf beach, accessed via Cardwell St in South West Rocks. It’s well appointed, with coin-operated showers, powered and unpowered sites, electric BBQs, a kiosk and... Find out more

Park Entrance Rest Area camping area 52 km

For those with caravans, there’s a basic camping site at Styx River, about 2 km outside the park entrance along Point Lookout Rd. Bush camping is also permitted; you must camp at least 500 m from park facilities.... Find out more

Smoky Cape camping area 55 km

To reach this small campground nestled in the rainforest at Smoky Cape, turn on to Arakoon Rd from South West Rocks Rd and head for Smoky Cape Lighthouse. Bring your own firewood and drinking water. There are plenty of... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Urunga Heads Holiday Park 13 km

On the river estuary at Urunga, this park is an excellent overnight stop. It is far enough off the highway to be quiet and has an excellent outlook, with a shopping centre nearby. The park is busy in peak periods and... Find out more

Sawtell Beach Holiday Park 21 km

This large, spacious park has a wonderful outlook over the ocean and is just a short walk from Sawtell shopping centre. A pool is just across the road. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay... Find out more

White Albatross Holiday Centre 24 km

This is a quality park in a prime position next to a lagoon and near the mouth of the Nambucca River. It boasts a very good restaurant as well as a range of other features. Bookings are required in peak periods and a... Find out more

Nambucca River Tourist Park 29 km

About 6 km north of Macksville just off the Pacific Highway, this neat, family-owned park is adjacent to the Nambucca River. It is ideal for an overnight stop or a couple of days. Bookings are required in peak periods,... Find out more

Park Beach Holiday Park 29 km

This is a large beachfront council park 4 km from the centre of town and close to the popular jetty precinct. The park boasts a wide range of facilities, including cabins, amenities blocks, a water park and an inground... Find out more

Sapphire Beach Holiday Park 35 km

A lovely, shady beachside park south of Moonee Beach, 9 km north of Coffs Harbour. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies at Christmas and Easter. Pets are only allowed in the off-peak... Find out more

Moonee Beach Holiday Park 37 km

This popular beachfront caravan park has basic facilities, but does have a tennis court and open grassy sites with views out to sea. Swimming is good, as are the nature walks around the reserve. Bookings are required in... Find out more

Big4 Emerald Beach Holiday Park 42 km

This is a quality park with comprehensive facilities and excellent amenities. It is located in a picturesque beachside location, with good access to the Pacific Highway. Swimming, surfing and fishing are all popular... Find out more

Stuarts Point Holiday Park 42 km

This is a nicely located beachside park that is very popular during the holidays. It is a lovely quiet spot out of the peak periods. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies at Christmas... Find out more

Woolgoolga Beach Caravan Park 48 km

This popular beachfront park is 100 metres from the centre of town, next to the surf club with views out to sea. There are good amenities but no unpowered sites. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Casa Belle

Guests waking up at Casa Belle Country Guest House could be forgiven for feeling a little confused. It takes a few moments to remind themselves they are not in Tuscany and are actually just a stone’s throw from... Find out more

Kumbaingiri Retreat

Kumbaingiri Retreat is a place of restoration, healing and relaxation. The luxurious four-bedroom cottage is totally self-contained, and belongs exclusively to the guests staying there. Its secluded location, high... Find out more

Promised Land Cottages

Promised Land Cottages overlook the ridges and folds of Dorrigo National Park, with panoramic vistas of the rainforest-clad mountains. The 40-hectare property has three self-contained, well-equipped timber cottages. Each... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Lily Pily Country House, Bellingen 4 km

The owners of this stylish B&B have spent seven years revegetating and securing wildlife corridors along the riparian zone here, planting some 4000 trees and 2000 reeds, resulting in an increase in bandicoots,... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Macksville park area 28 km

At Macksville

Just off the highway on the north side of the river.

Gumma Reserve camping area 29 km

T/O at Macksville

Large campground located 7km (partly unsealed) east of the highway via Partridge St, Wills St and Gumma Rd.

Paddys rest area 40 km

39km N of Kempsey (L) or 45km S of Urunga (R)

Just off the highway among a few trees.

Woolgoolga rest area 47 km

At Woolgoolga

Just off the highway in the middle of town.

Halfway Creek rest area 60 km

26km N of Woolgoolga (R) or 34km S of Grafton (L)

Large grassed area just off the highway behind the roadhouse.

Glenugie Creek rest area 75 km

45km N of Woolgoolga (L) or 15km S of Grafton (R)

Just off the highway behind a few trees.

McPhillips Creek rest area 79 km

50km N of Woolgoolga (R) or 10km S of Grafton (L)

Just off the highway behind a few trees.

Bloodwood Ridge rest area 79 km

111km N of Taree (L)

Just off the highway. For northbound only.

Kundabung rest area 84 km

15km S of Kempsey (L)

Just off the highway. For southbound only.

What's on around town

Bellingen Markets: Bellingen Park, Church St; 3rd Sat each month.

Jazz Festival: Aug.

Global Carnival: world music; Oct.

comments powered by Disqus