Located in the hinterland of the mid-North Coast, Bellingen punches well above its weight in terms of arts and culture, foodie delights and outdoor activities - and makes the perfect base to explore the natural attractions along the scenic Waterfall Way, including dramatic waterfalls, World Heritage-listed rainforest and river activities.

Bellingen highlights


Outdoor adventures 

Discover the rich ecosystems, and wildlife such as koalas, eagles and dolphins as you paddle a canoe or kayak along the Bellinger River with Bellingen Canoe Adventures. As well as offering canoe hire, they also do guided day trips, including whitewater rafting for adrenaline junkies. 

Just half an hour from Bellingen, the Dorrigo National Park offers stunning scenery with cascading falls, ancient Gondwana rainforest and elevated views from the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre’s canopy boardwalk.  

Aerial view of Dorrigo Skywalk, Dorrigo

Dorrigo Skywalk, Dorrigo 

Food for the mind 

Bellingen is famed for its cultural festivals, with inquisitive minds meeting in an environment rich with natural inspiration. The annual Readers and Writers Festival focuses exclusively on Australian writers; while the Bellingen Fine Music Festival is a four-day celebration of classical music from a range of eras and cultures. The monthly Bellingen Community Markets is also a popular event, focusing on community, diversity and local crafts and producer; while the weekly Bellingen Farmers and Produce Market showcases regional specialties and produce straight from the farm. 

Family shopping at the local markets in Bellingen on the North Coast

Local markets in Bellingen

Food for the belly 

For a small town, there’s certainly plenty of choice when it comes to dining, from pub fare in the historic Federal Hotel to cool cafes with a hippy vibe. The leafy Church Street is home to a number of venues: Cedar Bar and Kitchen, in a lovingly renovated old timber church, offers a casual bar-style menu with grazing plates served with boutique wines and cocktails; while the buzzing Bellingen Brewing Company serves up woodfired pizzas complementing its craft beer menu.  

Za’atar on Hyde Street is a newcomer serving Israeli street food. It's hard to go past a great coffee in a historic setting at the Old Butter Factory Cafe. While locally sourced and organic produce is showcased in The Purple Carrot, which also features live music events. 

Cedar Bar & Kitchen - Credit: Jay Black

Cedar Bar & Kitchen - Credit: Jay Black

Stylish stays

You’ll find places to stay dotted along the riverbank and in the verdant countryside surrounded by enchanting bushland, from bed and breakfasts and farm stays to luxury cabins and retreats. Get back to nature at the secluded Bellingen Hideaway, a tiny house nestled in the beautiful Kalang Valley. If you want to stay within walking distance of the town centre, The Belfry Guesthouse is particularly lovely, enjoying verandah views over the Bellingen River.

Common living area at Bellingen YHA, Belfry Guesthouse, Bellingen

Belfry Guesthouse, Bellingen

Getting there

Halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, Bellingen is a 5.5-hour drive north of Sydney and a 30-minute drive southwest of Coffs Harbour. You can also catch the train from Sydney and the journey takes around nine hours. 

Tubing in the Bellingen River - Credit: The Belfry Guesthouse

Tubing in the Bellingen River - Credit: The Belfry Guesthouse

Qantas has direct flights to Coffs Harbour from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; while Rex flies daily from Sydney to Coffs Harbour Monday to Friday with select scheduled flights over the weekend. Link Airways operates direct flights between Coffs Harbour and Brisbane six days a week. Coffs Harbour Airport is 4km from Coffs Harbour’s town centre. Use the shuttle bus and taxi services at the front of the terminal or riding-sharing Uber, to make the short trip into the city. Alternatively, rent a car from the hire services available at the airport and explore the region at your own pace. 


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