Nestled between the Coffs Harbour coast to the east and Armidale to the west, Bellingen is a beautiful point of paradise in the north of NSW. We spent two days exploring the region’s natural landscape and historical town just as Covid-19 travel restrictions were eased.
Bellingen is located a 30 minute drive from Coffs Harbour and a five and a half hour drive from Sydney. Having a car is going to be the best way to get around Bellingen, especially if you plan on visiting the national parks. So, best to drive if you can. If you’re driving north from Sydney, be sure to pull in at Bucket Brewery in Kempsey for a local craft beer.
There are local buses that run through Bellingen but the easiest mode of transport will be a car. Having a car means you can access the national parks and venture into neighbouring towns, like Dorrigo.
Covid travel restrictions
The only restrictions we faced were shorter business hours for some restaurants and cafes. We also had to sign in at restaurants and cafes if we were dining there, but that’s pretty standard practice now. Other than that, we had no issues.
One of the highlights in Bellingen is the 185 kilometre Waterfall Way which connects the town to Armidale. Along the road you’ll pass through five national parks and spot waterfalls flowing freely. Be sure to pull into Dorrigo National Park and complete the Wonga Walk ciruit, a loop walking track which takes you across bridges and behind Crystal Shower Falls, before taking in the view at the Dorrigo Skywalk. Dorrigo National Park charges a gold coin donation upon entry.
In Bellingen itself, you’ll want to visit Bellingen Lookout. Just be careful if you drive a low car as the road can be a little tumultuous after heavy rain! There are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the river and lining the main street of the town. But if you’ve finished exploring the quaint town of Bellingen, venture into Dorrigo for antique shops, bakeries and cafes.
Dedicate time to exploring the national parks that surround Bellingen because there’s plenty to see and do. You can also easily spend an entire day travelling along Waterfall Way if you stop to explore the walks and view points along the way. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for native Australian wildlife too!