Bellingen is a small, river town which lies about a 30-minute drive southwest from Coffs Harbour. The lifestyle in Bellingen is known to be laid-back, alternative, creative & artistic, and the village is buzzing with markets, events & cafes. The main street of this picturesque, little town is packed with charming cafes and restaurants to dine at, drink & soak in the beauty & tranquillity of the surrounding nature.
Bellingen is situated along Bellinger river, which is a tranquil river popular for kayaking and canoeing. The Lavender Bridge Park is a perfect spot to enjoy a nice and quiet picnic.
The scenic drive along Waterfall Way goes further than Bellingen and offers spectacular nature experiences when passing the World Heritage-listed Dorrigo National Park. The rainforest in Dorrigo is known for its excellent birdwatching, magnificent waterfall walks and its barbecue areas.
Here are some things to do, places to eat & where to shop while you’re staying in the lovely town of Bellingen.
For Breakfast & Lunch (or Brunch!)
Bellingen is full of breakfast & brunch options. Simply go for a walk down the main street and you’ll find people dining outside and sipping on freshly brewed coffee. Here are some tips about our favourite go-to’s:
Hearthfire Bakery – Locals can’t walk by without stopping to get a pie or quiche. This long-standing favourite is a must-do!
The Old Butter Factory – This place is one of the first places you will pass when driving into Bellingen. The building is over 100 years old with unique boutiques and space to sit down for a relaxing lunch. Its cafe looks out onto the green open spaces of the local golf course.
Hyde Bellingen – This bustling café offers a beautiful range of quality clothing, locally made and sourced food, skincare, homewares and of course – delicious coffee to quench your thirst while doing a bit of shopping.
Black Bear – This place is known for its in-house baked bagels! Yep – topped with mixed berry jam and fresh Ricotta…
The Fennel Seed – A local Bellingen Bistro specialising in European flavours which aim to source local & organic ingredients whenever possible.
For Dinner & Drinks
We highly recommend making a booking, even on slower nights, as local restaurants are often bustling. Our favourite spots include:
Bellingen Qudo Cafe and Sake – Serving authentic Japanese and modern Australian fusion within the romantic building which is over a century old! Outdoor, inside and balcony dining is available.
Cedar Bar & Kitchen – This carefully restored 112-year-old church boasts original stained glass windows and 7-metre high ceilings. Book in to enjoy a delicious grazing style dinner paired with a glass of great wine.
Za’atar Bellingen – This Middle Eastern Kitchen serves Israeli style street food. All made in house from scratch, using only quality ingredients.
5 Church street – This place serves as a cafe by day, and often puts on live music during the night when the restaurant is open.
Emporium Bellingen – Check this out for a complete mens’ and womens’ outfitters & homewares store.
Things To Do
Lavender Bridge Park: Nearby the centre of town, you’ll find this lovely river which is perfect for a refreshing swim.
Bellingen Canoe Adventures – Fantastic way to observe the beautiful, natural wilderness and the aquatic culture unique to the Bellinger River.
Raleigh Winery – Sit on the deck overlooking the Bellinger river while you sip on a glass of locally made wine.
Important Things To Know
We recommend making a booking at cafes & restaurants in advance. If you want to wing it, we suggest double-checking the opening hours of the cafe or restaurant you’ve been eyeing down as some places are closed on Mondays.
Bellingen is a 30-minute drive from the Coffs Harbour Airport
Adventure-lovers can have a full schedule (if they want!) while visiting the region. Check out the Coffs Harbour page for a full list of regional tours & activities.
The Big Banana is the biggest theme park between Sydney and the Gold Coast, and has got something to cater for all ages. The park’s many rides & attractions will leave you wanting to come back for more amazing experiences and family time. So, pack the kids in the car and get ready for a full day of fun and adrenaline boosting activities.
Here are the activities & attractions you can find at the Big Banana Fun Park:
Strap on your battlesuit vest & phaser before you head into the battleground where you zap your enemies while looking out for the interactive hidden targets around the field. This activity will get you on your toes and is sure to bring out the ninja within you.
Put on your swimmers and be ready to get splashed! This water park features 4 thrilling slides in the world class where you can reach speeds of up to 60km/h. These slides are definitely not for the faint-hearted, but the adrenaline junkie will be sliding again and again and again…
This Family Entertainment Centre features an amazing range of ticket redemption gaming machines. All the games within the Fun Zone are based on skills, which means you can collect more tickets if you’re really good at them! The tickets can then be redeemed at the Prize Hub or the Gift Shop.
Ah, the famous toboggan ride of Coffs Harbour! The track is over half a kilometer long, and offers a great view from the top. Let your excitement excel as you rush down the track- but don’t forget to hold on when you are cutting the corners!
Get the history behind the bananas on the Coffs Coast from the discovery of them and through to today. This new theatre experience lets you sit back and watch while the projector presents images and film onto a scrim screen with an object stage background. Following the film screening is a short plantation walk where the visitors are allowed into the re-established packing shed to watch a short film of the banana plantation.
The indoor, 83m long “Racer” is the biggest slide in the country with a height of 17.5 meter. The slide has also got an interactive scoring system which will manage to draw out your most competitive side when you race against your friends in one of the 6 lanes.
When at the Big Banana, why not indulge in all banana-themed sweets? Choose between banana split, banana smoothie, banana pancakes or just a simple chocolate coated banana. The Cafe & Ice Creamery will also have plenty of ice creams and coffee that you can pair it with- it’s a winner for sure!