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.
Waves to Wilderness -Spend a day exploring the impressive waterfalls, World Heritage-listed rainforests & local wineries.
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.