Bellingen and Hinterland. . . . .

Bellingen is just 20 minutes drive from Aquarelle along the Waterfall Way, but it is almost another world away.

The quaint and slightly off-beat village of Bellingen, perched above the Bellinger River, is recognised as the art, craft and music hub of the New South Wales north coast. This reputation has seen the formerly sleepy rural outpost blossom into the vibrant social and commercial hub it is today.

The village retains much of its heritage architecture, peculiar to colonial Australia. Quiet tree-lined streets look out over lush farmland, river flats and up to the volcanic rainforest-clad escarpment of the Dorrigo plateau.

Bellingen is home to a cosmopolitan mix of residents: descendants of the original timber-getter settlers and dairy farmers, many of whom still live here and run the family farm; musicians, writers, artists and artisans drawn to the natural beauty of the countryside and river valley, who find their inspiration here and entertain visitors and locals with their regular performances and exhibitions; conservation-minded people seeking to forge sustainable lifestyles through organic farming practices & alternative energy generation, determined to preserve the rich diversity of our animal, bird and reptile inhabitants; “Sea-changers” tired of the soulless, overpopulated cities move here to run small businesses and live their dream in what is generally a tolerant, supportive and involved community.

This congenial meld of people has in turn drawn many visitors, and generated the establishment of a bustling tourism, retail, entertainment and dining scene.

A little further inland along the Waterfall Way is the hamlet of Dorrigo, perched near the Eastern edge of the plateau and the gateway to an area encompassing the magnificent World Heritage forests of the Dorrigo National Park, Cathedral Rock National Park, New England National Park and many more.

From the Waterfall Way visitors are offered the opportunity to see many fabulous waterfalls.  See Crystal Showers in Dorrigo National Park, or Dangar Falls at Dorrigo, Ebor Falls at Ebor, or the fantastic Wollomombi Falls closer to Armidale.

Crystal Showers waterfall

An excellent way of seeing the natural beauty, flora and fauna of the area is to utilise the guided walking experience provided by  Anita and Anton of Hinterland Tours.

Shopping & Galleries . . . .

Unique handcrafted items, many by local and regional artisans can be found in the numerous shops and galleries both in Bellingen and on the plateau at Dorrigo, making great souvenirs or gifts.

Relax with a coffee and cake . . . .

For the all important lunch, dinner or just coffee, Bellingen has a eating places for each occasion that all offer good quality value for money eating, as well as the ubiquitous bowling and golf clubs.

The Black Bear Café, 7 Church Street Black Bear Café
No 2 Oak Street, 2 Oak Street No 2 Oak Street Restaurant
Ave Restaurant , Old Church Building, 8 Church Street Ave Restaurant
Relish Brasserie, Federal Hotel, 77 Hyde Street Relish Brasserie at the Federal
Mouza Restaurant and Dervish Gallery, 58-60 Hyde Street Mouza Restaurant
Vintage Expresso Café, 62 Hyde Street Vintage Expresso Café

Bellingen Events . . . .

Bellingen hosts to a number of significant events throughout the year.  These events offer Aquarelle guests a variety of entertainment to add to experiences of the coast and hinterland activities and sightseeing.

  • Bellingen Jazz and Blues Festival on the 3rd weekend of August each year  - jazz and blues at a number of venues within the township provide 3 days of great music by local, national and international artists. .
  • Camp Creative in mid January each year - a week of creativity here people of all ages learn the ins and outs of dance, drama, photography, writing, and many other skills.
  • Global Carnival held from the Friday to Sunday night of the October long weekend. Experience the rich sights, sounds and tastes of the world through music, dance and other attractions while slowing to the rhythms of Bellingen, Urunga and Dorrigo.
  • Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival    When: May each year   Where: Bellingen Memorial Hall
  • Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival   When: October each year   Where: Various venues around Dorrigo
  • Bellingen Music Festival brings the best selection of classical music to Bellingen over a two day period in late May each year.
  • Bush Poets Round-up – classical tales from the Australian bush   When: Early November annually   Where: Various venues around Dorrigo

Bellingen Markets . . . .

Bellingen is the spot where a host bi-monthly, monthly or annual markets can be found. Markets are a favourite for all the family, particularly if you are staying in Bellingen or Urunga. Since the markets are regular events accommodation can be selected to suit a visit to any of these occasions.

  •  Autumn Plant Fair- rainforest species, exotics, natives   When: 2nd weekend each March   Where: Bellingen Park
  •  Natural Produce Market – café, buskers, chemical free breads, conserves, fruit & vegetables   When: 2nd & 4th Saturdays each month   Where: Bellingen Showground
  •  Bellingen Community Market – music, food, plants, massage, clothes, bric a brac When: 3rd Saturday each month   Where: Bellingen Park
  • Spring Plant Fair- rainforest species, exotics, natives When: 2nd Saturday each September   Where: Bellingen Park