365 Places: Bellingen

Day 29: Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia

Today, we wandered over to Bellingen, a lovely village about 20 minutes south of Coff’s Harbour.

It is known for being a beautiful location as well as having a vibrant arts community. The Visit NSW website says:

Referred to as the creative hub of the Coffs Harbour region, Bellingen is also home to the Bellingen Jazz and Blues Festival (held every year around August). Within the Bellingen community are a number of writers, artists and musicians: imbuing the area with a dynamic creative energy.

One of Bellingen’s claims to fame is that it was one of the locations for the book and film of Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda.

Image credit: The Guardian

“I dare not hope, and yet I must that through this deed I gain your trust.” Image credit: The Guardian

It is a lovely place to talk around, just to soak up the creative atmosphere. The main street of town is lined with quaintly restored old shop fronts that have been converted into quirky designer stores, organic cafes and fresh food markets.

We had lunch at a great local cafe/bar – 5 Church Street. The food was excellent and we also had a delicious juice – apple, ginger and mint. 5 Church Street uses local, organic and biodynamic ingredients where possible in their food and you can really tell – my veggie burger was just divine, as were the chunky fries! The burger had lots of caramelised onion, freshly grated beetroot, greens and carrot, with a big chunk of grilled halloumi – you really can’t beat a veggie burger made with organic ingredients.

Here is a quirky map from the 5 Church Street menu, showing some of the local suppliers:

Coff's Region Map - Image Credit: 5 Church Street

Coff’s Region Map – Image Credit: 5 Church Street

The other place that is worth visiting is the old Butter Factory on the outskirts of town. Here you will find a number of galleries promoting local artists, a gorgeous homewares shop, a leather-craft shop, massage therapy and a cafe.

For more, you can also check out Martin Drury’s Photo Essay on Bellingen.