Head inland from Coffs Harbour and you’ll discover one of the NSW mid-north coast’s real hidden gems. The town of Bellingen sits on the Bellinger River, about half-an-hour from the coast, and boasts a stack of terrific restaurants and cafes, a whole heap of endlessly-interesting shops and rolling hills that are green all year round.
We took a ride to Bellingen with Lee from Coffs Harbour Trike Tours, a terrific way to see the countryside. Lee’s 1600cc German-built Boom trike is the business and has plenty of grunt to get you to the foot of the Dorrigo mountain and beyond.
In town, we checked out a few shops including jewellery-makers Mac Opals and colourful craft shop Weave, then wandered down to the Bellingen Farmers and Producer’s Market at the Showground. There you’ll find over twenty stalls from local farmers and producers from within a 200-km radius of town. The veggies are the freshest, the honey is the sweetest and you can find just about anything else you like there, too.
Next, we stopped in at Cedar Bar and Kitchen, which brings all that local flavour together on a plate. Housed inside a 110-year-old former Methodist church, Cedar Bar and Kitchen served up local lamb and macadamias, local greens and even a locally-made brewed soft drink.
We topped off the stay with a couple of nights in the Bellingen Valley Lodge, a revamped motel and event destination just out of town. The lodge is set on 16 acres and features 28 rooms and three glamping tents. Plus, you can try a yoga class or dine in the Terrace restaurant. It’s so “Bello”!