Former native and gumbaynggirr language teacher Micklo Jarrett explains how “our Dreamtime stories describe the ocean 120 km east of where it is now, proving that our people have lived in this area for more 10,000 years ”. Today, the Gumbaynggirr people have been active in stopping logging for wood chips in the nearby Nambucca State Forest. “All we want is to preserve the earth for everyone,” he says.
Meanwhile, the New South Wales National Parks Association is pressuring the government to establish the nearby Grand Koala National Park to link protected forests so that the declining koala population can again prosper.
Journalist Peter Geddes arrived with his family in the 1970s. He is working on a documentary on the hippie era of Bellingen, when alternative lifestyles rented houses for two dollars a week and went to town on horseback. “We did something out of thin air and eventually the old timers ended up accepting that Bellingen had behaved quite well with a sustainable lifestyle,” he says. “I’m a little surprised at how simple it has become, however. People are wearing clothes now. ”
Yet Bello has kept his mind free and over the years has attracted creative types inspired by the beauty of the surroundings. Peter Carey lived in a cabin designed by Richard Leplastrier in the Promised Land, on the other side of the Bellinger River, when he designed his novel Oscar and Lucinda, winner of the Booker Prize, inspired by the little church of Gleniffer.
Bellingen remains a bubble of progressive politics at the heart of the national party. Kevin and Lowanna Doye are part of the new wave. After pedaling from the UK to Sydney (it took over a year and a freighter was involved) to highlight the environmental impact of air travel, they moved into one of 27 intentional occupied communities multiple of Bello and opened Kombu Wholefoods in 2004, to sell local products. organic products at affordable prices. Bello Shire stretches from the subtropical coastal regions at an altitude of 1,500 meters on the escarpment so that they can stock everything, from mangoes, bananas, avocados, macadamia nuts and pineapples to all kinds of green vegetables, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, citrus and stone fruits.
“I live in a beautiful place connected with my family by doing something I believe in. Our philosophy is to strengthen the local community. ”
At times like these, it all makes perfect sense.
Do not miss
Bellingen community markets are held every three Saturdays at Bellingen Park. Taste the orange Jaffa and caramelized fig and marsala gelato with Bellingen Gelato.
Browse Australian fashion brands, linens and beauty products at Art Deco HYDE Bellingen, as well as Emporium Bellingen in the 1900s Hammond and Wheatley building.
En temps normal, le calendrier du festival (Camp Creative, The Bellingen Fine Music festival, The Bellingen Readers and Writers festival, etc.) est brillant.
Where to eat and drink
Who would have thought that Middle Eastern street food and trendy Japanese fusion would be the places to visit in a country town in NSW – but it’s Bellingen, after all. Qudo prepares dazzling teriyaki and sushi rolls of barramundi infused with exquisite greens, while Za’atar Café offers falafels, hummus plates and lamb kofta in fluffy pita bread. The Black Bear Cafe is the ideal place for breakfast on the sunny terrace and for excellent pizzas, craft beer and a refined urban atmosphere at the Bellingen brewery.
Where to stay
Rent a chalet in the Promised Land via Airbnb and other agencies. The best campgrounds are Reflections Holiday Parks next to the Kalang River estuary in Urunga and a free campsite next to Thora’s general store, on the road that climbs the escarpment to Dorrigo.
Get out of town
Canoe on the Bellinger River to spot sea eagles, azure kingfishers, flooded gums, and dairy cow river crossings, or walk the loop around the Promised Land and dip your toes in Never Never Creek .
Visit the Dorrigo Rainforest Center for views of the Gondwana Rainforest Escarpment, or take a hike in the World Heritage Rainforest on the two-hour Wonga Walk.
Take the Urunga promenade along the river estuary to the spectacular Hungry Head ocean beach.
Almost halfway between Sydney (five and a half hours drive north) and Brisbane (five hours drive south); Bellingen is approximately a 30-minute drive southwest of Coffs Harbor Airport. Although there is public transport available in the area, it is highly recommended to have a car.