A 13km drive inland from the Pacific Highway, about halfway between Nambucca Heads and Coffs Harbour, is the sleepy little mountain town of Bellingen. Its quaint streets are lined with heritage architecture, with charming cafés and craft shops showcasing the residents unique artistic flair. The town’s alternative edge is offset by a cosmopolitan feel, as many of the current residents have moved here from the bigger cities in search of rural calm.

The Bellinger River, Dorrigo Plateau, and the surrounding valley offer stunning vistas and outdoor recreational activities. A visit to the Dorrigo National Park makes for a good day trip. There are also many places to go swimming and canoeing, and fishing in the valley is great. Bellingen is host to a few good music festivals and the pubs in town often have live entertainment. The monthly Bellingen markets draw huge crowds to sample many of the regional products. The hostel in town is great, so plan a night here and be prepared to extend your visit, or at least be tempted to.

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