Bellingen and Bongil Bongil

After a few different posts, and a rant about the name of a cheese, let’s return to what we got up to in the north of New South Wales on our holidays…


On the way up to the Dorrigo National Park along the aptly named ‘Waterfall Way’ we spotted the small town of Bellingen. On the way back down to the coast we stopped there. The area was once covered with giant red cedar trees. The timber was cut from the 1840s up to about 1900 when the cedar supply was more or less depleted. In 1865 part of the area was set aside for the town of Bellingen. There was already a farming industry in the area and that continues today.

A very famous cricketer from Bellingen
Bellingen original Post Office
Federal Hotel and Pub

I love towns like this. They are classic original Australian towns with many examples of the early architecture. So much better than Sydney. There is a great example of an early department store. It still sells a lot of different goods. Even the brass plates below the windows are still in place.

Hammond & Wheatley Department Store

Like a trip back in time – the original department brass plates
Original department brass plates
Department Store form across street.

The towns bus station – really just a bus stop had a mural painted on the wall. With a great little reminder as to where you are stood.

Bellingen Bus Station
Part of a mural on the bus stop wall

One of several older buildings in the town was the Memorial Hall.

Bellingen Memorial Hall

After some food and a visit to the tourist information office we left to get back to the coast. The lady at the tourist office suggested a good place to spot koalas, so that’s where we went…

Bongil Bongil

When it was time to return to our short-term base, we stopped off at the Bongil Bongil National Park. This is basically another rain forest sandwiched between the Pacific Highway and some very long beaches. Just south of Coffs Harbour. It covers quite a large area but we only saw a small part of it. We had been told that this park may be the best place to spot koalas. But after walking around mostly looking upwards all we got was a stiff neck. Meanwhile Dani should have had a sore throat as he never stopped talking all the way round. It was worth a try and it is another densely forested area worth seeing.

Dani doing a “Tarzan” on the hanging vines

More rain forest but no koalas… Maybe later in the holidays…

Bongil Bongil Rain Forest – right beside the sea.

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