Somwhere in Bellingen, NSW Australia

Posted on March 1, 2011


Swimming spot: Somewhere in Bellingen, NSW Australia

This is a cluster of swimming holes around the Bellingen region.

Where: The nearest major city is Coffs Harbor on the Mid North Coast in NSW. You drive into the hills just South of Coffs to a very left wing/hipster country town called Bellingen. Make sure you stop here and check out some of the local cafes and shops.

Getting to the spot:

I have removed the directions to this spot due to the quality of the water becoming poor. Locals have let me know that this precious space is now being abused. Rubbish has been left behind. I’m currently re-considering sharing directions for small and local places. Not everyone has a reverence for nature and this is far more an important concern to me than posting directions.

Accommodation: Anywhere in Glennifer or the Promised Land will have excellent accommodation. Expect to pay about $200 + a night though as these places are seriously boutique. There is cheaper accommodation in Bellingen town in particular the YHA Backpackers.

Facilities: The swimming spot is in a super-quite place so there are no toilets or facilities. The closest shops and amenities are in Bellingen.

About the area: Bellingen is a small town (population 2,721) on Waterfall Way on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. It is approximately halfway between the major Australian cities of Sydney and Brisbane. It is the seat of Bellingen Shire and has a mixture of valley, plateau and coastal environments.

The township lies on the not-quite-spelled-the-same Bellinger River: the different spelling is most likely the result of a misinterpretation of some poor handwriting once upon a time. The name Bellingen was first mentioned by Clement Hodgkinson as the native name for the area, and is believed to come from Baalijin, the Gumbaynggir name for the Quoll (Native Cat). He refers to the river as the ‘Bellingen River’ in his 1845 book, Australia From Port Macquarie to Moreton Bay.

Bellingen was one of the filming locations for the 2003 comedy film Danny Deckchair, written and directed by Jeff Balsmeyer. Bellingen was also the notional setting of the book Oscar and Lucinda written by Booker Prize winning author Peter Carey. The film version of the novel Eucalyptus was set to be filmed in Bellingen as well before it fell through.

Bellingen has a strong affinity with the arts and is home to four festivals: the popular Global Carnival (often known simply as  ‘The Global’), the Jazz and Blues Festival, Stamping Ground Dance Festival and Camp Creative. The first and original festival, an annual event, was the Azalea Festival, which included a procession of floats, the local brass band and pipeband, and various community organisations marching down Hyde Street to the cheers and applause of the spectators.

Bellingen is home to well-known current events reporter George Negus, writer Victor Kelleher, pianist David Helfgott (subject of the film Shine released in 1996) and author Steve Biddulph. Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist was born in Bellingen.

Nearby known swimming spots: (please let us know if you know any)

Nearby towns: Dorrigo, Urunga, Coffs Harbor, Sawtell, Woolgoola

Thanks: to Phoenix for offering this post for publication.