My previous journal entry told of places we’d rather not have visited, but this one is quite the opposite. We had a few spare days to roam wild and free, so we ignored any planning and route-mapping. We went completely off book; starting with a trip to Bellingen.
Bellingen is a picturesque, bucolic town oozing with bohemian vibes. It’s located slightly inland and is an absolute treasure. All of the buildings were intricate, the eateries had real character and the people were very sociable – what’s not to love?!
We arrived at brunch time and were after a good meal; as soon as we set eyes upon the Cedar Bar & Kitchen, we knew we were in for a treat. The building is B-E-A-utiful – a carefully restored church. As we waited for our brekkie, we chatted to the owner Paul who told us that Cedar had only just opened, though you would never have guessed it as an outsider.
We were soon lapping up the most delicious (locally sourced) scrambled eggs on toast. So simple, but oh so divine. If you get the chance, I would strongly recommend this place!
I definitely want to return to Bellingen to explore properly. As we didn’t expect to be visiting, we didn’t really know what was there; what we do know is that we had a wonderful time taking in the town’s vivacious atmosphere. Since leaving I have discovered that Bellingen is home to the ‘Promised Land’ – complete with the (supposedly) beautiful ‘Never Never Creek’. With such a tantalising fairytale-type association, I obviously need to go back and see for myself! After all, who wouldn’t want to be one with the Lost Boys, mermaids and pirates… if only for a few hours.
The main reason we cruised past Bellingen is that we had decided to drive ‘Waterfall Way’. This is quite literally a series of waterfalls dotted along a very convoluted route. It’s worth doing if you have some spare time, as the drive is particularly scenic (plus the Bellingen stopover: Bonus). However, you definitely don’t need to stop at every waterfall…
Another great pit-stop is the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, a World Heritage-listed rainforest in Dorrigo National Park. Here, they have numerous walking tracks, a Café, and most impressively a Skywalk. The walkway leads you to a viewing platform where you can set eyes upon the vast Rainforest Canopy from above (Warning, do not attempt if you are afraid of heights!).
Unfortunately the weather turned when we arrived, but the views were still breathtaking.
After a fun day of exploring, we needed somewhere to set up camp for the night. Bearing in mind we were in the middle of nowhere, we thought it would be prime time to utilise our camping app to search for a free site. Success – we found somewhere along Waterfall Way!
Perhaps we celebrated a little too soon… Our campsite consisted of a field, a picnic bench, and a long-drop that I still have nightmares about… and Mike had to guide me to with a torch each time. Not to mention we were high up above sea level, so the temperature was a little on the chilly side to start with. And then it was bloody freezing. Thankfully some fellow campers lent us their fire pit!!
Despite waking up like an ice cube (countless times throughout the night) and being afraid to use the facilities, it was a stunning little spot. We felt like true campers!
The next morning, we packed up our home and headed for yet another waterfall, before making our way to Bendemeer.
Since beginning this post I’ve realised that it has become rather long, so I will continue to tell you about this adventure in another installment!
Have you ever visited Bellingen? Or driven Waterfall Way? I’d love to hear about it in the comments 🙂