I awoke to the sounds of multitudes of birds. When I stepped out onto my private patio, overlooking the lily pond, I noticed the swimming pool nearby, and was just a little sorry that my short stay and the still-cool weather precluded taking advantage of it. Instead, I filled my canteen (nice to have in the car on long drives) and packed the car. And so, in brilliant sunlight, accompanied by the laughter of kookaburras, I set off again, ever northward.
I turned left just past Urunga and found myself surrounded by the incredibly beautiful ranch land and meandering waterways of the Bellinger Valley, with a backdrop of green mountains beyond the green fields and stands of trees. Before long, I pulled into the wonderful town of Bellingen. Between the charming antiquity of the town and spectacular setting, I could easily imagine myself living here.
Charming is a big part of what folks come here for. Clustered along the banks of the Bellinger River and bisected by a road named Waterfall Way, the little town offers 100-year-old buildings, arts and crafts outlets, and coffee shops and gourmet eateries. In other words, I’m not the first person to have stopped in and found this place desirable.
I spent about an hour and a half hiking around town, admiring the lovely, old buildings and fun shops. The Bellingen Courthouse was built in 1910. However, this is still a working courthouse, not a tourist stop, so I just photographed the outside and continued on. The Old Butter Factory, built in the 1920s, was fun for its history, architecture, and charming craft shops. I’m not here to shop, so I simply admired the architecture of the old Hammond & Wheatley Emporium, a general store built in 1900 and now repurposed as a clothing store. More delightful architecture, B&Bs, cafés, and I easily accumulated a few dozen photos.
As much as I loved the town, I also loved the surroundings. The general green beauty was restful and exciting at the same time. There were a lot of magpies, which pleased me, as I’ve always enjoyed their delightfully musical song.
But soon it was time to move on, heading for Dorrigo.