Explore.... Waterfall Way
The Bellingen area has a rich history which has been well preserved and is regarded with pride by the local community. The Aboriginal custodians of the land, the Gumbaynggirr people, consisted of two tribes in the area. The Yellow Rock tribe was able to live a settled lifestyle around the estuary at Urunga, due to the abundance of resources in the area. They would often invite neighbouring tribes to share the resources.
The Upper Bellinger tribe migrated between the valley and the plateau. The ridges were their highways
and the seasons their guide. Only abundant foods were hunted and known breeding grounds were treated
as sacred. To learn more about the history of Aboriginal peoples in the area visit Urunga Boardwalk, which contains detailed signage about the history of the people and their land, along with the chance to see a unique wetland ecosystem.
The Dorrigo Rainforest Centre also contains many books by local authors on the Aboriginal history of the
area and often hosts exhibitions by local artists.
In 1840 William Miles, a stockman from Kempsey, recognised the rich potential of the red cedar, which abounded in the area. Cedar cutters moved into the area, cutting the trees and waiting for the floods to
move the trunks down to the river mouth. Farmers, who, recognising the rich potential of the alluvial soils, grew maize and grazed dairy cattle, followed the cutters. During the 1950s the area suffered a decline in prosperity, when the butter market to England ceased, forcing many families to leave the area. The next
big turning point came in the late 1970s when an increasing influx of ‘alternative life stylers’ came to the Bellinger – a transformation which continues to this day, with many more sea and tree changers moving
to the Shire.
For more on the history of the area visit the Bellingen Historical Museum, Urunga Museum, or Dorrigo Historical Museum. Each museum holds a collection of memorabilia and artefacts from the area.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
urunga, WHERE THE RIVERS MEET THE SEA:
There are many beaches to enjoy near the coastal end of Waterfall Way that are excellent for fishing, swimming and surfing. North Beach at Mylestom is patrolled during school holidays. 4WD vehicles are allowed access north along the beach from Tuckers Rock up to Bundagen Headland and Bongil Bongil National Park, and south from the North Beach Surf Club to the river mouth.
Hungry Head beach is also patrolled during school holidays and further along, Wenonah Headland offers 4WD access, surfing, fishing and diving. Please swim between the flags and remember to slip, slop, slap!
The 1.2km long Urunga Boardwalk follows the banks of the Kalang and Bellinger rivers through a unique wetland to the beach. It displays detailed signage about the history of the Aboriginal people in the area and offers a close up of the rich diversity of wildlife along the coast.
there's something about Bellingen:
The charming town of Bellingen is located on the banks of the beautiful Bellinger River. The town’s historic wealth is reflected in the heritage buildings that blend in with the facilities of the modern day town, with top class cafes, pubs and restaurants, plus award-winning gelato!
Bellingen Community Markets are held the third Saturday of each month in Bellingen Park. The markets are famous for a wonderful blend of arts, crafts, and local produce. On the second and fourth Saturday of the month, search out the Grower’s Market at the Bellingen Showground.
Bellingen hosts a range of festivals throughout the year including Camp Creative - an arts and performance school for the whole family - in January, the Readers & Writers Festival in March, the (mostly classical) Music Festival in June, the Jazz Festival in August, the world-culture event Global Carnival on the October long weekend and the celebration of the River Festival in November.
The Promised Land near Gleniffer north of Bellingen offers a superb scenic drive following the Loop Road along Never Never Creek. Allow one hour for this drive (the road is partially unsealed), or a little longer if you take a picnic or feel like a swim.
The Old Butter Factory encapsulates all that is Bellingen. The talent of local artists is displayed in the many galleries and craft shops. The beautifully preserved building which houses the Café is an attraction in itself.
Dorrigo - where the mountains reach the sky:
This lovely quiet town boasts many art galleries, delightful cafés and country shops, as well as the National Trust listed Heritage Hotel Motel, an example of fine architecture and old world charm. The Dorrigo Market, on the first Saturday of the month at the Dorrigo Showground, is a classic country market offering home-grown and homemade foods, eco-friendly goods, clothing and much more. In October the Showground comes alive to the music of the Folk & Bluegrass Festival - big enough to draw world-renowned artists, yet relaxed, intimate and accessible enough to be known as “a Great Little Festival”.
The Dorrigo National Park is home to the Skywalk which takes you over Gondwana Rainforests. Many walks take you to (and under!) the waterfalls in this World Heritage Area. National Park Rangers conduct Discovery tours during school holidays. Plan a picnic at The Glade or Never Never picnic areas.
Dangar Falls is 2km north of Dorrigo on the Megan Road. A few metres from the car-park is a viewing platform overlooking the falls, with toilets and a picnic area adjoining.
Ebor Falls is a 20 minute drive west of Dorrigo at Ebor on Waterfall Way. Two lookouts provide spectacular views of the falls and the upper Guy Fawkes River Valley. Venture a little further on to Point Lookout in New England National Park. On a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean 70km away!
For more information about any of these interesting, fun, free activities and other great things to see
and do in the Bellingen Shire contact the friendly team at any of our Visitor Information Centres listed below.
Ph: 1300 369 070 or 02 6648 4990
E: [email protected] www.coffscoast.com.au
visitor information centres
Waterfall Way Visitor Information Centre
Hyde St, Bellingen NSW 2454
Ph: 02 6655 1522
Dorrigo Visitor Information Centre
Hickory St, Dorrigo NSW 2453
Ph: 02 6657 2486
Urunga Visitor Information Centre
cnr Pacific Hwy & Bellingen St, Urunga NSW 2455
Ph: 02 6655 5711