Bello Winter Music (11- 14 July) is a small, family-friendly festival that fills the streets, cafes and halls of Bellingen on the NSW Mid North Coast. Bello Winter Music is known for its diverse program, relaxed atmosphere and delightful venues spread throughout the town. An exciting, diverse line-up of over 70 international and Australian acts including Tammi Savoy & the Chris Casello Combo (US), Hein Cooper, Jess Ribeiro, Laura Jean and Nadia Reid (NZ) is reason enough to get yourself to Bello Winter Music (11-14 July). The fact that the festival takes place in such a breath taking location is the honey in the chai! www.bellowintermusic.com
Discover Bellingen: Home of Bello Winter Music Festival
Bellingen is an absurdly pretty town straddling a river and nestled at the foot of the Northern NSW tablelands and Dorrigo National Park. Bellingen is only 30 mins drive from Coffs Harbour and a handful of kilometres inland, but it’s like entering into Narnia – imagine lush green hills, a silver, misty river and purple mountains. It’s the kind of place where Frodo Baggins would feel right at home.
Just like Bello Winter Music festival itself, Bellingen, or ‘Bello’ as locals call it, is full of things to discover. It’s a laid back, friendly little festival in a stunning location with loads of things for families and adventurers to explore one of the best holiday destinations in Australia. For nature buffs and thrill seekers alike, the Mid North Coast of NSW has a wealth of offerings for any family to turn their festival trip into a full-blown holiday.
Dorrigo National Park & Dangar Falls
Dorrigo National Park is a must see. If you’re coming to the festival on Opening Night (Thursday 11th July), Friday morning could be the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to the beautiful scenic drive up the Waterfall Way to the Dorrigo Plateau before the fun starts on Saturday. On the outskirts of this tiny rural town you’ll find some not to be missed nature walks in the Dorrigo National Park including a full waterfall loop or a shorter forest floor walk showcasing amazing native flora and fauna. Upon entering the park, the Skywalk lookout offers spectacular views over Dorrigo National Park and encompasses Bellinger Valley to the coast. The park also has an information centre, cafe and fantastic gift shop.
While you’re on the Plateau, take short drive to Dangar falls, for a more accessible waterfall adventure. If you wish to go further afield, there are more staggering natural offerings at Point Lookout, Cathedral Rock and Ebor Falls.
Urunga & Mylestom
Take your pick of these two sleepy seaside villages both within a 15 minute drive from Bellingen – perfect if you’re coming to town with a weekend pass in your pocket and need to get some nature time before the festivities start on Saturday or Sunday. Urunga offers one of the best boardwalks on the East Coast. Enjoy the superb views of Bellinger/Kalang river junction then north to Mylestom Spit and south along the beach to Nambucca Heads. Then turn back and take in the Great Dividing Range.
Urunga has also added a new boardwalk attraction to their destination map. Urunga Wetlands Boardwalk is a community project which transformed a contaminated site into a beautiful nature based experience. Its decking has been constructed using recycled plastic waste and is equivalent to nearly 2.5 million plastic bags being diverted from landfill.
Mylestom is a cute little village with east access to both beach and river – a good fishing spot with a little fish and chip shop across from the park and lido.
Coffs Harbour not only offers an array of natural wonders including the Jetty Foreshores, Mcauleys Headland walking track and Sealy Lookout, but if you’re all natured out there are some great family options for something a little different, especially if you need to get away from bustling Bello for a few hours between festival favourites.
The Big Banana Fun Park has had some major upgrades and additions in recent years and is now considered a theme park hosting ice skating, mini golf and laser tag and water park.
Dolphin Marine Magic is a great one for younger kids with dolphin and seal swimming encounters, penguins and a resident peacock. Then there’s as the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House – an indoor tropical habitat for around 400 live Australian butterflies.
Bellingen itself has so much to offer both as a part of the festival and in its own right. So much of the town is incorporated into the festival that you’ll likely come across many of these best kept secrets, but here are some tips so you can start planning.
Check out the Northbank Community Garden, hire a canoe for a mosey down the river, or swing by the local markets – Bellingen Community Markets (third Saturday of the month) and Bellingen Growers Markets (second and fourth Saturday of the month).
There is shopping aplenty from retro and vintage, boutique, organic children’s clothing, music and books, the drag is bursting with interesting little shops and great eateries, not to mention the multi award winning deli in the local IGA.
Coffee buffs, have no fear! You are spoilt for choice in downtown Bello; it may be a small place but it is full of fierce baristas who know how to make a brew. Whether you want to have a cuppa with your fresh baked croissant, sit in a sunny courtyard while the kids play, or get amongst the action with street side cafe seating, Bellingen has got you covered – and it’s likely you’ll see a pop up festival stage while you’re there! And if you need a change of pace between the musical discoveries, markets, bright lights and wrist band checks, be sure to head down to the Butter Factory, just on the edge of town, featuring artisan woodwork & leather shops, cafe and art gallery.
All of this atop the knockout Bello Winter Music line-up is enough to whet the appetite of any fun loving citizen!
Taking place in the magnificent, historic riverside town of Bellingen and selling out each year, Bello Winter Music has fast become the under-the-radar favourite for musicians and punters who like their music up close and intimate. If this sounds like a perfect weekend away, grab your tickets now at bellowintermusic.com before they sell out.