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The Three Blue Ducks’ guide to Bellingen

Three Blue Ducks BellingenCredit: Steven Woodburn, Three Blue Ducks

Three Blue Ducks, Belligen

#feelnsw

The Three Blue Ducks’ guide to Bellingen

Three Blue Ducks Bellingen Credit: Steven Woodburn, Three Blue Ducks

Three Blue Ducks, Belligen

#feelnsw

Hashtags #feelnsw

Tucked within the Coffs Coast hinterland, Bellingen is a tiny town offering big adventures and big flavours – even more so now with the opening of the Three Blue Ducks’ fifth restaurant. For owners Sam Reid-Boquist, Chris Sorrell, Jeff Bennett, Mark LaBrooy, Andy Allen and Darren Robertson, Bellingen ticks all the boxes: amazing local produce to cook with, waterways perfect for fishing and nearby surf beaches for days off. Here are the Ducks’ top picks for a trip to ‘Bello’.

Where to eat

Surrounded by misty mountains, utopian valleys, verdant countryside and crystal-clear waterways, the bohemian town of Bellingen has a natural bounty at its doorstep – and it shows in the town’s many dining options. The Three Blue Ducks’ eating ethos centres around paddock-to-plate cooking, and besides their own Bellingen restaurant, the guys have a long list of favourite places in town. Black Bear Cafe offers expertly brewed Botero coffee from Northern NSW and a delicious menu using local and sustainable produce. Around the corner, 5 Church St, a cafe by day and live-music venue by night, also champions local and organic ingredients on its menu. To get your hands a little dirty and see exactly where your food comes from, the guys recommend a farm tour or Paddock to Plate Dinner at Levenvale Farm. Three Blue Ducks uses the farm’s Bello Beef in their menu – 100% grass-fed and -finished beef grown in a chemical-free environment and using regenerative agricultural practices.

For a casual dinner, the Ducks recommend heading to Bellingen Brewing Co for wood-fired pizzas, local craft beer and organic wine. Charlie’s at Church is another suggestion from the guys who say you can’t miss a plate of their handmade pasta and a scoop of their “cracking” tiramisu. Bruno’s is another restaurant with a Mediterranean-inspired fine-dining menu and thoughtfully curated wine list. For dessert Bellingen Gelato is a Ducks favourite – the eco-friendly ice creamery uses natural, locally sourced ingredients in their gelato; LED lights in the shop; biodegradable gelato cups and wooden spoons; and ice-cream machines that can be cooled using recycled water.

Three Blue Ducks Bellingen Credit: Steven Woodburn, Three Blue Ducks

Three Blue Ducks, Belligen

#feelnsw

Three Blue Ducks Bellingen Credit: Steven Woodburn, Three Blue Ducks

Three Blue Ducks, Belligen

#feelnsw

Three Blue Ducks Bellingen Credit: Steven Woodburn, Three Blue Ducks

Three Blue Ducks, Belligen

#feelnsw

Three Blue Ducks Bellingen Credit: Steven Woodburn, Three Blue Ducks

Three Blue Ducks, Belligen

#feelnsw

Where to play

Whether you want a peaceful paddle on the river or to go chasing waterfalls in the region’s ancient rainforests, Bellingen’s natural wonders offer the perfect playground for outdoor lovers. The Three Blue Ducks team love a surf, and their favourite break is at Sawtell Beach. Sawtell is also a great spot for non-waveriders, with the guys suggesting a walk to Boambee Lookout before a swim in Boambee Creek and a picnic by the water is the perfect family day out. More great views can be found at Griffith Lookout – on a clear day you can see the entire Coffs Coast, from the Great Dividing Range to the Pacific Ocean and right down to Kempsey.

Just half an hour from Bellingen, Dorrigo National Park is a not-to-be-missed spot on a trip to the region. The World Heritage-listed Gondwana rainforest offers stunning scenery with cascading waterfalls, lush hikes and elevated views from the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre’s Skywalk Lookout, which walks right over the forest’s canopy.

Where to stay

The Three Blue Ducks’ Bellingen outpost is housed within The Lodge, a luxury 30-room property on 16 acres of land and with 360-degree mountain views. The Lodge offers everything from two-bedroom suites to cosy studios and comfortable glamping tents, plus there’s a pool, spa and alpaca farm perfect for families.

You’ll feel like royalty at Evermoore Retreat, a European-style chateau hidden at the base of Old Man Dreaming mountain where the Ducks recently stayed. The guys loved the property’s grand interiors, incredible banquet room and access to a private beach at Never Never River, a hidden gem with turquoise swimming holes, rope swings to splash into the water and great white-water rafting during winter.

The Ducks also recommend a stay at Levenvale Farm. After you’ve toured the cattle yards and explored the property, you can bed down in a range of cosy off-grid accommodation – from a tiny house to a glamping tent to a rustic hut.

Dorrigo Skywalk, Dorrigo Credit: Destination NSW

Aerial overlooking the Dorrigo Skywalk attraction in Dorrigo National Park.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Dorrigo Skywalk, Dorrigo Credit: Destination NSW

Aerial overlooking the Dorrigo Skywalk attraction in Dorrigo National Park.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Bellingen Brewing Co, Bellingen Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a drink at the Bellingen Brewing Co, Bellingen

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Bellingen Brewing Co, Bellingen Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a drink at the Bellingen Brewing Co, Bellingen

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

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