Bellingen is one of those delightful little towns on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales which lies in the too hard basket for many people who love to travel using public transport. It’s a little off the beaten track.
Here’s how to get there using the train and a local bus – just like the locals do. First of all, try to pick a time to visit which coincides with a market weekend. The town comes alive on market day, the main street fills with people and the cafe scene is alive and colourful. The market is a delight, a showcase of local handicrafts and produce.
The market is held on the third Saturday of each month. Here’s a link to the Bellingen Markets website
If you’re travelling from Sydney book a seat on the XPT that departs Sydney at 07:08 to the town of Urunga. Here’s the train timetable for the NSW North Coast line. Here’s the NSWTrainlink booking form to book online. You can also call NSWTrainlink on 13 22 32 to make a booking.
So that you can meet the bus number 358 Urunga to Bellingen bus at Urunga, you’ll need to travel on a weekday. There is a very limited bus service on the weekend and no services on Sunday. The service is run by Busways. You can download their timetable for the Macksville to Bellingen service here.
If you catch the 07:08 from Sydney you’ll arrive at Urunga at 15:32. The bus to Bellingen leaves from the street at the front of the station at 15:46. There is no official bus stop, you just hail the bus when you see it coming. If the train is late and you miss the 15:46 bus service there is another bus service to Bellingen leaving Urunga at 18:02.
From Urunga station, it’s only a few minutes walk into Urunga town. In town, the bus leaves from the bus stop with a shelter in front of the Urunga Public School, in Bowra St. Here’s a map of Urunga.
The bus driver accepts cash, Visa or Mastercard to pay your fare to Bellingen. If you have a Seniors card, show it to the driver and the fare is just $2.50.
Accommodation in Bellingen
Since you’re arriving by public transport, it’s probably best you stay somewhere close to town. There are numerous BnBs listed on AirBnB.com. A place to stay right in the centre of town is the Federal Hotel. The hotel is upmarket and spotlessly clean. Unfortunately the rooms don’t have an ensuite. There’s also the Bellingen YHA which has an ensuite option. For a list of all the accommodation in Bellingen try Booking.com
Bellingen to Sydney
When it comes time to head home you’ll need to book a seat on the train that leaves Urunga at 11:31 weekdays. The bus back to Urunga to meet the Sydney bound train leaves Bellingen at 09:57 (weekdays) and arrives at Urunga railway station 10:17, giving you plenty of time to meet your train at 11:31.
Brisbane to Bellingen
If you’re travelling from Brisbane, book yourself a seat to Urunga on the XPT that leaves Brisbane at 05:55. You’ll arrive at Urunga station at 11:31. You’ll need to make it a weekday as the bus leaves from Urunga station for Bellingen at 12:40 pm, weekdays only.
Bellingen to Brisbane
The bus for Urunga station leaves Bellingen at 13.07 to meet the Casino bound XPT at 15:32. At Casino you’ll change for a coach to Brisbane via the Gold Coast.