After bidding farewell to Coffs Harbout, we headed south for a short time before turning inland toward Bellingen and Dorrigo along the Waterfall Way.
Bellingen is nestled in the Bellinger Valley on the Bellinger River. It is lush and green and the grass looks almost good enough to eat.
The many dairy cows appeared to be well fed and quite content.
The town itself is quite old and the area is home to many artists and creative people. I was instantly in love with the architecture and atmosphere, however we drove straight through in order to reach Dorrigo.
Time enough to explore Bellingen on our way back down.
The Garden Gnome wished to return to Dorrigo to see the Steam Train Museum although the first time we had stumbled across it, we were not aware it was a museum and thought it was a grave yard for old steam trains. It was a cold, wet and dreary day the last time we had visited and the trains were surrounded by lush, green grass growing up through their wheels.
After losing our way, we found the trains and drove around the area. Although this is a museum, it is not yet open to the public and any viewing is to be done from outside the barbed wire fence. We stopped to take photos of the carriages and black locomotives but felt as if we were being watched on this deserted country road. Turning around, we realised that we were.
Staring intently at us was a man dressed in shabby overalls. Sitting at his feet was his dog. I felt that all that was missing was a gun in the crook of his arm.
Nodding at him, we continued photographing before driving up a little further to photograph from a different angle. It was there that we found the gate with the information about the museum and discovered that the locomotives are painted black with oil in order to protect them from rust.
Stomachs rumbling, we drove back down the range past a couple of the waterfalls that dot this road. There is no place to pull over to take photos for one waterfall so this was shot through the windscreen. Luckily, we had nothing behind us so we were able to stop for a few short seconds.
Driving along further, we found a roadside rest area to stop in so that I could photograph the view and the other waterfall we had just passed. Whilst stopped, we were entertained by a roving rooster who appeared to live in the rainforest around us. We have no idea where he came from but he made himself right at home and attempted to hop into the car through the door I had left open.
Arriving in Bellingen, we faced the difficulty of finding a car park. We found one on the outer edge of the little town and walked back in stopping at small shops on the way. I found these cute fellows and just had to photograph them. The GG talked me out of buying one by reminding me that I had nowhere to put it.
Beside the courthouse is a statue to David Helfgott who is from Bellingen originally. I took lots of photos of this. Some on it’s own and some with the Tween perched on it or pretending to play it.
We eventually found a lovely Patisserie to eat at and seated ourselves outside in the sunshine under an umbrella.
I hope to return to Bellingen one day and spend more than an hour touring the streets and taking photos of the architecture. I have discovered family connections on both my side of the family and that of the Garden Gnome whilst doing family history research so a further visit is definitely in order one day.