Bellingen Shire is located on the Mid North Coast of NSW halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and just south of Coffs Harbour. It has a total area of 1,605 square kilometres with a coastline of approximately 10km. The region is renowned for its ecological diversity with State Forests and National Parks covering over 53% of the local government area. The resident population of the Shire was 13,450 in 2010. Over the past ten years the population of Bellingen Shire has increased at an average annual rate of 0.9%.
The shire consists of three broad topographical areas incorporating the seaboard around Mylestom, Repton and Urunga, the valleys of the Bellinger and Kalang rivers and the Dorrigo plateau landscapes. Each has its own characteristics and provides a choice in cultural and natural diversity.
Who we are
The Shire is a lifestyle region with an emphasis on cultural vibrancy, liveability and social cohesion. It has diverged over the years and is now a mix of traditional and non-traditional farming. Many of today’s residents are artists, craftspeople, writers, musicians and horticulturalists, with approximately 12.1% of employed residents having established home-based activities.
Bellingen Shire is an “economy in transition.” While the traditional industry base of timber, dairying, potato and meat processing are essential to the economic health of the Shire, emerging and developing industries include tourism which is underpinned by the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre, national parks, cultural attractions and a successful events sector. Aquaculture, agribusiness/processing, arts and cultural industries, organics and regional cuisine and aged care have also developed.
The events sector is also part of this “creative” economy. The renowned annual Camp Creative, Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival, Bellingen Music Festival, Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival all add to the Shire’s already buzzing cultural life. The vibrant monthly Bellingen Markets also provides an opportunity to showcase our people and culture.
Tourism is strengthened by the fantastic climate, a stunning environment, café, market and festival culture and access to a wide range of tourism and recreational opportunities. For lifestyle you can choose the Dorrigo plateau, rural areas, town convenience or beachside living.