The crowd at Bellingen Global Carnival 2007.
The crowd at Bellingen Global Carnival 2007. Image supplied

Bellingen Global Carnival 2008

THIS year the Bellingen Global Carnival is back and promising to be bigger and better than ever. Festivities kick off at 6:30pm on Friday October 3 and run through to Sunday October 5. If you're planning on checking out the festival, this is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to get yourself there!

What is the carnival all about?:

The Bellingen Global Carnival is a celebration of multi-culturalism and arts which strives to embrace the cultural diversity which exists within Australia. The entertainment comes from far and wide, including international and home-grown acts. There is also a children's festival which includes child-minding for those who would like to take a wander without the kids in tow.

Getting to Bellingen:

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If you don't live in the area then getting to Bellingen will be your first and most important step.

A small town with a population of around 3000,  Bellingen is just south-west of Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

Bellingen is around 400km south of Brisbane and 500km north of Sydney. It is around 12 kilometres off the Pacific Motorway which should take less than 10 minutes if you're in a car. Once you get into Bellingen, take a right at the Post Office to make your way to the Showgrounds which will be on your right.

However, if you're trying to reduce your carbon footprint, or just don't have transport of your own, you will probably need to consider a bus. Busways runs Route 359 to Bellingen from Nambucca Heads (south) five times a day Monday to Friday and twice on a Saturday, but there is no service on a Sunday.

From the north you can catch Route 361 from Coffs Harbour to Bellingen. The 361 departs three times a day Monday to Friday but has no weekend services.

If you're coming from further afield, you have the option of flying into Coffs Harbour on Qantas, Virgin Blue and Brindabella Airlines or you can catch a CountryLink train to Urunga.

Where to stay:

Should you wish, you have the option of camping at the site. Pre-paid camping is available for the three nights at a cost of $25 per person, or $10 per person per night, payable at the gate on entry.

If you're looking for relatively cheap and convenient accommodation and don't mind the backpacker atmosphere, the Bellingen YHA is right in the heart of town and also offers a pick up service from Urunga. Just make sure you mention when you're making your booking that you require the pick-up service.

For an authentic country-style experience which is kid-friendly too, why not try out the Bellingen Farmstay. There's plenty of fun activities if you have children to keep occupied, but there's also heaps for the adults to enjoy too. This is probably only an option for those with cars though as it is a little out of town.

Looking for some luxury? Check out Akira Retreat which provides luxurious Japanese inspired accomodation, gourmet organic breakfasts, an outdoor Japanese hot bath and day spa therapies. Akira is in Northern Bellingen which is still fairly close to the heart of Bellingen.

For more accommodation options, have a look on Bellinger Magic.

What's on at the festival?:

The Bellingen Global Carnival is a real cultural and lifestyle melting pot with plenty to see and do.

So if you're going to make the trip then you should probably figure what you want to see and plan it out a little before you get there. Have a look at the rundown of the weekend's activities and performances here.

One of the most exciting acts for this year would have to be the special performance of the Wanampi Inma – The Rainbow Serpent Dance.The dance symbolises true reconciliation and will be lead by elders from the Anangu, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara lands. After being lost for a long time, the elders are excited about reviving the dance.

There is also plenty of fantastic local, national and international music acts to check out including Batacuda Sound Machine, Pacific Curls, Clazzmenco and Inga Liljestrom.

There are numerous different locations within the Carnival. If meditation and all things spiritual are your thing, check out the Dharma Village. The Orb Lounge provides a unique audio visual experience and the Children's Festival is guaranteed to keep your kids enthralled for hours.

You can find more information about artists performing at the Carnival on their website.

What about tickets?:

Tickets to the Bellingen Global Carnival are available through the Carnival's website or from selected outlets across Queensland and New South Wales. Youth tickets are available for carnival goers aged 13 to 17 years. Children aged 12 and under are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult.

Tickets prices are as follows:

Youth one night (6pm - midnight) - $40

Adult one night (6pm - midnight) - $55

Youth one day and night (9am - midnight) - $65

Adult one day and night (9am - midnight) - $95

Youth two day (Saturday/Sunday) pass - $99

Adult two day (Saturday/Sunday) pass - $165

Youth weekend pass - $125

Youth weekend plus camping - $150

Adult weekend pass - $190

Adult weekend plus camping - $215


In case you haven't gathered, Bellingen isn't the easiest place to get to if you don't have a car. If you would like to explore the possibility of car-pooling with other festival goers, you can try posting on the Carnival's forum. It would be a good idea to not leave your transport arrangements until the last minute.

In October the mean average temperature in Bellingen ranges from 11 degrees to 26 degrees. Although the weather has been warming up, it would still be advisable to take some warm clothes, particularly if you are planning on camping. Maybe take wet weather gear too, just in case.

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