Around-Oz: Living the Dream!

Bellbird Hotel - in paradise a little bit north of Orbost on Highway 1 - Victoria

Once in a while you stumble on a pure gem totally suitable for motorhomers, and the Bellbird Hotel is just one of those rare finds - simply ideal as a smoko stop or an overnighter on even longer. Throw away those guide books - they're out of date - it has changed owners and has improved out of sight. We think it is now one of the best freebie spots in south east Victoria. How many places do you know where you can camp for free for as long as you like and have chopped firewood provided on beautifully mown lawns? Sure they would like you to buy your happy hour supplies and maybe a meal or two - but that's a small price to pay for such a lovely environment.


The hotel itself is quaint and very welcoming. During our most recent visit in February 2004 the crackle of the fireplace created a lovely atmosphere. In the right season, you could even imagine yourself transported into an English pub, as the snooker table is just through the doorway from the dining room. You can get good meals and snacks including the famous Mrs Mac's pies - a huge bowl of hot chips costs just $4.00. We were invited to try a pickled garlic which is locally made and has become one of their best selling items. Pickling reduces the aftertaste, but still gives you all the benefits against colds, flus, and adds the extra taste to many meals. Jurgenn reckons it's also an aprohdesiac!

New owners Jurgon and Lexie have done wonders to this top spot. For motorhomers there is an extra two mown fairly level paddocks with lots of shade. You reach this by driving in front of the hotel and crossing a small bridge - suitable for motorhomes up to 3 metres high. If you're taller like us, there is still the entrance on the left hand side of the hotel. There is a huge pile of firewood as shown in the piccie below, but Jurgen asks that it be used for cooking and warmth only - please no bon fires! Another enry to this area is in the pipeline which will be OK for us taller vehicles.


Other massive improvements include a huge deck at the rear and a smaller one at the front. Both areas are ideal for sitting having happy hour and if it's too sunny or hot (not that we find that too often in Victoria compared to Queensland), there are even umbrellas to give you shade. Motorhomers are made very, very welcome and there really is room to move now. This spot is absolutely ideal for chapter weekends - up to 40 units at a guess - and a wonderful stopping point for those on safari. You can park under the trees or near the delightful creek.


Jurgen and Lexie are new to the hotel industry, coming from a lifetime in the dairy and the scaffolding industry. An outside toilet could be in the pipeline as well Jurgen reckons as he just loves building things. In the meantime if you get caught short and the pub is shut just knock, on the door - they are that kind of people - nothing is tooooooo much trouble. The mail address is Bellbird Hotel, Princes Highway, Bellbird Creek, 3890, Victoria. Phone (03) 5158 1239. Not on the Internet just yet but we are working on them as they also have a couple of rooms to let! Finding the place is fairly easy. Coming from the south it is just past the Bemm River turnoff after a spot called Manorina, about half way between Orbost and Cann River. You could use it as very low cost a touring base to explore such wonderful areas as Marlo, Cape Conran and its National Park, Linde National Park - the possibilities are endless. Of course the big advantage is you can have dinner there after a days hectic touring to give the cook a bit of a break! Only tank water available, (plenty of water in Orbost) so please arrive with full tanks if you intend staying more than 24 hours. Mobile phone coverage is zilch until you get nearer the Bemm River turnoff, however the pub has a landline.

And most importantly - pets are most welcome - our border collie Rex gives it a 10 out of 10 for snuffle value both around the grounds and along the creek - Jurgon and Lexie are both "doggie" people.........

Absolutely recommended.

Chrissy Eustace

HEMA 47 D-10



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