The Belfry Guesthouse exemplifies all that is loved about Bellingen. On entering this iconic Bellingen establishment one is quickly transported into a world of peace and tranquility, despite being only footsteps from the very centre of town. This is a true Bellingen landmark, with wide timber verandahs, private nooks for quiet contemplation and spaces for communal gathering, surrounded by lush greenery and framed by panoramic views to the Bellinger River and the Dorrigo escarpment beyond.
Amanda (pictured above far right) and Paul Fisher (pictured above far left, with Deb and Rowan), took ownership of the business in 2015. Since that time they have certainly made their mark, transforming the longstanding Bellingen YHA into the more family friendly Belfry Guesthouse. In fact, December 2020 marked the departure from YHA Australia after a 23 year association.
“We loved our years with YHA but felt we no longer fitted into the hostel/backpacking category within the travel industry,” says Amanda. “We are so happy with our move to a more unique accommodation type. It is with complete happiness we set off on a new life for this wonderful old Bello building.”
Like most accommodation venues across the Shire, the Belfry Guesthouse has been inundated with tourists this past six months. We were interested to know how the business has changed in the past 5 years and the owners’ dreams for the future…..
Amanda, what changes have or will occur as a result of leaving the YHA?
We removed our last dormitory over eighteen months ago to focus on family/double rooms so this change had already been made prior to us leaving YHA. This decision aligned well with the outbreak of Covid 19 with many people wanting private rooms. However, we still offer fabulous, budget, family centred accommodation.
What changes have you made to the business generally since taking ownership?
Since owning the Belfry we have painted the guesthouse inside and out. We have upgraded all our spaces. We have just renovated a lovely 42sqm yoga space, The Treehouse, which can be used by our guests for quiet meditation or yoga. This space can also be used in conjunction with a full guesthouse booking for retreats. We are just about to renew our southern wall (which faces Short Street Lane).
Of course we also named the business The Belfry Guesthouse, based on its original name The Belfry Lodge.
You have certainly imbibed the space with a unique sense of other worldliness. From where do you gain your inspiration?
Our annual trips to India and Indonesia certainly inspire us and we believe our guesthouse reflects our love of people and travel. The Belfry is a perfect place to restore your body and mind. Guests love our communal spaces such as our library and music room, shared commercial kitchen, verandahs and decks.
Our aim was to create a space of tranquility and peace for all.
What future plans or dreams do you have for The Belfry Guesthouse?
Our dream for the future is to have more people choose to come and hold residential retreats with us. We already have a yoga nidra teacher training retreat and forest dweller workshop retreat booked in for this year which is very exciting. We think 2021 will be a fabulous year.
Has your move to Bellingen been a good one?
Our move to Bellingen has been such a delight. We have been welcomed with open arms by locals and now feel we are genuinely locals ourselves. We have immersed ourselves in all Bello has to offer like weaving, yin yoga, acupuncture, beekeeping and Camp Creative to name just a few. Thank you Bellingen we love you!