25 June 2012
An Australian road trip wouldn’t be a road trip without a visit to the famous hippy capital of Nimbin. Driving around the countryside here, you get the feeling there might be quite a few more hippies living in the region’s hills and valleys outside the town as well.
Nimbin is about half an hour’s drive from the university town of Lismore or about an hour and a half from Byron Bay. Arriving in this small town you’re instantly greeted with that ‘free love’, alternative feeling.
Colourful painted murals cover the shops lining the main street and although the crew was in the trusty #unmapped van, I think they would have preferred a Kombie van or at least a camper.
If you’re in a hurry, you could skip through Nimbin’s main street in an hour or so. However, doing that, you might sacrifice getting a proper feel for the town and the essence of New South Wales’ Rainbow Region.
Many of the shops feature clothes, gifts and locally crafted souvenirs. The Nimbin Community Art Gallery displays awesome art and sculptures and is also well worth a pop in. A good country pub stands proudly in the main street.
We would usually opt for pub grub, but the #unmapped crew chose to sample the bakery instead. The streets are filled with heaps of locally grown food and produce, and even the cheese and the coffee is local.
Nimbin Rox YHA is a few minutes drive out of town and offers endless views of the valleys and the rolling hills. You can camp out in a tee-pee to really get in tune with nature, or even sleep out in a yurt! Of course, the #unmapped crew was well looked after and experienced all parts of the hostel. I get the feeling this is the sort of place you come for a few days and end up staying for a few weeks.
Horseback riding was on the agenda while in Nimbin. A few of the crew were a little scared (Josh!) but riding in the morning mist was a special experience.
Nimbin has quite a history, spanning from thousands of years ago to recent decades. Striking natural landscapes like Nimbin Rocks, Blue Knob, Protesters Falls and Mount Warning all hold significance for the aboriginal people. Meanwhile, the Aquarius Festival shaped the region to what we know it as today.
The search for a utopian lifestyle back in 1973 led hordes of uni students from Melbourne and Sydney to Nimbin and resulted in a huge hippy free lovin’ festival which you can learn about in the very alternate Nimbin Museum. Many who came up via train in the 70s still live the ‘dream’ close to 40 years later. Chatting to the locals is a must in Nimbin.
After a few days in Nimbin the coast beckoned, so #unmapped headed towards Byron Bay. The windy drive takes in the stunning village of The Channon, past the many macadamia plantations of Dunoon, out to Clunes, onto Bangalow and then Byron Bay.
The #unmapped blogger