Nimbin may be small in population, but what it lacks in size, it more than compensates for in personality – that and postcard-perfect settings. This rainforest-shrouded town in the Northern Rivers region of the New South Wales' far North Coast nurtures a streetscape almost as colourful as its population.  



A colourful history

The 1973 Aquarius Festival saw thousands of hippies and alternative lifestyle lovers descend on the then dairy-farming community of Nimbin. Many never left, establishing communes in the hinterland and changing the town’s course forever. Today, the village is still Australia’s epicentre for counter-culture, with Dreamtime street murals to stores big on spirituality and sustainability – the latter to preserve the wonderous wilderness surrounds. On the edge of an extinct volcano in a green valley, surrounded by World Heritage-listed forest, Nimbin has a lot to protect.  

Crowd enjoying the Kombi parade at Nimbin MardiGrass Festival, Nimbin

 Nimbin MardiGrass Festival, Nimbin

Festivals & events 

Nimbin remains an idyllic destination for cultural festivals, the two largest being the Nimbin Mardigrass every April/May – a rally for cannabis law reform, held annually since 1993 (learn more at the town’s infamous Hemp Embassy) – and the Nimbin Roots Festival in September, celebrating world music with a stellar line-up of performers.   

The Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup is also held in September, this battle of wordsmiths held in the Nimbin School of Arts hall, which opened in 1904. Check out the events calendar for more festivals, markets and shows. 

Crowd enjoying the Nimbin MardiGrass Festival, Nimbin

Nimbin MardiGrass Festival, Nimbin

Arts & culture 

It’s not just Nimbin’s festival scene that’s colourful – the town shines bright with a main street decorated in larger-than-life murals, most painted by local creatives to tell the story of the region. For a deeper dive into the scene, visit the Nimbin Artists Gallery and Nimbin Craft Gallery to browse works by local artists and artisans, from paintings and fashion to ceramics and jewellery. The Nimbin School of Arts hosts a spring exhibition to spotlight local talent, while the Nimbin Artists Gallery reciprocates with a similar showcase in autumn.  

Locally made arts and crafts at Nimbin Craft Gallery, Nimbin

Nimbin Craft Gallery, Nimbin - Credit: Nimbin Craft Gallery

Where to eat & drink

Rich volcanic soils plus expansive farmland – it’s a formula this pocket of NSW employs to generate spectacular produce. Pick up everything from seasonal fruit and vegetables to local bread and cheeses at the Nimbin Farmers’ Market, held every Wednesday afternoon. If you’re considering a tree-change, visit the annual Nimbin Show every September, with displays on sustainable farming methods as well as newer enterprises, from bee-keeping to industrial hemp. 

Couple enjoying a day of shopping for arts & crafts and local produce at Nimbin Market, Nimbin

Nimbin Market, Nimbin

For such a small town, Nimbin packs a big punch when it comes to wining and dining in establishments along its main street, lined with buildings from the early 20th century. Grab breakfast and coffee at Dutch & Co (think, Oreo smoothies and hemp-pesto penne); try the handmade pasta and woodfired pizza at Armonica Cafe, or pick up fresh breads, pies and cakes at crowd-drawing Nimbin Bakery

Freshly baked bread at Nimbin Bakery, Nimbin

Nimbin Bakery, Nimbin - Credit: Nimbin Bakery

Rainforest adventures 

You don’t have to travel far to be fully immersed in UNESCO-listed rainforest, with nearby Nightcap, Wollumbin and Border Ranges national parks all part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Take the Protesters Falls walking track in Nightcap to a multi-tiered waterfall over mossy rocks, named for a 1979 environmental protest to save the rainforest. Or the Pinnacle Walk in the Borders Ranges, taking you to a scenic lookout with views over the Jurassic landscape that surrounds. 

Perhaps the region’s most striking natural feature is the Nimbin Rocks: immense volcanic extrusions remaining from an eruption 20 million years ago. You can walk here from the town centre – they’re just three kilometres away. 

Protestor Falls waterfall at Terania Creek, Nightcap National Park

Terania Creek, Nightcap National Park - Credit: John Turbill/DCCEEW

Getting there & where to stay

If you’re a fan of epic road trips, the commute north from Sydney to Nimbin is one to remember. It takes around 8.5 hours nonstop, but plenty of coastal and hinterland hamlets tempt exploration en route. Getting to Nimbin from Brisbane takes just 2.5 hours by car. You can also fly into Ballina Byron Gateway Airport near Byron Bay, which is just over an hour from Nimbin, or Lismore Regional Airport, around 30 minutes away. Accommodation options in Nimbin and surrounds range from guesthouses and retreats to cottages, farmstays and youth hostels that suit every type of style and budget. 

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