In a beautiful valley pierced with rhyolite spires, Nimbin is in the Northern Rivers region on the far NSW North Coast. A tapestry of farms surrounds the hinterland town, a colourful alternative lifestyle centre near UNESCO World Heritage rainforest, breathtaking lookouts and cascading waterfalls.

The 1973 Aquarius Festival is remembered as the harbinger of Nimbin being synonymous with Australia’s counterculture. Communes sprouted in the hills in the 1970s and 1980s. The town is still a popular destination for cultural festivals and a great base for exploring the natural wonders nearby.

The Nimbin Rocks formed from ancient volcanic extrusions of rhyolite

Check out the events calendar for festivals, markets and shows. The Nimbin Poetry World Cup in September is a battle of wordsmiths in the Nimbin School of Arts Hall, which opened in 1904. The Nimbin Roots Festival, also in September, is three musical days of roots, blues, folk and folk rock.

The rich volcanic soils are ideal for farming. Taste fresh produce at the Nimbin Farmers’ Market, held every Wednesday afternoon. The Nimbin Show in September is a traditional agricultural show, with displays of sustainable farming methods and newer enterprises from beekeeping to industrial hemp.

You’ll find a delicious range of cafes in the small town, where the streetscape on Cullen Street is dotted with timber buildings from the early 20th century. Vivid murals are painted on buildings’ facades and parapets. The Nimbin Hotel is a heritage pub, serving hearty meals and craft beers.

Friends chat at an alfresco cafe on Cullen Street, Nimbin

The murals are one feature of the vibrant arts community. At Nimbin Artists Gallery and Nimbin Craft Gallery browse the fine works by local artists and artisans, from paintings and fashion to ceramics and jewellery. The Nimbin Spring Arts Exhibition is held in the spring school holidays.

For natural beauty, explore 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 gorgeous waterfall, named after a 1979 environmental protest to save the rainforest.

Accommodation options in Nimbin and surrounds range from guesthouses and retreats to cottages, farm houses and youth hostels. Nimbin is about 30 minutes’ drive north of Lismore and 2h 30min south of Brisbane. Nimbin to the stunning sandy beaches of Byron Bay is about a 70 minutes’ drive.

Lismore Regional Airport

Fly into Lismore Regional Airport

Lismore Regional Airport is located 4km from Lismore town’s centre. Use the car rental or taxi services available at the terminal to make the short trip north. Lismore is also a gateway to Byron Bay, less than an hour’s drive northeast. Rent a car from the hire services available at the airport and explore the region at your own pace.

Regional Express operates more than 50 direct flights to and from Sydney weekly. For other major Australian cities, connect via Sydney to travel into Lismore.

Things to Do and Places to Stay

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