The Nimbin Experience

Trip Start Nov 29, 2005
Trip End Nov 21, 2006

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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

You know that stupid cliche about the nights you'll never remember with the friends you'll never forget? Well, the place where you're least likely to remember your day is Nimbin. A couple hours from Byron Bay, Nimbin isn't as many people think the one place in Australia where marijuana has been decriminalized. It's just that people tend to look the other way there more than anywhere else. The whole town is literally one block long, yet you'll be offered weed more times on that one-block lap than you will if you walked anywhere else for 10 hours. For one thing, it has a one-to-one ratio of alcohol bars to hash bars. Even though I'm not excactly a pothead I heard it's a place that needs to be seen to be believed.

Since I went on a Sunday, the town was putting on its weekly markets. Basically the markets are a few stands of dread-locked people selling mainly hippie dresses and assorted jewelery and maybe a few book stands. I don't have to tell you what the general theme of the literature was. There were a few food stands as well, and put simply, Nimbin is a carnivore's hell.

The town also has a museum, which is probably the most unique one I'll ever encounter. By museum, I really mean a bunch of rooms with a lot of shit thrown together. There's no rhyme or reason to anything that's going on in the place. The walls are coated with newspaper clippings and lewd drawings that stoned-out hippies have made throughout the years. There's also a handful of old ladies walking around selling cookies and cakes. For those a little slow on the uptake, they're not trying to raise money for girl scouts. Since I knew it would be my only trip to Nimbin, I decided to take the plunge and get a cookie. And oh boy, let me tell you something about the rest of the day. ... I remember everything crystal clear. The cookie itself wasn't so bad (which might've been part of the problem) but for $5 I wanted a little more than a tasty treat.

The rest of the town consists of a series of shops, mostly selling stuff that has something to do with weed, Buddha and maybe Buddha smoking weed. Every storefront has a psychedelic painting over the entrance, even the on-the-level cafes and restaurants. The herbal shop is probably the most entertaining place to stop in, simply to read what various symptoms they treat and what sort of high they deliver. If you want to giggle like a schoolgirl there's a herb for you. If you want to sit around and say "Dooooooooode" for three hours there's a herb for you. If you want to feel like the whole room is closing in on you and you'll be in a state of neurotic paranoia for the rest of your life, well probably all the herbs are for you. They don't sell it that way though.

The tour I did included several other stops after Nimbin, and those places were maybe even better than the main attraction. The first stop was at Minion Falls, a secluded watering hole in between Nimbin and Byron. Not only is it a nice, serene spot with water at a perfect temperature, it also sports a waterfall that's about 20 feet high that you can jump off. It looked kinda sorta high from the water, but when I was actually up there and realized that to clear the rock ledge I had to run, step out and then jump, well it was looking about as high as my 43-meter bungy from a couple years back.

Afterward we had a barbecue at Rocky Creek Dam (the reason why I chose the tour over the more trippy Jim's Tours. There's nothing more attractive to a backpacker than the promise of free food). The Dam itself was a nice spot with great views of the winding river that it dams and includes a bushwalk through a rainforest.

As an added bonus to it all we got a free meal voucher to a night club in Byron called Cheeky Monkey's, a place where after 10, everybody gets really drunk and dances on the tables. Last night I learned that my magic number is 13 for how many drinks it takes to get me to do that as well. I'm discovering so much about myself on this trip.

Sadly, this is my last day in Byron and I now have less than a week on my East Coast swing before shooting down south to Tasmania. It appears that for now, my attempts at getting tanned will be in vain. All for now.

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