Rainbow Nimbin Haze

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Of course we didn’t get very far on the first day. We left the Princess Highway behind and soon got lost-ish on some forest trails. Having found our way out, we headed straight back in…. the map promised a free camp site.

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But free also meant popular and we didn’t get much sleep. A large group of biologists kept fetching and then discussing all sorts of creepy crawlies all through the night. And in the morning we got woken by a bunch of motocross riders zooming past. It was tempting to join them, but it was just too early and I hadn’t had my coffee yet.

No matter though as we took the scenic way out: thirty-odd kilometres of twisty forest trail fun.

Back on the tarmac heaps of leather-clad bikers were cruising past. As we reached town, we found out why: As massive hot rod show filled the town centre so we stopped to have a nosey.

On the way back a couple were wandering around our bikes. They, too, were motorcycle travelers and we got chatting. They laughed at us heading to fabled Nimbin saying it was nothing like it it used to be in its 70’s heyday. But a bunch of Germans we’d met in India had highly recommended it and since we had hear all sorts of stories. So we wanted to check it out for ourselves.

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That night we reached the awesome Treachery Camp at Seal Rocks on the coast. Te site is actually a little inland, down a gravel track. And it is stunning! The camping spots are dotted around sand or grassy areas in a bushy forest so you get lots of privacy. Turkey-like birds and jackals roam around. And it’s a walk across the dunes to the beach.

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Sadly it had started raining and we got totally drenched putting up tent and tarp, discovering the latter had several holes creating a pretty water feature in our temporary kitchen.

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We had giant ants and scorpions for company. The latter are a little camera shy though.

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After dinner the rain eased up so we grabbed our bottle of wine and bag of sweeties and headed down the secret path behind our camp site into the dunes.

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The sea was rough and the wind blew salty mist inland. No weather for swimming but still a stunning beach and we had it all to ourselves.

It was tempting to stay the next day and spend it playing on the beach. But we woke up to pissing rain and decided to head off. Throughout the day the clouds cleared and towards evening we had glorious sunshine. Aidan found a pretty spot in the sand by the lakeside to pitch the tent and we decided to celebrate the summery sunshine with beach cocktails of rum, coconut and pineapple juice 🙂

From this spot it wasn’t too far to Nimbin and we reached it some time in the afternoon. For some time now little details had been announcing the close proximity of a hippie lifestyle. The roads were painted in places and people had drawn colourful flowers around the potholes. Little hearts and peace signs decorated tree trunks and fence posts here and there and some hung from the power lines over the road.

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After some driving around and checking out the options we decided to stay at Granny’s farm, which offers rooms or a spot by the river to camp. It has a majestic tree by the gate that has lots of other plants growing on it. There are little mushrooms here and there, some real, some solar lamps. Chickens and ducks roam around and a line of tree stumps is painted pretty colours. There is a common room with TV and a terrace with pool table. A badminton net is waiting to be used and a fire pit in the camp grounds is set up for long summer nights.

All settled in, freshly showered and the laundry hung up, we bumbled into town after dinner. It was a Tuesday night and the town presented the darker sides of Nimbin. Way back when the Aquarius festival made Nimbin a famous place of cannabis culture and an alternative lifestyle. Many hippies stayed and the place became a popular backpacker destination. At some point it even sported the Cannabis Museum.

Since then the glory has faded somewhat and sadly many people have become addicted to harder drugs, often financing this by selling weed to tourists. So at night there are a lot of eccentric sorry looking lost souls lingering in the streets and the one open cafe. Even the pub feels unpleasant. So we headed back to the tent.

The next day greeted us with sunshine and I set about catching up with the blog and diary and dyeing my hair pink while Aidan relaxed, reading his book. At some point one of the longtermers and the farm sold us a couple of yummie brownies. In the afternoon we headed into town armed with lots of tips of what’s good and which places not to miss.

Nimbin presented its much happier sunny side. Everything is painted in bright colours and the shops sell anything the hippie soul could desire from clothes and cloths to piercings, hair dye, organic cotton this and that and heaps of pretty dust catchers. There are cafes and restaurants everywhere and lots of colourfully crazy looking characters wander about.

The hemp emporium, a shop crammed full of odd stuff in no particular order exhibits many of the old parade banners, costumes and decorations and you can spend hours losing yourself in the madness.

We bumbled the streets and immersed ourselves in the dreamy rainbow haze that is Nimbin. Somehow the bonfire we had planned never happened.

It is easy to stay in Nimbin for weeks doing nothing much but hang out with the others there and pursue creative impulses. But sadly our budget didn’t allow it, so the next day we packed up and almost made the check-out time of 10am.

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