Nimbin is by far one of the most interesting and unique places we visited during our time in Australia. Before embarking on our east coast road trip from Sydney to Cairns I had never even heard of this tiny hippy town. It wasn’t until doing my research on Byron Bay that I discovered this village and knew I had to visit. This post is all about things to do in Nimbin and why you should definitely take time to visit this village in the hills. If you thought that Byron Bay was the hippie capital of Australia then you’re sadly mistaken, Nimbin without a doubt takes that title!
The Story of Nimbin
Before I dive into things to do in Nimbin let me tell you a little about the village and its history. You can find Nimbin nestled into the Rainbow Region hinterland just 43 kilometres west/inland of Byron Bay. If you are visiting Byron then I definitely recommend leaving an afternoon spare to visit Nimbin. In the past, Nimbin was attracted to loggers for the rich forests that surrounded the area. Those forests were quickly cleared back in the 1800s and the region was then used by dairy farmers but with the recession, the number of people living in Nimbin was falling. It wasn’t until Nimbin was chosen as the destination for a festival when things started changing for this small region.
Aquarius Festival 1973
In 1973 the Aquarius Festival would be the ‘party’ that would be the beginning of a great revolution in Nimbin. The festival attracted those interested in an alternative lifestyle, counter-culture some may refer to the people are ‘hippies’. The festival brought those passionate about the arts, music and perhaps most importantly sustainability to the area. Once the festival was over many decided to stay in Nimbin and create communes. And there begins to story of Nimbin.
Over the years Nimbin has become one of the most famous villages in Australia. It’s done great things in terms of sustainability. In 1979 the community fought against logging in the nearby rainforest and in turn managed to save it as a ‘no logging’ legislation was introduced. Nimbin has since been the home to those seeking an alternative lifestyle, is the self-proclaimed drug capital of Australia and holds a heavy sense of community.
Things to Do in Nimbin Australia
So, what exactly can you get up too in Nimbin? Well, the most exciting part about the village is honestly just observing what’s going on around you. I found the culture and vibrancy of Nimbin astounding. It’s probably one of the most colourful places I’ve visited in so long. We have a good habit of making buildings so ‘aesthetic’ these days. Lot’s of white and fewer colours fill our billboards and store signs. The streets and people of Nimbin are colourful and vibrant. These days Nimbin may be a little different to how it once was but not that much different. There is a heavy sense of love, community and still a lot of cannabis.
> Related: Things to Do in Byron Bay This Year <
The Best Things to Do in Nimbin Australia
- Simply Explore the Main Street – Nimbin isn’t very big so you can explore the village is just a few hours. I think only spent three hours in total in the village. Walk along the main strip and find plenty of souvenir shops, the dye sellers. And a lot of people offering you cannabis cookies.
- Nimbin Candle Factory – Take a look inside the Nimbin Candle Factory! The factory is located just outside of the village but certainly worth a visit. Pick up some unique smelling and looking candles whilst watching how they are made! Nimbin is actually a haven for picking up gifts!
- Visit the Hemp Embassy– The Hemp Embassy was first established in Nimbin in 1992 as a non-profit organisation to help reintegrate cannabis into peoples lives and still runs today. They organise the yearly MardiGrass event in Nimbin as well as running a shop.
- Clothes Shopping – Nimbin is tie-dye heaven so if you love wearing bright colours then this could be one of the best things to do in Nimbin for you! There are a variety of shops from upmarket boutiques to a cheaper alternative too. You’re bound to find something that you like. They also have the cutest children’s clothes!
- Nimbin Rocks – Nimbin doesn’t just have the village to visit either! Nimbin is located in the hills and surrounded by unique and beautiful landscape including the Nimbin Rocks! The rocks formed after a volcano eruption millions of years ago. Though these rocks can only be seen from the world they add such character to the area.
- Enjoy the Cafe Culture – Nimbin wouldn’t be an Australian village if it didn’t have its own cafe culture and you’ll find plenty of cafes. Full of culture in Nimbin enjoy a coffee whilst exploring to help out the local businesses who have made such an impact on the sustainability of the area over the years.
> Related: Best Cafes in Byron Bay <
- World Heritage List Sites – Another popular thing to do in Nimbin is to explore the nature that surrounds the village. Nimbin is built around an array of world heritage sites offering beautiful areas for bushwalking and waterfall chasing. The national [arks sat close by are, Border Ranges National Park, Bundjalong National Park, Mebbin National Park, Nightcap National Park and Wollumbin National Park. The parks are unique to themselves so just click on the park for more information but getting out into nature is a great idea if you have more time to spend in the Rainbow Region!
- Visit the Markets – Markets are held in Nimbin on the fourth and fifth Sunday of every month so they’ll definitely be worth checking out if you happen to be in the area on those weekends!
Is Cannabis Legal in Nimbin?
The question on everyone’s lips right? Well no, Cannabis is not legal in Nimbin but over the years there seems to have been a little bit of a blind eye turned towards Nimbin. In fact, there is actually a police station in the village! What I do know is that there have been more crackdowns when it comes to the police and use of Cannabis in Nimbin. But if. You do visit you will no doubt about it be asked if you’d like to buy some ‘cookies’.
How to Get to Nimbin
You can easily drive from Byron Bay to Nimbin and I must say the drive is beautiful! The drive is just under kilometres from Byron taking just over an hour. Like I said before you don’t really need that much time to explore what Nimbin has to offer. I wouldn’t recommend trying to get public transport up to Nimbin as it could take you up to three hours!
Shuttle Bus – There is a shuttle bus that runs daily from Byron Bay but it is costly at $20 ONE WAY per person.
A better deal if you don’t have the luxury of your own vehicle might be an organised tour from Byron Bay up to Nimbin! Some of the popular tours with great reviews are:
- The Happy Coach – A day tour from Byron Bay up to Nimbin and the surrounding hinterland including waterfalls! Includes Lunch.
- Grasshopper Tours – Similar to The Happy Coach a day out in Nimbin and the landscape!
Where to Stay in Nimbin
Personally, I wouldn’t opt to stay in Nimbin. You only need a short period of time to explore the area and the bigger areas of Lismore and Byron Bay have much more to explore so it makes sense to stay there! Most people visiting Nimbin will stay in Byron Bay but if your looking for a cheaper accommodation option then Lismore may be cheaper as its less popular than Byron Bay and away from the coast a little.
The cost of accommodation varies in Byron Bay depending on the time of year. In high seasons they tend to hike up the prices because of its such a popular traveller destination. That said you can definitely find a room to fit your budget in Byron. There are a range of hostels offering dorm rooms and then heaps of more luxury hotels/villas if that’s what you’re looking for!
Accommodation Recommendations in Byron Bay
Our find time in Byron Bay we stayed at Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park in Suffolk which I highly recommend – it’s right on the Tallow Beach and probably one of the cheapest options for powered sites in Byron as it’s slightly out the way!
Lodge at Discovery Park Byron – The second and third time we visited we stayed at Discovery Park which is in a great location. The sites are more expensive so try to stay unpowered but the lodges are beautiful. We stayed in a lodge during low seasons o actually got quite a good deal!
Sharing is Caring!
Either way, it’s quite easy to reach this Nimbin to enjoy all the great things to do in Nimbin. You can easily visit Nimbin on a budget especially if you’re driving – you really don’t have to spend any money at all because just wondering the streets is an experience in itself. You’ll be greeted by colourful houses and shops giving the town a very. Happy vibe promoting peace and love.
I hope you enjoyed this post on things to do in Nimbin Australia. It may only be a small village but it’s certainly interesting, to say the least! If you did enjoy this post then I would be so grateful if you could share it with your friends!