Wednesday, 3 March 2010

South of the border: Part 1

On a day that was so hot the semi-melted, sticky tar of the road clung to the coagulated soles of our flip-flops, we made our way down Nimbin’s, well, only real street. Nimbin, which sounds equally whacky said backwards, is a crazy hippy town in northern New South Wales, which definitely deserves a visit if you’re in the Northern Rivers area.

Strolling down the strip is like stepping into the 1970s’ free-loving, bong-tokin’, hazy daisy era. Groovy tie-dyed remnants of the 1972 Aquarius Festival, leftover revellers who never left, still laze around offering weed or mushrooms to passers-by in-between esoteric discussions on Gaia philosophy, I’d imagine. I got involved in a discussion about conspiracy theories with a middle-aged local, as he brushed his grey-streaked and dirty dreadlocks out of his eyes to squint up and ponder aloud at what looked like a chemical trail left by a plane in the pure blue sky. Shops like Happy High Herbs, Bringabong and Daizy, sit snugly next to each other advertising their wares in UV and bright technicolor that wouldn’t be out of place at a Vortex or Alien Safari trance party. Placards and posters shouting counterculture and political slogans like “Rudd = Treason!” adorn the notice boards and walls.

Step into the Nimbin Museum to learn more about the town’s roots, its age-old problem with the police and notable historical events (which all seem to link to the town’s problem with the police). A gold coin donation gets you well-informed, as well as a mind-bending tour through the cobwebbed museum, sidestepping a stalactite forest of spatulas and eggbeaters hanging from the roof, and a variety of brightly painted paraphernalia. Stop to watch reruns of one of numerous police raids on the museum and, if you’re lucky, get offered a toke by one of the resident free-thinkers who man the in-house coffeeshop. 

This is truly a museum like no other, and is probably one of the focal points of the MardiGrass Festival. MardiGrass is an annual protest rally cum celebration of all things cannabis related. It focuses on the legalisation of the herb, as part of the Global Marijuana March, and raises awareness through fantastic events like the Pot Olympix, which includes bong throwing (and yelling) and joint rolling events. Roll in and roll a fat one on the first weekend in May. 

Although the baser elements that come along with loafing and drug-dealing seem to have permeated the bohemian beatnik spirit of Nimbin, with some unsavoury characters staining the otherwise highly eccentric and colourful rural town, the local backpackers and tourism industry seem to give the local economy a vital boost. Thus, support the locals by taking the Nimbin Road out of Lismore, drop by and buy a bag of sensimilla, some hemp products or even just a hacky sack. If so inclined, rack a bong with the locals, tune in and drop out...

Just remember to leave again some time...

8 comments:

  1. Wow. What a trip. In all senses of the word.

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  2. Crazy! This is a great write-up on the place. I'll have to go check it out sometime, thanks for the travel-tip :-)

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  3. Definitely Terri, and the drive there is stunning too.

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  4. Man, I remember going to Nimbin, we thought it was pretty crappy place actually. But we did score some OK weed there...

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  5. Remember you told me yeah. Might drop round for the Pot Olympix later this year just to see who can toss their bong the furthest...

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