According to legend it was a revolution carried in on a VW Kombi.
Long-haired hippies arrived for the 1973 Aquarius Festival and started a cultural movement that spread across the country.
Those that stayed behind helped transform what has previously been a sleepy dairying community into one of the most diverse, relaxed and welcoming places in the country.
It’s a great story, but according to locals, it is only partly true.
While Nimbin’s Age of Aquarius may have kicked things along a little, they say Lismore and the surrounding region have long had a reputation for embracing diversity and throwing out a big welcome mat for visitors.
It’s the reason why today Lismore is the heart of what’s known as the ‘Rainbow Region”. And whether you come in a Kombi or any other form of transport, you’re guaranteed a getaway experience unlike any other.
A warm climate and beautiful natural environment have inspired and attracted creative and innovative people from all over the world looking for a great lifestyle with a slight alternative edge.
The result is a rich and dynamic mix of arts craft, food and entertainment.
Lismore is the dynamic and creative hub of it all, with a mix of quirky cosmopolitan shops and equally imaginative array of dining options.
The city is surrounded by rolling green hills and rich agricultural land producing an array of fresh organic produce all year round.
Tucked away in the hills are quaint local villages such as Eltham and Clunes, their charming homes and public buildings literally carved out of rainforest by early timber getters and settlers to the area in 1800s.
The most famous of all is Nimbin, 30km north of Lismore, today regarded as Australia’s alternative lifestyle capital.
As you head into Nimbin past the soaring Nimbin Rocks formation, you immediately feel the special and sacred place the area has held in the local Bundjalong Aboriginal culture for thousands of years.
The rocks themselves are regarded as the home of the “Nyimbunji” spirit man who has special powers.
The town of Nimbin is always fascinating with a constantly changing mix of street characters and a surprising array of shops and cafes.
Nimbin is a great starting point to explore some of NSW’s most spectacular tropical rainforest World Heritage areas. These include the Border Ranges National Park and the Nightcap Ranges Park. It was here where where some of the first protests were held in the 1970s to successfully put a stop to the clearing of these majestic tracts of bushland. There are any number of walks to explore depending on your time and ability.
Lismore is also a relaxed and affordable base from which to explore the NSW North Coast and its popular beaches. Busy Byron Bay and the more relaxed Evans Head are an easy 40km drive away.