The Aquarius Festival of 1973 revived a dying dairy village first settled by Europeans in the 1840s. The new settlers of the 1970s, the hippies, set up environmentally friendly businesses, cottage arts and crafts and introduced alternative living, including communes. Communes were founded and granted their own title in law, Multiple Occupancy, which was a first in New South Wales.
Today, Nimbin is a centre of alternative lifestyle and culture, and is a sister city to Woodstock, USA, and Freetown Christiania, Denmark. The village is very much open for tourism, especially eco-tourism, and has some shops and cafes that play off the alternative, hippie image.
A large fire ripped through the town in August 2014, destroying the museum and several notable businesses, including 'Bringabong' and the Rainbow Cafe. Bringabong has now since reopened at the former Bush Theatre, with a new cafe known as the 'Phoenix Rising' alongside .
Many tourists think that Nimbin is more about selling marijuana than exploring alternative lifestyles. You are unlikely to get hassled much though. If you look like you might be in the market, you will get an offer, and if you refuse, you will politely be left alone.
Nimbin is accessible via the Nimbin Road from Lismore or Kyogle Road and Blue Knob Road from Murwillumbah. It is a popular day trip from Byron Bay.
Walk, the environment and atmosphere is best spent walking. Nimbin is not a large community and therefore any other transport is unnecessary.
Alternative lifestyle shops and cafés.
Many of Nimbin's houses have fronts that are painted in a lot of different colours and show imaginative subjects.
There are many small shops along the main street where all kinds of things are sold, such as jewelry, tea, healing stones, clothing etc.
Farm accommodation, backpackers retreats and bed & breakfast.
There are several backpackers in Nimbin.
Cannabis is openly sold and is socially acceptable - even encouraged - in Nimbin, however it is illegal under New South Wales law - you may be subject to penalties if caught by authorities with possession of or public consumption of cannabis. It is not unknown to encounter roadside patrols on traffic routes out of Nimbin. You may be pulled over by police, and it is easy to purchase enough cannabis in Nimbin to get you into trouble if you are caught. You can also be tested at the roadside for driving under the influence of cannabis.
The nature of the town means that it isn't as innocent as many other New South Wales country towns of its size. Tourists have been the victims of assaults in Nimbin. Take care on the alley behind the former Museum (Mingle Park).
If you attend the annual "Mardi Grass" festival, there will likely be a high police presence, including lots of drug and alcohol tests on the roads.
The Secret Swimming Hole is a natural rock pool, surrounded by rainforest and featuring a waterfall, located on the way from Nimbin to Byron Bay.