Road Trip to the Land of the Hippies

Byron Bay

Ajitha and I rented a car and went on a road trip for a day. This is the first road trip I have been on in Australia and I suppose it doesn’t really qualify for a road trip seeing it was only for a day, but it was still quite the adventure.

We headed to Byron Bay which is an hour south of the Gold Coast. It was pretty easy getting there because the Pacific highway takes you straight there. Byron Bay is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in Australia. It’s on the east coast and is a very relaxed town where many people go to surf as well as hike through the rain forests. The coast stretches out with beautiful sandy beaches and right behind them are green, lush rainforests. It’s a magnificent sight!! The Cape Byron lighthouse is also the strongest lighthouse in Australia; it possesses the strongest light and is part of history since it’s been there since the early 1900’s from when Cape Byron used to be a port.

Cape Byron lighthouse

We hiked up to the lighthouse and then continued to the most easternly point in Australia which was awesome. The view is breathtaking and the weather was beautiful! But as soon as we came back down towards the town, it began to rain quite heavily, so we had lunch and decided to take off towards Nimbin.

We had thought that getting to Nimbin would be pretty easy. Most people that have gone to Byron Bay always go to Nimbin on the way so it’s easy to see why we thought that, but we were wrong. It turned out that going straight from Byron Bay to Nimbin was impossible since there laid parks along the way. The only route was to head south through Bangalow and then towards Lismore which are both small towns before taking the turn north which led to Nimbin. In total it would take about 2 hours the locals told us. We left at about 4pm and forgot that it was winter and so the sun sets early. By the time we passed through Lismore we realized that we were in deep shit, the sun was setting and we didn’t have a map. All we could go by were the directions that various people had given us as we kept asking for them. But we had faith in ourselves. Just because we’re two chicks with little direction in this part of the country didn’t freak us out. But driving on narrow, windy, hilly roads with no lights or signs kinda did freak us out!
The drive seemed to take FOREVER!! Ajitha and I were both dead quiet the entire time; we were both afraid that if we spoke we might distract each other and miss a sign, if any were even there. As we passed by Nimbin rocks the mist got heavier and it looked like a horror movie which wasn’t helpful. Perhaps we over-reacted but at that moment in time, we wanted nothing but to be back at home, where there was light and people.

driving towards Nimbin as the sun was setting

I suppose watching Wolf Creek a few days before didn’t help the cause either.
We eventually did make it to Nimbin by 6pm, hoping that most of everything wasn’t closed because civilization seems to shut down usually around 5pm in this country.
The small town center was seriously tiny! It consisted of a museum and a few shops, and most of them were herb shops, and I don’t mean the type of herbs you put in your cooking!
We roamed around what was left open and went to Bringabong (how creative!) where I bought a pipe and the dude was selling pot for $75!! He was also selling cookies which we couldn’t turn down because we had never tried them before. The dude also told us about how they can sell pot and get away with it in Nimbin and I then understood why the town was so isolated. Many of the residents live a free hippie lifestyle where they reside in tents or caravan type homes out in the wilderness. They only come by town when they need necessities and then return back into the forest. It’s a beautiful way to live and this town was the hideout for those who desired this type of lifestyle. The police also couldn’t enforce thier laws on these residents since what they did was done among thier own surroundings, wherever that may be. They also celebrated Mardi Grass in May every year.. too bad I missed it!! We then went into a hemp bar which I have never come across before. Once we went in I realized it was the same thing as a bar, but with pot which is to replace the alcohol. Everyone was stoned in there and super friendly and they sold super cheap pot! Plus I think this is the only place in Australia that never closes!!!

Our drive home wasn’t as bad I suppose because once we hit Mudrejeebah, it was straight back on the highway.. but with no lights of course. We were never so thankful to be home, but I was also glad we did make it out to Nimbin. I want to go back though during the day; I imagine it would be very beautiful especially with the Nimbin Rocks which is sacred to the Aborginees here. But we had gotten what we have ventured out there for and made it out alive.


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