A true product of the hippie era and the legendary 1973 Aquarius Festival, Nimbin works so hard at being alternative it’s almost mainstream. But not too mainstream. ‘Bra’ is still an abbreviation for brass here even if the tattoos are still red around the edges and the didgeridoo players went to the best Sydney schools. Characters young and old prowl the streets and there are numerous businesses and community centres that attest to the unique culture found locally.
Nimbin is a study in contrasts. At noon when the hordes of bused-in day-trippers from Byron are prowling the streets in gaggles while being hectored by pot dealers it can all seem literally like a bad trip. (This scene took a hit in 2008 when a huge force of heavily armed state police made mass arrests of pot dealers.)
At other times when the true locals are dominant, you get a sense of the real Nimbin, where anyone searching for a real rainbow might just find it.