16th – 17th July 2012
Still reeling from the gorgeous views surrounding Byron Bay from its very own lighthouse, Smera and I decided to stay in Byron Bay for the night at one of its funky and quirky hostels. We still slept in the campervan and only paid just enough to use its facilities such as cooking, when we managed to cook real proper food! And also hot showers! It was very cold that night.
It was also out first time since we left Cairns that we met other backpackers and we were sorely disappointed. One half would moan about not finding work even though they partied the night before and slept in til 2pm only to browse half heartedly online for jobs, and the other half would offer you weed to smoke on. It was starting to become a common theme of backpackers in Australia. I actually don’t like them. Such a stark difference between the backpackers in SE Asia, where everyone was really genuine, interesting and so friendly compared to that in Australia. Expect a post on that soon.
Checking out the next day, I particularly wanted to see Nimbin, not too far away from Byron Bay and see what it’s like especially hearing from backpackers in SE Asia about this town. It’s the hippy place to be in Australia.
It also has a lot of people gravitating there and even wanting to hitch-hike there to fill up their ‘stash.’ As we drove there, we passed by so many hippy people sticking their thumb out. We didn’t stop. Why? Because…well….they looked so weird and probably has an axe behind their back with their hand thumbing out. We did see them later in Nimbin but I swear one of them had blood on his hands…
I heard about Nimbin a lot, it’s a place where weed is openly used and Bob Marley idolised as their saviour. So you can expect how reggae the place is. Smera didn’t know all that and it was so funny to watch her reactions to everything.
Within seconds of stepping out the campervan, I was offered a load of cannabis. Welcome to Nimbin. I politely declined.
Checking out some of the shops that sold hemp goods and with a smell of weed in the air permeating all our clothes, we felt out of place with our jeans and t-shirts and everyone was braided up in their hemp baggy clothes that looked like it hadn’t been washed for months. Smera turned up her nose.
The local tourist information office is very useful, run by an excited and over eager man who is willing to tell you the most amazingness places to go and also to stay. I said to Smers that I wasn’t planning on staying in Nimbin…the relief rushed in her face. She thought I wanted to stay here! Erm..no..I don’t want a crazed weed high Rastafarian breaking into our campervan at night…that’s already happened….but that’s another story.
Breathing in, we checked out the weed local museum. It was full of psychedelic material, a campervan welded to the wall and plenty of messages that could strike a chord with everyone.
The last room of the house, you could buy some special cakes…special. As drivers, we said no.
Later on, after a bite of pie from the local bakery with Smera convinced that weed has been mixed in, we drove to the Nimbin Candle Factory. This is absolutely a place you have to visit. The different variations of candles are so interesting and there’s even 1 second candles and that was out of stock! Who buys these?!
You can also get the chance to make your own candles in whatever shape or form. We saw others’ on display and I shouldn’t be surprised that many were phallic shaped considering how ‘free sex’ is displayed around Nimbin!
Smera bought some candles, not the phallic ones much to my disappointment as it would have been a source of much teasing but rather some tasteful looking ones. I didn’t buy any as I only like tealights to put round my bath…to go with the manly boat I have bobbing in the water.
So we left Nimbin! It was right to say that you definitely wouldn’t want to stay here but you do feel a bit naughty after a few hours and feel compelled to leave before a police raid happens that occurs time to time.
From there, we took the long winding country roads inland through Mount Warning National Park. It was at this point that Smera and I felt truly travelled out. We were waterfalled out. Beached out. National Parked out. Such stunning views around us as we were driving but our eyes were focused solely on the road ahead thinking what to do in our travel plans. We were bored with the campervan experience now..particularly in this ever changing weather. Just as well we had one full day left ahead of us.
Where to go? Back to Brisbane it was but first, we were to call upon a friend of Smera’s who lives in Ipswich…half an hour away from ‘BrisVegas’ and find somewhere to spend the night there.
Brisbane, here we come!