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New South Wales
Nimbin Rocks and Nimbin Valley mist in the Northern Rivers of NSW Australia.jpg
The Nimbin Valley and Nimbin Rocks in the Northern Rivers of NSW (aerial shot)
Nimbin is located in New South Wales
Location in New South Wales
Population 1,477 (2016)
Postcode(s) 2480
Elevation 65 m (213 ft)
LGA(s) City of Lismore
State electorate(s) Lismore
Federal Division(s) Page

Nimbin is a village in the Northern Rivers area of the Australian state of New South Wales, approximately 30 km (19 mi) north of Lismore, 33 km (21 mi) northeast of Kyogle, and 70 km (43 mi) west of Byron Bay.

Nimbin is notable for the prominence of its environmental initiatives such as permaculture, sustainability, and self-sufficiency.

Nimbin has been described in literature and mainstream media as'a social experiment', and 'an escapist sub-culture'. Nimbin has become an icon in Australian cultural history, with many of the values first introduced there by the counterculture becoming part of modern Australian culture.


Nimbin and surrounding areas are part of what is known as the "Rainbow Region", which is of cultural importance to the Indigenous Bundjalung people. The name Nimbin comes from the local Whiyabul (Widgibal) clan whose Dreamtime speaks of the Nimbinjee spirit people protecting the area. In recent decades, since 1973, the area has become a haven for Australia's counterculture.

Forests of Red Cedar first attracted loggers to the area in the 1840s, but by the end of the century most of the land had been cleared. With the Cedar forests gone, Nimbin was subdivided in 1903 with the land turned over to dairy farming and growing bananas. In the 1960s, the local dairy industry collapsed due to recession and Nimbin went into serious economic decline until 1973, when the Aquarius Festival, a large gathering of university students, practitioners of alternative lifestyles, 'hippies' and party people, was held in the village. The Festival was the first event in Australia that sought permission for the use of land from the Traditional Owners and a significant attempt at reconciliation. After the festival hundreds of participants and festival goers remained in Nimbin to form communes and other multiple occupancy communities, in search of an "alternative lifestyle". Nimbin in fact made legal history for the first ever application of group title ownership of land in Australia. Since the Aquarius Festival, the region has attracted thousands of writers, artists, musicians, actors, environmentalists and permaculture enthusiasts, as well as tourists and young families escaping city life.

In 1979, the Nimbin community staged the "Battle for Terania Creek" to protect the remaining local rainforest. As a result, the New South Wales government imposed a "no rainforest logging" policy covering the entire state, the world’s first government legislation to protect rainforest.

The population of Nimbin before the failure of the dairy industry in 1961 was 6,020. At the 2006 census Nimbin had a population of 352, compared to 321 at the 2001 census. The region's high rural population (35 percent of Lismore residents according to the census) means Nimbin services a surrounding rural area of about ten thousand people living within 15 km (9.3 mi). Nimbin had the highest unemployment rate in the Lismore Local Government Area in 2006, 18.1 percent. Nimbin's population at the 2011 census was 468.

Accommodation and attractions

Nimbin Mardigrass 2008

A wide variety of accommodation is available for visitors, from camping grounds and backpacker hostels, to bush cabins and hotels.

Nimbin has a police station, hospital and medical centre, lawyers, real estate agency, service station with NRMA accreditation, restaurants, cafes and pub. The pub has an in-house restaurant. There are a number of sporting clubs and the Bowling Club maintains licensed premises. The Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre (NNIC) run by local volunteer residents offers visitors guides, computers for Internet use, a small Centrelink office, legal advice, nurse practitioner, welfare worker, weekly soup kitchen in the adjacent park, and publishing service for the local newspaper. Local entertainments include the town hall, once a year Madigrass, markets, bands, walks to the mountains, and day-to-day activities from buskers to street stalls.

Other nearby attractions:

  • Nimbin Rocks, a series of jagged outcrops, solidified plugs left after the erosion of volcanic dykes and vents and Blue Knob that are both landmarks for the village.
  • Mt Warning (known as Wollumbin to the Bundjalung people) is close by, the summit of which is the first point of mainland Australia to see the sunrise. The summit of Mt. Warning can be climbed via an 8 km track through forested slopes. Mount Warning is the solid plug at the centre of a caldera containing the Tweed River, where, millions of years ago, a volcano once stood. Nimbin lies on the edge of that ancient volcano.
  • Nightcap National Park is one of the few remaining places to see the remnants of the Big Scrub rainforest.
  • There are local creeks, waterholes and rivers for swimming.


Nimbin is 35 km (22 mi) from Lismore Airport, with flights several times daily to Sydney.

Northern River Buslines operates multiple services per weekday on route 650 to Lismore.

Gosel's Bus Service operates two services per weekday on route 630 to Murwillumbah, with a connection to Tweed Heads.

There is also a school bus service available for the general public on school days to Kyogle.


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