Day Eleven: Byron Bay to Nimbin to Murwillumbah
We only had a short distance to cover today, so we took our time with breakfast and packing. Despite the car wash, the bikes still needed a good wipe down of all the dried on dirt. After a quick stop for more bungee cords, gas, and air, we were off cruising through the rolling green hills and farmland with small mountains accenting the landscape. I could tell my confidence and skill on the bike had improved since I was actually keeping up with Byron and enjoying leaning into the curves.
Soon we were rolling into our first stop of the day, Nimbin. The town was a critical hippie hub in the 1970s, hosting the 1973 Aquarius Festival, and the vibe hasn’t changed. Brightly painted shops line the Main Street with names like BringaBong and Hempin Around selling tie dye clothes, incense, all kinds of smoking paraphernalia and the occasional slice of Fairy Bread or brownie. The locals lining the sidewalks were festively dressed in colorful shirts and overalls, long flowing dresses, and dreadlocks— straight out of 70s. The town used to have a Hemp Museum, but it burned down a few years ago and the tours coming here have decreased, leading to a slow decline for the towns popularity. It’s also had a big problem with locals using harder drugs like meth, adding to the number of homeless and crime in the area. Byron and I were brainstorming how it could be brought back to life and I thought having the locals teach classes and workshops would be great—like hemp weaving, tie dying, or aromatherapy. We kept cruising along the winding road through the forests and farms and Rocky Mountain peaks until we reached our destination for the night, Murwillumbah.
We were greeted by Tassie, the owner of Murwillumbah YHA for over 37 years. He was a friendly old man with a passion for backpackers and a desire to do whatever he can to help them on their journey. Immediately, he wanted to see our bikes and tell tales of his own bike trip around Europe, and offered for us to roll the bikes into the courtyard overnight. The hostel didn’t look like it had changed over those 37 years but it was a quaint old house positioned right on the Tweed River with views of Mount Warning from the back porch. There were little handwritten signs from Tassie with helpful tips and ideas for activities posted along the clashing colored walls.
For the rest of the afternoon, we learned how to change a motorcycle fuse, walked through town on a quest for a luggage rack screw, and cooked our loose interpretation of tacos in the hostel kitchen. There were only six people total staying at the hostel, so Tassie served us all ice cream and told stories. There was a live band performing at the bar across the river, so Byron and I danced on the porch outside until bed.
April 27, 2018
Accommodation: Murwillumbah YHA, $23
Food and Drink: $14
Jewelry from Nimbin: $5
Bungee cords: $4
Distance Covered: 115km