The Hippy Trail: Bellingen to Nimbin
Arriving in Bellingen, thanks to a nice easy bus ride (had a break from hitch-hiking for the day) we walked to our next hostel. No, we weren't breaking entirely from our cheap ways and getting a dorm, we were staying in 'The Palace' again (our tent). The YHA in Bello (the only hostel in town) had a small selection of gravel camp spots, on a sloped hill overhanging with trees, looking down to a river.
A beautifully shaded site with a canopy over-top, I was initially dubious thanks to an eight-legged dude perching on a post in the entrance-way to our plot.
The hostel itself was comfortable, sociable and clean, which is always a blessing when your only base is your tent. An eclectic mix of older and younger people made up the other guests, and yet again they had a hostel cat, spending its days languishing beside you on the sofa, occasionally placing its bum on your lap whilst you have your laptop on it... classic cat antics.
We had a relaxing few days in the heat, visiting Dorrigo National Park, a rainforest with waterfalls and beautiful views all the way back out the New South Wales coast-line.
Then, the rain came. The rain has followed us for the last two weeks, flooding our tent in Port Stephens (read about it here), and now making us all wet and cold again. Taran likes the rain, and of course I do too, from the comfort of a bed, under a blanket, with a hot chocolate... But it did make for some mystical views of the rolling green hills outside the hostel veranda.
After 4 days it was time to head to Nimbin. Word of the Mardi-Grass festival in the hippy-town Nimbin had reached our ears and our friend Spartacus (fellow Englishman, now expat, adorable 3-year old son called Apollo) offered us a free ride in the back of his camper. So we figured we could move forward on our planned route and take a little detour to the place where people openly smoke pot in the streets. And guess what, it isn't a lawless pit of hell!
Still raining, barely letting up for a second, we embarked on the road to Nimbin, relaxing in the back of the van. A while into the journey we got sent on a detour, off down a narrow road much like an english country-lane.
Bombing along bumpily, we drove past what we first thought was a cat, but no, this is Australia guys, so it wasn't a humble kitty, it was a baby koala!! Sitting alone in the pouring rain, either accidentally separated from it's Mumma, or wounded. Spart ran over to it, bundling it in his jacket. I then cradled the little thing all the way to the next town, in absolute awe and love with this tiny, docile little creature. We thought maybe we'd see a koala in a zoo, they spend most their time high up trees out of sight, but this was the kind of closeness we could never have imagined having. Spart has been in Oz several times in the last 13 years and has never seen one!
The little guy/girl sat comfortably in my arms, as we made our way along wet and windy roads. He made some small winny-noises and only showed minor aggression when we unravelled him from his warm cocoon of blankets to hand him over to someone in town who could help him out. But it was impossible to be scared of him, despite his long nails and sharp-looking teeth. We all surrounded it for more photos and just to marvel at it up-close, as it then fell dozed off a bit in Tarans arms.
Nimbin was still wet, and we had the task of setting up The Palace in amidst the mud and already sodden ground. Once set up we spent the evening trying to dry indoors the hut where the kitchen and lounge were. This camp-site was make-shift to say the least, the most basic and ramshackle of any place we had yet stayed.
The next day it was time to immerse ourselves in the self-professed hippy town of Nimbin, with its one short street of hippy-shops. But this town was geared up for its annual pot-fest, and we had quite a lot of interesting stuff still to experience on our little hippy-trail....
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!