The unhappiest hippie town in Australia

It's the sort of place you must visit said our hosts - its the unhappiest hippie town in Australia.

We were leaving our overnight accommodation at Silk Pavilions at Mount Burrell located almost in the shadow of Mount Warning in the Tweed Valley for the second day of our New Year's Eve motor bike ride. Yes, my alter ego is a bad-arsed biker pillion passenger on K2's BMW K120GT.

We headed off for a coffee at Nimbin with our American friends and fellow bikers, John and Nancy, through the wildly scenic valley, almost iridescent in its greenness, past fields packed with cows and their calves, mares and foals and the odd goat.

Surprisingly for New Years Day when most country towns are still asleep, Nimbin was buzzing with locals and visitors in the main street.  Some of the inhabitants were worse for wear including a spaced out woman who asked us "Are you smokin' today?", offering three different illegal substances in less than 10 minutes.

We settled for a coffee and sat down to watch the passing parade of hangovers. It was a sad collection of deeply lined and drawn faces. Living in Nimbin does not seem to be good for your health.

Despite the plethora of tacky tourist t-shirts and stickers, of which I bought several, there's little welcome in the town with most locals suspicious of strangers. I suspect they are worried about undercover cops.

Nimbin started as Australia's home-grown haven for alternative subculture, growing from communes that sprouted in the hills in the 1970s and 1980s.  They flouted flouted most of the rules of contemporary Australia and although the hippies are now well past their prime, the place still reeks of non-conformity.  It's interesting and well worth a look but don't go to judge.

I think the signs say it all in Nimbin.