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Journeys : October November 2009
Reflections on Nimbin The counter-culture village of Nimbin, is a place that people of a certain age -- possibly yours and mine, dear reader -- should visit, if only once. Those of us lucky enough to have been young through the Age of Aquarius and realistic or dull enough to have since moved on, may not feel much empathy for the shuffling ghosts of that era who still haunt the tow n's footpaths, sprouting sparse grey pony-tails and exchanging small foil-wrapped packets for large sums of money. It can make for an uncomfortable street vibe, which isn't enhanced by the souvenir shops cluttered with plastic Buddhas, hippie oddments and smoking apparatus. But there are highlights. The Nimbin Candle Factory is a dynamic local business, turning out 800,000 hand-made candles of varying shapes, sizes and designs every year. Call in to the old butter factory by the river, meet the enthusiastic, switched-on people and take a free tour. www.nimbincandles.com.au At A Taste of Italy, Peter and Elena Wise ser ve authentic home-style Italian cuisine, following many of the traditional recipes handed dow n Elena's Italian mother. The Aquarius Butcher & Bakery share the same main street location, so you can put together a pretty good picnic of organic sourdough, locally-smoked ham and home-made pickles, with some fresh fr uit and salad vegies from the street stall outside. The butcher, the baker and the candle- maker -- along with the pasta chefs and the organic gardeners -- are people whose energy and creativity still shines brightly. For me, they represent the best of Nimbin. w w w.visitnimbin.com.au Chris Viney was a guest of Northern Rivers Tourism Bangalow A short drive from Byron, the tree-shaded main street of this pretty heritage town is lined with galleries, antique shops, cafes and bistros. Bangalow is one of the few well-preserved heritage villages in New South Wales. Call in for breakfast or brunch at Utopia -- chef Graeme Stockdale reckons it's the most important meal of the day. Everything is sourced or grown locally, or made in-house -- meats, chutneys, free- range eggs, bread, fish, even coffee. w w w.utopiacafe.com.au Nightcap National Park Near Bangalow, a network of gravel tracks spreads out into the rainforest of the Nightcap National Park. Sally Schott and Braden Currie operate Mountain Bike Tours in this region -- they can tailor a jour ney to suit everyone's interest and ability. Minyon Falls is a spectacular destination, with the torrent plummeting 100 metres deep into the valley. w w w.mountainbiketours.com.au Kyogle and surrounds This attractive country tow n is at the heart of a productive r ural district, which slopes up to meet a network of national parks. The most impressive is the Border Ranges Nation al Park to the north of Kyogle -- near the crest, a short walk reaches a dramatic lookout point, with sweeping views to Mt Warning, Wollumbin to the local Bundjalung people. The peak is a remnant of an ancient shield volcano -- the forests and farmlands of the Tweed Valley lie in its enormous caldera. For touring ideas in the region, call in and meet Malcolm Wallis at the Kyogle Visitor Infor mation Centre -- you'll leave with enough travel tips to keep you busy for several days. w w w.visitkyogle.com.au Byron Bay and Ballina Back on the coast, these destinations attract big number of visitors to the region. If you fly in you'll probably land at Ballina -- the laid-back holiday hot-spot of Byron is half an hour's drive north. Either one makes a good destination at the beginning or end of a Rainforest Way journey. For pure indulgence, choose The Byron at Byron, a superlative luxury resort set among coastal rainforest; in Ballina, the stylish and friendly Ramada Ballina overlooks mangroves at the tidal mouth of the Richmond River. w w w.thebyronatbyron.com.au w w w.ramadaballina.com.au Minyon Falls Nightcap National Park Mt Warning/Wollumbin Destinations 19 October / November 09
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