If you’re driving through the Rainbow Region of New South Wales, you might happen upon the self proclaimed Biggest Little Town in Australia. I think it’s moniker should be Little Town Big Spirit. Welcome to Mullumbimby NSW.
The Rainbow Region.
The Rainbow district starts to the west in the town of Nimbin and wafts it’s way through The Channon, Uki south to Lismore and across to the coastal towns of Brunswick Heads and Byron Bay. Mullumbimby sits toward the top of that rainbow.
An Alternate Lifestyle arrived at nearby Nimbin in 1973 on the back of the life changing Aquarius Festival. A tie-died pot-smoking culture followed with influential logging protests that brought about the protection of many Australian forests. We drove through some of those forests and it was a magical experience. Gentle rain fell only to rise again like smoke from the treetops and at the end of the day there was just a hint of colour shimmering in the clouds.
The road leads to Mount Chincogan and Mullumbimby
Where is Mullum?
Tourist information sites, caravan park admins, google searches and random strangers all mentioned a town called Mullum. It wasn’t marked on our maps but it didn’t take long to realise that Mullumbimby and Mullum were one and the same.
Arriving in town, we spotted the now familiar name everywhere. Mullum was incorporated into business names, splashed across signs and posters and hidden in the menu. The name sits well with the spirit of the town.
Yoga Mullumbimby and the Mullum Spirit
Smiles are wide and heads are dreadlocked, hearts are open and spirits awakened. As we walked along the footpath I watched a little boy entertaining himself while his Dad was busy talking. He appropriated a large cylindrical tin money box from a store display, sat on the ground with the tin upturned and started drumming. I guess he’d been to a few drumming circles in his life!
It could have been a side effect of the Spirit Festival, in town during our visit 15-17 April 2016, but if the high proportion of Yoga Studios per head of population (1 per 530) is any guide, this is one relaxed town.
A Social Conscience.
Demands a call for action on Climate Change Now!
Middle Pub Mullumbimby – Quirky
This normal looking Aussie outback town has wide streets, palm trees and of course pubs. Middle Pub Mullumbimby has broken the mould of Aussie outback pubs by quirkily decorating their front bar with classy looking antique furniture. I cornered a comfy lounge chair for some time-out and no-one batted an eyelid – in fact another guy settled in for a chat on his mobile and neither of us were paying customers. Yep – The Spirit of Mullum.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that Middle means there are another two pubs in town. No, this is a two pub kind of place, but this one acquired it’s name because it is in the middle of town. Quirky!
Things to Do in Mullumbimby
Pole sculptures down my Mullumbimby Creek
Non-conformist Poles point skywards at the entrance to a planned Sculpture walk down by Mullumbimby Creek and a spirit workshop circle in progress nearby. It’s a nice place for a relaxing walk. There was not a sculpture in sight but I’m very sure community spirit will make it happen.
Finishing touches being applied.
This relaxed market, our reason for visiting Mullum, reflects the spirit of the town. With green grass underfoot and large shade trees overhead, we free-ranged, talking to the stall holders and watching artists at work.
It seemed fitting that a bric-a-brac stall holder and I shared a spooky story about a pre-loved 70’s tablecloth that found it’s way back to it’s original family. With both of us feeling goose-bumpy, the deal was sealed. I ended up with a tablecloth and she with $5.
It goes without saying that we were surreptitiously eyeing off some interesting market food and before long had selected tempura vegetables (a bargain 3 fritters for $3), a slice of chocolate cake heaven and two pick-me-up coffees.
Looking for somewhere to sit we gravitated to the make-shift stage and nabbed a front row seat in the shade to catch a performance by Jesse Morris. A free spirit accompanied him with an interpretive dance routine complete with unlit fire sticks.
The Mullum spirit was alive and well.
Afterward Jessie pulled up a stool and started chatting while we listened to Julian Temple, the next performer. Both of these guys have their own bands and are world class acts.
Mullumbimby today is likened to Byron Bay before it acquired megastar status.
Now is the time to appreciate Mullumbimby/Mullum – A little town with big spirit.
Budget Travel Talk.
Mullum Community Market is held at the corner of Stuart and Myocum Streets in Summers Park, Mullimbimby, from 9am to 3pm on the third Saturday of the Month.
Mullimbimby Farmers Market is held near the Showgrounds at the base of Mount Chincogan from 7am to 11am every Friday.
Mullimbimby is 20 minutes by road from Byron Bay.