An alternative look at Mullumbimby

The North Coast of New South Wales is a semi-tropical paradise well known for its gloriius beaches, attractive towns, laid back lifestyle, and the growing number of people who are moving into the region to practise alternative lifestyles.

Mullumbimby, an inland town in Byron Shire, not far from the more famous Byron Bay, is one of those towns which attracts people who are looking for a less stressful life.

Located at the base of Mt Chincogan, the remains of a long-extinct volcano. Cedar cutters were the first Europeans to settle in the area. The town was established in the 1880s by which time this had become an agricultural region. Bananas and other tropical fruits thrive in the warm climate and rich soil along the riverbanks. Mullumbimby’s history is enshrined in the Brunswick Valley Historical Museum, which now occupies the old timber Post Office on the corner of Stuart and Myocum Streets. As well as information about the Durungbil people who inhabited the area when Europeans arrived, the museum offers an insight into cedar-getting, the area’s first industry, ship-building, dairying and agriculture, and has a good collection of machinery from the past.

The town is situated on the Brunswick River, which is tidal and easily navigable by boat.  Because this was timber country, the logs used to be hauled by bullock teams for which teams of ten or more bullocks would be tethered together to haul logs and heavy equipment along dirt trails well before roads were constructed.  Even today at low tide it is possible to see the tracks created by the bullock teams at the point where they crossed the Brunswick River.     

Today, one of the main attractions in Mullumbimby is the Crystal Castle which offers visitors a unique place to find solace within yourself. At the Crystal Castle you are encouraged to walk the ancient labyrinth, discover the gardens and rainforest, and wander the Buddha Walk which is lined with rose quartz and hand carved statues. The walk leads you to the presence of the blessing Buddha, which is almost four metres high and weighing almost 14 tonne, and which offers you a place of reflection and peace.  Oddly, for something that is so obviously non-christian, the Crystal Castle is closed on Christmas Day.

The third Saturday of every month is Mullumbimby Market Day, which takes over the main street, and where many a bargain can be had from the amazing range of goods on offer.

Mullumbimby’s major event is the Chincogan Fiesta, a New Age carnival which is held every September. Then the streets are closed to traffic while parades and street stalls turn “the biggest little town in Australia” into a carnival for the duration. The highlight of the fiesta is the footrace (walk or run) to the top of Mt Chincogan, which offers a small cash prize to the winner. Money raised from the event is donated to charity, and it’s not necessary to run; plenty of the participants take the walking option.

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