The Rainforest Way is a superb scenic drive in the heart of Northern NSW. It’s the perfect segue from Byron Bay into the natural wonder of some World Heritage listed National Parks.
I recommend you soak up and savour all that Byron Bay has on offer, then jump in the car, wave goodbye to the sandy beaches and say hello to lush rainforests, eclectic towns and breathtaking waterfalls of the Rainforest Way.
Ciao Byron.. It’s Been Real
Where’s Byron Bay?… said no one ever.
Hesitant to leave this lively town, we decided to bask in the morning sun on bikes and skateboards after a surf. With Autumn in full swing and two hungry boys to feed, we called into in ‘The General Store’ for our final farewell breakfast.
Don’t be thrown by the name, ‘The General Store’ has had multiple facelifts since first opening in 1947. With food served on trendy chopping boards, reggae beats blaring, eco-friendly packaging and surf-trendy staff, it’s the best place to grab a coffee in your Keep Cup and get back on the road!
Rainforest Way, here we come!
Art Explosion In Lismore
1 hour from Byron Bay
The road to Lismore made leaving the Bay beautifully bearable. As we weaved up the Coolamon scenic drive in our trusty camper we were in awe of the greenery, agriculture and panoramic views of the coastline.
On the drive we passed through the charming town of Bangalow. Unlike us, if you time your travels correctly you’ll be able to catch the farmer’s market and grab some fruit for the road.
Just half-an-hour from Bangalow is Lismore. Lismore is home to a sweet modern art gallery that lets you check out the works for free! If you’re even the slightest bit impartial to art and photography, I highly recommend you make the stop!
The gallery is contemporary with polished concrete floors and large windows. The works of art inside push societal norms and modern boundaries. Among some of the works are images of naked local rallies and conceptual art in support of pro-cannabis medication.
Hang Out In Nimbin And Enter The Rainforest
30 minutes from Lismore
Nimbin, is a must see; a short drive through the rolling hills from Lismore, it’s a town known for its wacky uniqueness. Nimbin is undoubtedly the hippy capital of the Australia – you’ll be up to your unshaved armpits in tie-dye, mandalas, bush-doof vibes and eco-sustainable living.
We wandered through the main street of Nimbin and had a pleasantly intriguing time. I discovered rainbow painted fences, community gardens, psychedelic decorations and even met some hula hoopers on the street!
While Nimbin is an ethereal town in its own right, it’s also in the midst of many national parks boasting World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforest. Check out Mebbin National Park where the Byrrill Creek walking track will launch you straight into sub-tropical rainforest loaded with ancient figs. At only 1km, it’s a great place for a breather.
Eat: Armonica Café. Great wood fired pizza!
Sleep: Cutters Camp Campground – 6 bucks a night and only 25 clicks out of Nimbin!
Fancy Sleep: Keep reading!
Feed The Soul At Mavis’s Kitchen & Cabins
45 minutes from Nimbin
After spending thousands of kilometres living and sleeping in our van, my fellow road trippers and I decided we deserved a night in a stunning little cabin. Mavis’s Kitchen & Cabins are a hidden gem, snuggled at the base of the sacred and majestic Wollumbin (Mount Warning).The cabins beautifully compliment their World Heritage surroundings. Once a dairy farm, Mavis’s Kitchen prides itself on using the grounds to source the delicious meals that end up on your plate.
The eco-friendly cabins we called home for the night were sophisticated and individually designed to blend in with the landscape.The crew and I sat down for breakfast up on the balcony; it was peaceful and nothing short of stunning. The perfect place for a good night’s sleep!
1 hour 20 minutes from Mavis’s Cabins
Despite its name making it sound ‘mini’, to the contrary, Minyon Falls are massive. In fact the falls plunge 100m into the beautiful surrounds of Nightcap National Park. Jumping out of the van, we couldn’t believe that after just a short walk we were witnessing it all at once. Not only is the waterfall mesmerising and already an impressive natural wonder, you can also see as far as the coast. It’s a very surreal scenario.If you’re keen, you can hike down to the base of the falls where you can immerse yourself and float in the pool at the bottom, gazing up at the falls above.
Wonder On The Rainforest Way
Driving The Rainforest Way speaks to your inner child; you just want to break free and explore it all. The winding roads filled with tree barrels are captivating and you’ll share a new perspective around every bend.
The waterfalls take your breath away, and you feel the sacred history of the land deep within your soul.
We could’ve explored this area for much longer, there was still so much to see and do but alas, the outback was calling!
Start And End Points
Start in Byron Bay and end back in Lismore.
- Good walking shoes
- Head torch for sunrise missions
Distance Driven & Time Taken
2 days & approximately 250km. See here for more info on The Rainforest Way.
Why wait? Start planning your NSW Road Trip.
Photos by @patsuraseang
NSW Road Trips – One at a time or one big adventure?