Tourism awards point to bright future for Nimbin after fire

NIMBIN has had a consolation to its devastating fire last week after the town's top-shelf tourism offerings netted the town two gold awards at Saturday night's North Coast Tourism Awards.

The Nimbin Rox YHA took out gold for the best hostel, while Nimbin and Lismore took out gold for the best tourism information centre.

It's Nimbin Rox YHA's second gold in two years.

Owner Liam Brehme said Nimbin's unique atmosphere meant the hostel had slowly evolved to fit fully into its surroundings and had hit a "sweet spot".

"We haven't really had a quiet season this year," Mr Brehme said.

"People keep coming back, they tell their friends - word of mouth is our biggest marketing point I think."

He praised his staff whose friendliness was reflected in reviews that scored 96% for customer service.

The award comes as the hostel is readying itself for a major expansion before the next peak season, including a 30kw solar system, a tipi village, and a new car park.

The Nimbin Visitor Information Centre won a gold award with Lismore.

The Nimbin visitor centre sees more than 72,000 visitors each year, opened in 2007 and moved to its modern premises four years ago.

It offers a one-stop shop to the alternative wonders of Nimbin, directing visitors to such highlights as the Hemp Embassy, the Djanbung permaculture gardens and the Nimbin Environment Centre.

Lismore City Council's visitor services co-ordinator Andrew Walker said the centre gave visitors a gentle introduction in a place that could occasionally be confronting in its difference.

"It's sort of like cushion stop, we explain the village to them and sort of give them a general understanding of why Nimbin is what it's like."

"Those city folk who might be a little bit hesitant, it's a great little introduction to the rest of the village."

Until last week one of the most common questions from visitors was "where's the museum?".

But Mr Walker said he was optimistic about plans for a new, restyled museum which could do justice to the legacy of the Aquarius Festival.

Topics:  nimbin fire

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