News

Obama drama over itinerary

An artist’s impression of the surfing leg of President Obama’s Northern Rivers tour.
An artist’s impression of the surfing leg of President Obama’s Northern Rivers tour. Isobel Rogers

TWEED Tourism has snubbed Nimbin and the rest of the Northern Rivers by putting only Tweed destinations on a proposed itinerary for US President Barack Obama’s visit next month.

Tweed Tourism boss Phil Villiers yesterday upped the ante in a tongue-in-cheek push to have the leader of the free world spend some time on the North Coast by sending a proposed itinerary for Mr Obama’s visit – expected some time late March.

But after last week recommending the President stay away from Nimbin, raising the ire of the village’s residents and triggering a push to have the President visit the village, Mr Villiers has again given the Northern Rivers’ most colourful village – along with the rest of the region – the cold shoulder.

The idea of Mr Obama visiting Nimbin has won strong support with The Northern Star’s online readers.

A web-poll run on Tuesday found 70 per cent of respondents supported the idea.

The itinerary sent by Tweed Tourism includes a helicopter tour over Mt Warning and surrounds, followed by a rainforest drive and short walk, lunch at Mavis’ Kitchen at the base of the mountain, then a surf lesson with world champion surfer Mick Fanning.

Mr Villiers said he had received a ‘polite’ reply from Tourism Australia’s global public relations manager, Kerry I’Anson, saying the proposed itinerary had been passed on to the US team co-ordinating Mr Obama’s visit.

Although pleasantly surprised, Mr Villiers said he still regarded the chances of a presidential visit as ‘pie-in-the-sky’.

Northern Rivers Tourism chief executive Russell Kelly defended Mr Villiers’ failure to include a trip to Nimbin on the itinerary, pointing out the Tweed Tourism manager’s job was to promote the Tweed – not Nimbin.

However, Mr Kelly said Northern Rivers Tourism strongly supported both Tweed’s push to have Mr Obama fly over the Green Cauldron and Lismore’s push to have the President make a stop in Nimbin.

“If this does happen, it would be a miracle,” Mr Kelly said.

“But if he came to Tweed or Lismore we (Northern Rivers Tourism) would like to be the bridge to make sure he visits both.”

Proposed itinerary:

  • Arrive at Brisbane or Gold Coast Airport
  • Scenic helicopter flight over Australia’s Green Cauldron, largest shield volcano in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Land at Mavis’ Kitchen at the base of Mt Warning
  • Drive (6km) through the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia to Wollumbin (Mt Warning) National Park
  • Welcome by traditional owners
  • Short (200m) interpretive walk through the rainforest, with indigenous and NP guides, highlighting the spiritual significance and unique biodiversity of the mountain
  • Return to Mavis’ Kitchen for lunch
  • Helicopter flight to Rainbow Beach for a surfing lesson with reigning World Champion, Mick Fanning at the Snapper Superbank.



Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Homeless street ‘slum’ showcases seedier side of Byron Bay

DISGUSTING: Waste strewn across an unknown nook of Byron Bay photographed by Byron Bay Community Board Facebook user Boaz Jachin has sparked a debate on the impact of homelessness in the town.

IT COULD be snapshots of somewhere in a third world country

Take your tastebuds on a gourmet tour of Northern Rivers

Rebecca Zentveld, (right) from Zentveld’s Coffee, with (from left) Rebekka Battista from Our House, and Ballina-on-Richmond Rotarians Wendy Marsh and Col Lee, promoting the gourmet tour which is part of this year’s Ballina Fine Wine and Food Festival.

Flavours of the Northern Rivers Gourmet Tour in July.

Latest deals and offers

Preschool week mini olympics

Preschool week mini olympics

Preschool week mini olympics

NYPD join dance challenge

New York Police respond to NZ dance challenge.

New York's finest accept Kiwi dance challenge.

NZ Police Issue Dance Challenge

NZ Police doing the running man dance.

Video of NZ Police doing the running man dance and challenging police forces around...

How a sacked real estate agent made $725k in four months

Agent is now under investigation by the industry watchdog

10 ‘must-see’ open homes on the Northern Rivers this weekend

McGrath Ballina have listed this home at 19 Stonehenge Place, Lennox Head.

Looking for a new home? Then check out this list.

VIDEO: Art Deco fan pays $835,000 for Imperial Hotel

No Caption

Iconic "Impy" sold at a bargan price to bidder who loves Art Deco.