If you’ve ever had the desire to experience life in an alternative community then a stay at Eternity Springs Art Farm, a bed and breakfast located in the hills between Nimbin and The Channon is a must, writes Georgina Bible.
I’ve often wanted to live a hippy life in the hills around Nimbin for a few days – without, I’m ashamed to admit, renouncing my blow-dryer and other consumer durables. This longing has been amplified since I’ve had to become once more a victim of the military industrial complex – i.e. working in a city office between the hours of 8.30am to 5pm. So on a recent visit back to the Northern Rivers it was with keen anticipation that I booked a two night stay at Eternity Springs Art Farm – a bed and breakfast located between Nimbin and The Channon.
Eternity Springs is promoted as reflecting the ethos of the surrounding region, which has been historicised in popular memory so much that the connection between people and place, community and identity are so vivid they are globally recognised and nationally institutionalised. The Aquarius Festival held in Nimbin in 1973 is responsible for this connection when it irrevocably changed the landscape of the village, the hills that surround it and the nation when the counter-culture acted out the utopian dream. Happily, Eternity Springs didn’t disappoint on delivering a ‘morning of the earth’ communal living experience.
Turning into The Channon Road from Lismore begins a winding descent into what one might imagine as Tolkien’s Middle Earth – it’s the kind of landscape where you wouldn’t be surprised to spot a hobbit, wizard or other ethereal-type creature scurrying past on business. The cloud covered Nightcap Ranges, which tower across the horizon, form the perfect backdrop to the emerald green valleys, which are dotted with creeks, waterfalls and forest. Eternity Springs itself is located on Tuntable Creek Road, a few kilometres past The Channon General Store.
The appeal of the B&B begins on arrival with the sweeping driveway leading up to the main house, which is shrouded with rainforest trees and set against valley views. I was greeted by Ziggy the dog, who bounded-up to my car and insisted on escorting me to meet my host, Amanda. Later, Ziggy would accompany me as I took a walk around the farm to explore the permaculture gardens, orchards and the property’s very own waterfall and rock pool.
Eternity Springs features several accommodation options but if you thrive in ‘cookie cutter’ environments with high gloss finishes and generic furniture you may feel out of your comfort zone. There are five different accommodation options, which include the Gabi Rose Room, Cedar Room, Cubby Cabins, In-house and the entire Main House. I’m staying in the Cedar Room, which features panelled timber walls, leadlight windows and a super comfortable queen size bed. I had the
deepest sleep I’ve had for years in years in that bed, waking up early to a choir of frogs (there are 12 different species on the property), with various rainforest birds chiming in. The room also features a desk and chair, as well as a small library of books, with an appropriate selection of new age and spiritual titles. The room has its own ensuite with the bonus of a huge bath, and is located off the back verandah of the main house.
The verandah is where everyone meets to eat, chat and take in the rainforest valley views, either from the rambling wooden dining table, or from one of two hammocks that swing from the rafters. It gives you the opportunity to mingle with other guests, which for my stay included a group of inner-Sydney refugees, a couple from Tasmania who shared how they cured the husband’s melanoma using a natural remedy, and a mum with two children and the family dog in tow – pets are allowed on application.
Meals are freshly prepared and guests are welcomed to join in preparation. Dinner (by prior arrangement) includes fresh produce from the permaculture gardens and is served buffet style, featuring fresh salads, roasted vegetables and a variety of meats. The ham on the dinner menu (two pigs that had gone by the names of Pinky and Porky during their brief life) had been raised on the farm. Breakfast is complimentary and consists of fruit in season, homemade conserves, fresh bread, as well as free-range eggs straight from the chook house – perfect for lining one’s belly before setting off for the day to explore the region.
Eternity Springs is a great launching pad to the surrounding area. Nimbin is 15kms down the road and the drive takes in some stunning back-country. On the second Sunday of the month the legendary Channon Art and Craft Market is held on the village green. The World Heritage listed Protestors Falls, named after the Terania Creek protests of the late 1970s, is a 20km drive away via The Channon. However, for this visit I was content to stick to the farm – spending a few hours lolling in the rock pool under the waterfall and exploring the permaculture kitchen gardens and orchards, all of which provide living examples of sustainable landscape design.
It all adds up to allowing guests to have an ‘Age of Aquarius’’ experience – something that Amanda was aimiong for when she opened her farm up as a B&B. “The intention remains to share my utopia by providing a beautiful inspiring place for people to tune into themselves via nature and tune out from busy lives and demands of the world,” she says. “There are people who have come back so many times over the years, they’ve have become friends.”
And just like other Eternity Springs guests – I’ll be back.
Eternity Springs is located at 483 Tuntable Creek Road, The Channon. For bookings call 02 6688 6385 or visit https://eternitysprings.com/. Note there is a minimum two night stay. Eternity Springs can also be hired out for retreats and functions.
Georgina Bible stayed at Eternity Springs as a guest.