Cities and Towns in Australia and Pacific
© Fingal Ross
Nimbin is hidden beneath a seedy underbelly of drugs and crime, or at least that's what the papers want you to think. On the north coast you couldn't find a bunch of people who know how to party and enjoy life more. Better known for the vast quantity of Marijuana offered to the everyday passer by that may look like a tourist, Nimbin has cashed in on the reputation and used it to create a traveller's paradise with shops full of hemp products including clothing, cosmetics, the occasional cookie, and many other handmade goodies mostly locally produced. Once a year everyone peals themselves away from their private stoned bliss to celebrate in the street as part of the Nimbin Mardi Grass, in honour of the future liberation of Hemp. Complete with a parade, combi van line, bong throwing contest, joint rolling race and some years an out of this world doof party. Beware when anyone yells 'taxi', there are no taxis in Nimbin!
The capital of Solomon Island is a weird place. Run down and devoid of anything slightly pleasing to the eye. The drab town can seem sleazy at first sight, but any small talk with the dodgy looking characters in the streets will only bring out big red smiles (betel nut) and handshakes. The colourful central market is the main (well, only) point of interest. A rowdy affair (as rowdy as it gets in the Solomons) and a great place to meet people from the outer islands. Don't judge the Solomon Islands based on your first impression of Honiara, for the only thing that is the same is the great Melanesian friendliness.
The strange town of Port Vila is the capital of Vanuatu. It is spread out over hills surrounding the beautiful bay of Vila. It is a place where local shops, with crappy Chinese imports, lie side by side with duty-free mini-malls, selling a random selection ranging from sunglasses to rifle scopes, intended for the yacht and cruise tourists that pass by. For a bit a local flavour, visit the central market that is open 24/7 (except Sunday), giving you the rare opportunity to buy coconuts in the middle of the night. It is also here you find cheap meals like "lap-lap" (cassava cake with some meat inside) or more exotic deals like coconut crabs and fruit bats.