Nimbin is notable for the prominence of its environmental initiatives such as permaculture, sustainability, self-sufficiency as well as the cannabis counterculture. Writer Austin Pick described his initial impressions of the village this way: "It is as if a smoky avenue of Amsterdam has been placed in the middle of the mountains behind frontier-style building facades. ... Nimbin is a strange place indeed."
Nimbin has been described in literature and mainstream media as 'the drug capital of Australia', 'a social experiment' and 'an escapist sub-culture'. Nimbin has become an icon in Australian cultural history with many of the values first introduced there by the counterculture becoming part of modern Australian culture.