Is Cootamundra the next big thing in hippie tourism? Heightened participation and interest in eco-spiritualism suggests it could happen

THE NEXT BYRON BAY: Darren Maxwell and Robyn Collins believe Cootamundra will become Australia's next eco-spiritualist hub. Picture: L Grey
THE NEXT BYRON BAY: Darren Maxwell and Robyn Collins believe Cootamundra will become Australia's next eco-spiritualist hub. Picture: L Grey

Cootamundra's sporting and agricultural bedrock is buried deep but some believe a spiritual revolution is on the horizon.

Drumming, meditation, chanting and reiki massage - these are all events that once would have turned heads on the main street.

But take a stroll down Parker Street in 2017 and you'd likely bump into a djembe group or catch the sounds of solemn chanting echoing from the library around the corner.

"People are looking for new entertainment and a positive way of living that's not just old country and western," psychotherapist Robyn Collins said.

Older residents might scoff at such activities but heightened participation in alternative events around town suggest there's more to this phase than meets the eye.

"We’re getting numbers and the people who come along are just business owners and workers,” Ms Collins said.

“it’s not just your hippies or beach-y or yoga centre types." 

Ms Collins operates out of Soul, Life and Happiness alongside shamanic practitioner Darren Maxwell and the duo believe Cootamundra is ripe for an alternate wave.

"This town has the ability to be the next Byron Bay," Mr Maxwell said.

It's a strange banner for Cootamundra to fly but more and more residents are being drawn to spiritual recreation.

"I spoke to them when they first came to town a few years back because it was an interest of mine," said property manager Debbie Taylor.

"Now I do meditation and retreats all the time.”

Amanda Rosengreen is another resident who has immersed themselves in Cootamundra's emerging spiritual scene.

"I'd always been interested in trying it out and thought I might as well give it a go," Ms Rosengreen said.

"Now I have reiki done on me and I'll also go in and have my chakras balanced from time to time."

"Working seven days a week can be stressful but I've found with this, I can cope with anything life throws at me."

There's no denying that such pastimes attract skepticim but for its participants, it's just a matter of understanding.

"Once people realise that it's not a cult or witchcraft, more people will get involved and it'll grow," Ms Rosengreen said.

"If we can let go of that Don Bradman image and turn this town into a place that thrives, we'll be kicking people out it’ll be so busy," Mr Maxwell said.

"The spiritual renaissance will happen out here, it's just a matter of waiting until it does happen.