FROM the soaring peak of Mt Warning to the lush rainforests blanketing the surrounding ranges, there's a lot to inspire a creative soul in the Tweed Valley of Northern New South Wales.
On a weekend drive along the Mt Warning view touring route, you'll come across artists, musicians, dancers and performers of all types who bring the landscape to life.
At Murwillumbah's World Heritage Rainforest Centre, landscape artist Andy Reimanis is dabbing his paintbrush around a massive 360-degree panorama depicting the view from Mt Warning's summit.
Working from satellite images and photos, the detail is extraordinary, depicting the Tweed's dynamic landforms and vegetation.
aIt'll save you having to climb the mountain,a he jokes, happy to be interrupted by the steady stream of interested passers-by.
The truth is that his passion for the Mt Warning Wollumbin Caldera is evident in every tiny brushstroke. It's the same passion that drove him to establish Caldera Art Gallery, where every artwork is inspired by the wildlife, rainforest and environmental values of the ancient shield volcano that forms the Tweed Valley.
A short drive out of town, Tweed River Art Gallery director Susi Muddiman is glowing in the goodwill of another artist whose talents grew out of the rich red soil of the region: the late Margaret Olley, who was born in nearby Lismore and spent much of her youth in the region.
Following her death last year, the Margaret Olley Trust granted a million-dollar bequest to establish a centre at the Tweed's regional gallery that will include a re-creation of the artist's studio, an exhibition space and an education centre.
It will house a large number of her works and correspondence.
Continuing the road trip, more art galleries are in the village of Uki, including a working studio set up in the old buttery where visitors can chat to resident ceramist Lisa Gair.
Then in Tyalgum, further out at the back of the valley, the creative muse turns to music. …