In this episode of Traveling With Tom, I’ll take you to Tropical Fruit World near Durenbah in the Tweed Valley of northeastern New South Wales, Australia. If you’ve been following along, this is an area about 50-60 miles south of Brisbane, Queensland. The weather here is tropical as it’s closer to the Equator. It was spring when I was in the Southern Hemisphere so the days were getting longer and the temperatures rising as summer approached.
Before I go any further, a quick update on the heavy rains that caused flooding in the Tweed Valley in the last few weeks. From what I can gather, the flood waters have receded with minor flooding continuing in low lying areas. However, rain continues to fall with a high chance of moisture each day this coming week. That’s both a blessing and a curse as the heavy rains have broken the long severe drought but there is a continued threat of localized flooding.
Now on to Tropical Fruit World, located on a hill overlooking the Tweed Valley. It didn’t start out as a tourist attraction when it was purchased in 1972 by the Brinsmead family. It was a run down small farm that was growing crops but in a location that was well suited to growing fruit. They started out by planting avocados then gradually expanded into apples, bananas, mangos, papaya, and macadamia nuts. It opened to tourists in 1983 as Avocadoland, later renamed Tropical Fruit World, providing tours, tastings and products made from the over 500 fruits it now grows.
The first place visitors encounter is the Fruit Market with a beautiful selection of delicious fruits.
They also had a nice selection of flowers and plants for sale including this beautiful variety of heliconia. Maybe a bird of paradise?
Inside there was the Plantation Products store that sold all types of edible and body products made from fruits such as avocado oils, mango butter, papaya dip, macadamia nuts, soaps, shampoos, hand creams, and etc. They also have a well regarded Cafe where we ate lunch. I had the heirloom tomatoes with toast, it was a refreshing and delicious light lunch that hit the spot for me after a late morning breakfast.
After lunch, we were directed to a small auditorium where our tour would begin with a demonstration and tasting of some of the many fruits grown on the farm. The speaker was very entertaining with the abundant use of Australian humor! He told us about the fruits that were in season, some very familiar such as papaya, oranges and avacodos while others were more obscure but interesting nevertheless.
The demo and tasting was followed by about an hour and half tour of the farm where we saw many of the fruits at various stages of growth that end up in the market or products.
About half way through the tour, we boarded a pontoon boat that took us on a ride on a lagoon to see the farm from another perspective.
The boat docked at a small animal farm where we could take a break, have a cold drink, a snack, and feed the animals some pellets available for purchase. Here I’m feeding the sheep and a kangaroo.
This guy wasn’t hungry but did a great job of giving me the stink eye!
We didn’t see any of these animals on our tour, thank goodness! We did see snake warnings in a lot of places, Australia has more things that can kill you than any other place in the world including the venomous brown snake. By the way, quiz question: “Why do they call a brown snake a brown snake?” Answer: “Because it’s brown!” More Australian humor!
After our break at the animal farm we were back on the trailer for the ride back to the main gate. We made a few stops along the way and I took some photos of the scenery.
It was a fun few hours at Tropical Fruit World. If you are in the vicinity, it’s worth the price of admission. Make sure to have lunch in the cafe and end with some refreshing ice cream made with natural ingredients including some exotic fruits. Delicious way to end the tour!
Lest you think all we did was go on tours, we had plenty of time to enjoy the many beaches along the Pacific Ocean. We walked along the beach at Coolangatta, Queensland located just north of Tweed Heads, New South Wales. Coolangatta is the most southern suburb of the Gold Coast area that is popular with beach goers and surfers, Reminds me somewhat of Ft. Myers, Florida, only nicer in my opinion. Coolangatta in Aborigine means “splendid view,” I think the name fits perfectly! Here’s few photos from our walk. The surfers were out, note the Gold Coast in the far background.
One evening, we took our host, Fay, to dinner at the Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Line Saving Club located next to Elephant Rock. It’s interesting that at every major beach there are these surf life saving clubs many that have been in existence for over 100 years. These clubs are staffed mostly with volunteers who perform life saving activities along the beach saving people from drowning due to the rip currents and injuries from cuts and broken limbs. These clubs also provide swimming and life saving lessons to “nippers” (kids 7-14). The Currumbin Club has over 1000 active members plus about 10,000 supporting members who frequent the dining room, visit the casino, and enjoy the spectacular view from the club house. There are over 300 such clubs in Australia supporting themselves with some local government support, donations, and sponsorships.
Prior to dinner, we walked on the beach as the sun set. It was a beautiful view.
After dinner, we took another constitutional on the beach and spotted these creatures out of the corner of our eye. The top photo is of a jellyfish that came in with the changing tide. As we walked along we realized there were hundreds laying on the beach.
This photo is of either a clump of sea grasses or a stone fish, the deadliest fish in the sea. It’s venom can kill an adult human in a hour or less unless they can get medical attention. We thought it looked like it was breathing, hard to say but we gave it a wide berth just in case.
The next day, we were nearby so stopped so I could climb Elephant Rock (there were stairs) in the daylight and take some photos.
That will about do it for this week. Up next week, my last post from the Tweed.
Until then, happy travels!