VOLCANIC LIQUID GOLD
Overlooking the Tweed valley looms 1156m high Mount Warning – with its sheer height and width of over 30 km wide it has an undeniable presence from many viewpoints at Tropical Fruit World. This once active volcano has created rich mineral soil and is one of the reasons why this farm is the perfect environment for growing hundreds of varieties of fruit. It is also the reason why you can find the most flora and fauna in Australia around the Mount Warning area.
HISTORY OF TROPICAL FRUIT WORLD
Tropical Fruit World was purchased by Bob and Val Brinsmead in 1972, who saw the potential of the land and how ideal the rich red soil was to grow tropical fruit. The rich volcanic soil has helped grow and support their 2000 fruit trees. Many fruits were planted on the farm, with the primary fruit being avocado, which is why the farm was previously known as Avocadoland. As the plantation now has a massive collection of all fruits from all regions its name changed in 1995 to reflect the diversity of the farm.
Tropical Fruit World offered much more than I anticipated, which is why we spent a good part of the day exploring everything they had to offer.
Travelling over the Queensland border into New South Wales we lost an hour due to daylight savings, and I was expecting us to arrive later than we wanted. It was a pleasant surprise when we arrived to learn the plantation runs off Queensland time, so we arrived around opening time, which we were thankful for as it can become busy during the middle of the day.
FRUIT TASTING WORKSHOP
Arriving early gave us the opportunity to go straight to the first fruit tasting workshop, which was perfect timing for morning tea. We were ushered into a little shed which had coloured church-like pews for seating. But, it was the front of the room where everyone’s eyes were drawn towards. On the risen counter were colourful, vibrant and fragrant fruits beautifully plated and ready to be consumed.
As much as we all wanted to tuck into the fruit, we listened intently to the 20-minute presentation about what we would be tasting, the different varieties, the taste of them and the health benefits of these fruits. I found this fascinating and even the younger crowd members seemed captivated by the presentation.
Did you know it takes seven years to grow a pineapple, and there is a chocolate fruit that tastes like chocolate pudding?
Once the presentation was over a conga line was formed, and we shuffled our way along the table, our lips smacking at all the delicious fruits we were adding to our plates.
For many, including us, there were varieties we had never heard or seen of before, and this was the perfect opportunity to become closer acquainted to these exotic fruits. Around the outside of the shed were the beauty products, oils, and merchandise that can be purchased. As we took our time savoring the fruit, plus attending to minors, we didn’t have an opportunity to look at these, but as I explain further there was another chance, and we didn’t miss out.
After the fruit presentation, we were asked to climb aboard the tractor for a tour through the plantation. Now when I say tractor, it was a farm tractor pulling a covered trailer with seats. Once again the guide shared more information; the history of the farm and area, along with showing us all the trees, fruit varieties and experimental fruit gardens. There are over 500 varieties of mangoes alone at Tropical Fruit World.
As they told us we were heading to Treasure Island, I imagined all the children onboard envisaging a land where Peter Pan lives. Honestly, when we arrived, it wasn’t far off as there were so many elements that children would find reminiscent of a playful experience.
MORE TASTE TESTING
Once again, with all the food talk being thrown around our bellies start to grumble, and in perfect timing our guide stops for us to depart at the banana & macadamia trees to sample the sweetest bananas and crack a few nuts.
After refueling (did you know a banana is a high source of natural energy?!) our first point of call when we reached Treasure Island was the train ride. We straddled the tiny train as it chugged along around the bends taking us the whole loop of the island.
Treasure Island was a perfect oasis and a jungle of fun for not only kids but something everyone in the family could appreciate. Relax under the tall trees or at the picnic tables while the kids play on the playground (perfect for younger children) and flying fox. At the opposite end is a put-put golf course, another cubby house, a large tractor for imaginative play and a whole heap of space to run around.
As much as we heard protests about leaving, they die down as soon as we stepped on the boat that would be taking us around the island and to our next destination. Before the engines turned and we started to meander around the island we were all given bread to feed the friendly ducks that drift our way. We departed the boat at an animal petting farm where for a couple of dollars you could purchase a bag of food for the resident donkeys, chickens, sheep, goats, kangaroos, emus, and the chief – a clydesdale horse.
Once leaving the farm area, you are given the option of returning to Treasure Island to enjoy the facilities for longer or take the next tractor back to the main entrance. Once you return, it’s well worth paying a visit to the café and shop. This area of Tropical Fruit World, including the greengrocers which sell all the amazing fruit, is always open to the public, without a paid ticket.
TROPICAL FRUIT WORLD SHOP & CAFE
The café seating is inside on a wooden deck, surrounded by lush green plants and trees. It’s floor to ceiling windows open to the elements letting the natural light drift through. Order a light lunch with drinks or try one of their frozen ice-creams on offer.
I mentioned above about the extra products we missed trying at the tasting area – well this is where we made up for it. Natural honey, dressings, chocolate sauce, mustards were set up in the gift shop to sample and then buy. At the back of the store are their beauty products, where once again you can try before you buy. We walked out with a tropical lip balm made from beautiful high-quality ingredients and a packet of lemon myrtle (my new favourite smell) and green tea bags. You are bound to find something for your pantry or beauty cabinets in the shop, and then don’t forget to stop by the local greengrocers on your way out to pick up your new favourite fruits!
If you are a local (Tweed, Gold Coast, Byron Shire resident) you will receive a discounted rate for entering Tropical Fruit World. Display your driver’s license and join up to Tropical Fruit World’s locals club upon purchasing the tickets.
TROPICAL FRUIT WORLD OPENING TIME
10:00 am to 4:00 pm AEST (Qld Time)
Share with me below – what is your favourite tropical fruit?
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