‘Tropical Fruit World’ is located in Duranbah, NSW and only a short distance from the Gold Coast. It is close to the heart of Mt Warning (an ancient volcano) so is blessed with some of the most fertile soils in Australia mixed with a sub-tropical climate that allows an almost unlimited variety of plants to grow. The property itself is 175 acres that was originally used for growing beans, tomatoes and sweet potato and later used for cattle grazing. The Department of Agriculture also had a research station here that ran between 1937 and 1967 growing and experimenting with banana’s, lychee’s, mango’s, Macadamia’s and avocado’s (probably scary to know what crazy experiments and chemicals were used back in those days). In 1972 the property was purchased by Bob and Val Brinsmead who used the land to grow Avocado’s. His enthusiastic children, however, planted many other fruit trees among them. A rainforest area was preserved in the valley and with the construction of diving boards, floating rafts and flying foxes in the water catchment area the plantation was gradually attracting many family and friends to visit. Bob and Val opened up the instantly successful ‘Avocado Land’ in 1983 that would be later called ‘Tropical Fruit World’ due to the hundred of species of Tropical Fruit planted on the Farm. The property is still owned by the Brimsmead family but run by Judith (eldest daughter) with a team of 35 staff.
On the day we went it was winter but rather balmy for the time of year, perfect for this type of excursion. I parked the car (being new) in the furthermost car park from the entrance leaving a 10 minute walk to the front (what? you cant be too careful). We paid our money and were advised of when the next tour started which was roughly 20 minutes so we went inside the building that consisted of a cafe and gift shop. While Mina had a look around the shop I felt the need to eat something. Too early for lunch I hooked in to a macadamia icecream that was awesome to say the least. At the end of the 20 minutes we jumped into our tour bus (tractor with large passenger trailer) and we headed off down the hill through that thousands of fruit trees. These trees were separated into different regions that was quite clever.
The regions of the garden are as follows:
- Aztec garden with fruit such as canistel and chocolate fruit.
- Bush Tucker garden with Davidson’s plum, lemon myrtle and macadamias.
- Chinese garden with lychees, wampi, longans and mulberries.
- Experimental garden with noni and goji.
- Inca garden with champagne fruit and mountain pawpaw.
- Indian garden with jakfruit, mangos and guavas.
- South East Asia garden with wax jambu and giant pommelo.
- South Pacific Garden with papaya, bananas and passionfruit and
- Tropical Berry Garden with jaboticaba, cherry guavas and miracle fruit.
I really tried to take some ‘Atif Saeed’ type landscape photos on our trip down the hill, in the tour bus, but the ride was a little bumpy so ended up with a whole bunch of photos that you would expect from a UFO sighting or maybe Bigfoot. I Did get an OK photo of a dragon fruit (below) but was probably trying to take a photo of the hillside behind.
Our first stop was about halfway down the hill that wound its way through the unbelievable amounts of fruit trees on this property. It was our first chance to taste some of the produce and we weren’t disappointed, bananas were awesome. There were plenty of Macadamia nuts here too, ready to be cracked. There was only two cracking machines though and a couple of cracking machine hogs so had to wait until later to try my Macadamias, lucky I had already had my fill of Macadamia’s in the ice-cream I had eaten earlier.
After this we travelled down through the remainder of the impressive gardens to the bottom of the hill (we were kept informed of what we were seeing by the tour guide). At the bottom we had another chance to stretch our legs. We walked down along a large dam to a rainforested area and on to some stables where we got to intermingle with some farm animals. From here we hopped onto a boat and cruised the waterways that took us around an island at the bottom of the property. We were given some bread to feed the ducks and geese which, I’m guessing know the routine because they were out in force as soon as they saw the boat. We docked at Treasure Island and got to go on another ride that was waiting for us, a miniature train. This encircled a park area with playground, etc for the kids. Here the official tour ended and we were given free range. A bus left every 20 minutes to return us to the top of the property.
There was still one thing to see and do though and that was the fruit taste testing, so after a leisurely cruise back to the top we ventured over to the tasting building. This was very worthwhile and quite interesting. The presenter took us through the different fruits in an presentation and afterwards we had heaps of different fruit to try. I did find it kind of amusing after seeing this amazing selection of fruit how small our general variety is in the shop.
Conclusion; my only disappointment with the whole day was with the amount of weed species that were on the property, particularly the waterway at the bottom. I felt it quite distracting cruising down a beautiful canal and looking at banks full of ‘Singapore Daisy’, Umbrella Trees, bamboo and Cocos Palms. A big push on removing environmental weeds and replacing them with native species should be a priority here, particularly when displaying your property to the world. All in all though, it was a most enjoyable day, especially for a first timer and a great place for families and children. It was quite clever how you were steered in a direction, not knowing what was around the corner making it into an interesting adventure. I do hope you have enjoyed this addition of ‘My Walkabout Plants’ and see you next time.
Sources of information:
- Photography by Simon Schubert and Minako Howarth.