How It All Began
The property now known as Tropical Fruit World was purchased by Bob and Val Brinsmead in 1972.
It was then a run down small crop farm – beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes – which had been given over to cattle grazing - but the Brinsmeads saw this gem of a property as the ideal site to build a life, and to raise their young family.
The property had everything. There was breathtaking scenery from the Duranbah ridge - the mighty Mt Warning Caldera and Tweed cane fields to the West - the blue Pacific Ocean to the East - and lush rolling green hills all around.
The family plan was also to grow tropical fruit on the red soil hills.
Bob was fully aware of the farm’s fruit growing potential. When he was growing up on the Tweed, the Department of Agriculture had a small Research Station here. For thirty years from 1937 to 1967 – the Experimental Plot grew a handful of fruits: bananas, avocados, lychees, mangoes and macadamia nuts. It was actually the first place in NSW to grow avocados and to market them.
Before most Australians had even heard of avocados, Bob had often visited this Research Station and had acquired a taste for this new fruit. When he brought his Cootamundra bride to the Tweed, they both became addicted to avocados. They used to purchase them straight from the Research Plot.
In 1972 the farm came up for sale. Bob and Val bought it the next day.
Bob started planting lots of avocados. He also enlisted the enthusiastic help of the kids, and they scattered lots of other delicious fruit among the avocados – custard apples, mangos, lychees, guavas, macadamias, citrus, papaya and much more. The collection grew, and over the years the garden orchard became a fascination for the endless stream of visiting friends and family.
A beautiful little rainforest area had been preserved in the valley. This had water springs, koalas, possums and wallabies and was a delightful place of family discovery and adventure. Pretty water catchments made for some great fun - diving boards, floating rafts, and flying foxes were constructed. The kids made trails through the rainforest and spaces to camp with their friends. It just had to be the most idyllic, fun farm in the world.
As the children grew and left home however, the family playground found a new purpose - and Avocadoland opened its gates as a tourist attraction for the first time in 1983.
The farm tour enjoyed instant popularity - quickly becoming the premier tourist attraction in the region.
Bob's labour of love continued, and the property now grows hundreds of species of tropical fruit from all over the world. It boasts the largest display found anywhere in Australia, if not the world.
The plantation collection offers a number of exhibition gardens, displaying fruits by region:
- Chinese Garden (think lychees, wampis longans, mulberries)
- Inca Garden (eg. champagne fruit, mountain pawpaw)
- Sth East Asian Garden (eg. wax jambu, giant pommelo)
- Aztec Garden (eg. canistel, chocolate fruit)
- Indian Garden (eg. jakfruit, mangos, guavas)
- South Pacific Garden (eg. papaya, bananas, passionfruit)
- Tropical Berry Garden (eg. jaboticabas, cherry guavas and the amazing miracle fruit')
- Experimental Garden (eg. noni, goji)
- Bush Tucker Garden (eg. Davidson's plum, lemon myrtle, macadamias)
THE FARM TODAY
Bob's eldest child Judith Brinsmead took over the running of the business in 1990. Her team of more than 35 staff not only nurture the farm, but also provide guest services such as guided tours, cafe dining, and shopping for fresh fruit, trees and gifts.
The tour includes elements that draw on the fun activities the Brinsmead family created for their own enjoyment, and now share with visitors from all around the world. Boat and train rides, an animal farmyard, and a recreation area with putt-putt golf, volleyball, flying fox and games equipment are much-loved family activities. The Island recreation area is a space created by Aussie kids for kids at heart everywhere.
Avocadoland evolved into Australia's one and only Tropical Fruit World and changed it's name accordingly on 1 September 1995.
Tropical Fruit World has now welcomed more than 2 million visitors through the farm gates, and continues to celebrate nature's glory and a love of the land.