6 April 2006

Impulsive Tropical Fruit

Buggies. Bruggies. Not the same!
After attending morning Mass and taking a last minute stroll through the grounds we mounted up and drove away. We had no particular plans on where or when we would stop as the total driving time would be about 14 hours or so to home.
By around midday we saw a Big Avacado, promoting a tempting place called Tropical Fruit World. The sign said it was the next exit so we decided to check it out.
The first sign we saw when we arrived was this one: No Buggies. We checked that they hadn't incorrectly missed an "R" and excluded us, but we were OK.
The entry fees would have cost us $150 so we decided to just visit the shop (and rest rooms) and buy some fresh fruit. An announcement was made over the speakers that fruit tasting was about to start. I asked the fellow at the counter if that was free or part of admission. He said it was part of the ticket price. "I can't afford $150, so we'll have to pass." I replied.
"How many kids do you have?" he asked.
"Only six," I replied.
"I can do it for $94.." he said.
"Nah. That's OK."
"How about $79?"
"Hang on a tick ..." I said as I checked with Lana. The price included a tour of the farm, train ride, animal farm visit and fruit tasting.
"OK, you're on."
We then had to rush to the buggy which was about to leave as we spoke.

This leaf smells like mango.
The tour guides rotated between each of the roles and they were very helpful. The Tropical Fruit World is a fully operational farm with over 500 Tropical Fruits under cultivation. As we travelled in the buggy behind a tractor we were shown many of the fruits and occasionally stopped to sample a piece of fruit direct from the tree or smell one of the leaves such as Peter is doing here. After the farm tour we were left at a feeding and petting zoo-style area with a variety of animals including an emu (shown here being fed by Ariel), wallabies, a horse, donkeys and others.

Emus are really messy eaters.
We were then transported in a little river boat and shown the wetlands, spotting a number of large lizards and lots of different plant and bird life. We arrived at "Treasure Island" which contained a playground, barbeque and lunch area and miniature railroad. We all had a ride on the railroad and finally ended up back at the start.
But the activities were not yet completed.
The Tropical Fruit tasting was next.
This little picture is a sample of some of the fruit we tasted. The show started late as the fellow in charge of the show was actually out in the farm picking some really fresh pieces of fruit for us to try.
He explained all the benefits of each fruit, where they are normally found, when they ripen and so on.
Tropical Fruit to try. Yummm.
The fellow started working at Tropical Fruit World over ten years ago when he tried a Rollinia fruit. He said it tasted like a Lemon Merangue Pie, and once he tried one he was determined to get a job there.
He was right about the Rollinia. With a little lime juice squeezed on, it really DID taste like a Lemon Merangue pie! Other fruits included Dragonfruit, different types of Pap paw (Papaya), custard fruit and whatever else they grew which was in season.
Once all the children had eaten enough fruit (and there was certainly enough available to fill all of them) we purchased some Rollinia for us to try at home with Lana's Mum and Dad and moved on.
We had to stop at Port Macquarie to pick up some of Lana's Cross stitches which we had organised to be framed so we decided to stop there overnight. One of Lana's old school friends helped us find a reasonably priced caravan park where we finally stopped just before 9:00pm.

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