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From Coast to Country on the Tweed River

November 22, 2014 - Southern Gold Coast

It’s another beautiful day on the Tweed Coast! We are standing on the NSW Queensland border and watching the surfers on the most Northern beach in NSW. Can you guess where we are? We’re at the Point Danger lookout. The surfers below are riding a famous surf break known as D’bah. (pronounced Dee-bah) I’m sure Brett would’ve loved to be one of the guys out the back, catching a few waves. Not having brought a board he was content to sit and take in the action on the waves for a while.

Just across the road with amazing views of “D’bah”through to Snapper Rocks & Rainbow Bay is Café DBar.

DBar is a family owned business run by chef and surfer Steve Archdeacon, his wife Donna and their three girls. Steve is passionate about the things he loves and has encapsulated them all in this vibrant space. DBar is exciting combination of the best ART, FOOD & VIEWS in one beautiful destination by the beach.

The café was buzzing when we arrived.

We were shown to a table upstairs with sweeping views over beach.

Brett couldn’t take his eyes of the waves but mine were firmly fixed on the menu. YUM!! So many interesting and delicious choices. The great thing about being a mum with two children is if I can’t decide what to order, I choose three dishes. When the meals arrive I take a bite from each and keep my favourite. This was my ordering strategy at DBar and it was a great option. I was able to sample the French Toast which was smothered in Canadian Maple Syrup and served with a Rhubarb & Raspberry Jam. I also tried the Grilled Banana bread drizzled with a lemon myrtle syrup and topped with banana, strawberry and macadamia, delicious! The keeper was the smashed avocado and Persian feta served on thick slice of sunflower seed toast and topped with basil and sundried tomatoes.

After wandering around the adjoining D’Bar Art gallery and choosing a few Christmas gifts it was time to set off for Tropical Fruit World.

Opened to the public in 1983, Tropical Fruit World would have to be the healthiest theme park. They grow 518 different types of fruit and 1000 different varieties. We started our tour with a tasting of some of the more exotic fruits grown on the property.

Moving on from the tasting, visitors experience a tractor ride through the picturesque farm. The commentary is fascinating, as the plants and their origins are explained by the guide. We stopped under the shade of a tree and was able to try a popular indigenous nut. The Macadamia nut is one of Australia’s great bush tukka foods which has risen to commercial popularity.

Next we take a seat on the Tropical Fruit World boat and grab a handful of bread to feed the ducks. The ducks certainly know what time it is and they’re ready for the treat. Some varieties of bird life are more adventurous than others and virtually walk on water to chase the boat.

Anais is first to spot Sherman, a big old Clydesdale horse. We have disembarked from our cruise and entered a barnyard setting, full of farm animals and their babies. The kids loved patting them all. Both Anais and Locky were enthralled as the animals ate from their hands. Locky had a particularly hungry sheep that snatched the bag from him and ate the lot! The bag and all the contents!

Just next door to the farmyard is a bushland reserve which houses kangaroos, wallabies and emus. Getting up close to the emu was an experience, they’re such an ancient creature. I have never really been close enough before to appreciate this strange native bird.

Tropical Fruit World is a whole day of family fun. We would have loved to spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around the park. Access to the children’s play island is included in the park ticket.

We had time for a quick bite to eat in the Plantation café and then we were off on another adventure.

The old Australian river towns are steeped in the history of a bygone era. Tumbulgum is one such town. Located on the intersection of the Tweed & Rous River the village is home to some gorgeous National Heritage buildings which now house art galleries, cafes and boutique giftwares shops. Even the local tavern is heritage listed! On the weekend the population of this sleepy town swells as Tweed Coast residence take advantage of the wide river for all manner of watersports.

Mt Warning Tours operates their Kayaking tours and self guided experiences from the Tumbulgum Pontoon. We meet our guides Glen and Michael who explain that due to the wind conditions today we are in for a short upper body workout as we cross the Tweed River into the still waters of the Rous River.

This is a welcome piece of news for me as I have been enjoying far too much good food on the Tweed Coast. A little bit of exercise is not going to go astray. We have three canoes Glen has Locky who prefers to take the more leisurely option of letting the adult do most of the paddling. Brett is with Anais who is a real trooper! The two of them power through the choppy waters and in no time we’re all in the still waters of the Rous River enjoying the abundant birdlife. It such a serene, natural environment. Our guides shares more local aboriginal and historic knowledgeable with us about the area.

As we continue to chat we paddle to a beautiful secluded spot in the river which is completely hidden from the world. Michael explains that this is their Zen lagoon. The female guides take guests to this spot for a yoga class on the stand up paddle boards. I love yoga and I cannot imagine what an amazing experience it would be to take a yoga class in this lagoon.

This has been added to my list of “Must Do” activities.

It shame we didn’t have more time as Michael teased me with all the other great holiday options Mt Warning 4WD tours have available. Some of these excursions included a farm stay on a property of over 3000 acres in the mountains.

With happy but weary children we located our accommodation in the hills at Duranbah. We are calling the Tropical Coast Retreat home for the next two nights. The self contained accommodation is located high on a picturesque hill which overlooks the Tweed Valley and has views all the way to Cabarita beach.

We’re taken on a tour of the property which includes a vast array of tropical fruit trees and beautiful flowering plants.

The children seems to find a hidden energy reserve the moment they noticed the pool. The little water rats were back in the pool for a quick dip before we made our way to Tumbulgum for dinner in the historic tavern.

I love how all the pubs these days are kid friendly and do amazing food! Tumbulgum Tavern is doing both these things brilliantly. The play area was full of kids turning cartwheels, play equipment for all ages and happy parents.

As were perused the menu Brett announced, “We’re in steak country, I’m going steak! Fire up the grill”

“Hmm” I asked, “Are you sure this isn’t seafood territory?” I’m looking at the Gravlax Stack or the Prawn & Avocado Bake with Macadamia.

“Nope, it’s beef country now but let’s make it a surf and turf!”

With the big decisions out of the way we enjoyed the view of the Tweed River and took a moment to relax after our jam packed day!

The peaceful sunset was disturbed occasionally with Bretts oohing and aahing over his steak. When I could take it no more I asked for a taste. God it was good! That charred flavour was amazing, and the steak was cooked perfectly rare and juicy! Yep good food done well.

We drifted off to sleep with a choir of frogs and gekkos serenading us into dreamland.

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