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Tropical Fruit World review

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If you're looking for things to do on the Gold Coast as a family, Tropical Fruit World in northern NSW is a great destination for kids and parents alike.

TROPICAL FRUIT WORLD SUMMARY

Tropical Fruit World offers a surprisingly varied, informative and tasty destination experience for families looking for something to do while staying on the Gold Coast or near Byron Bay.

OUR SCORE: ★★★★


Key Information

  • Address: 29 Duranbah Road, Duranbah, NSW 2487
  • Adult tickets: $52.50
  • Concession tickets: $42.00
  • Child ticket: $32.00 (4 to 16)
  • Opening times: 9am to 4pm
  • Highlight: Learning the way First Nations people used native flora, and trying it for ourselves.
  • Family friendly: All ages are catered for.
  • Reviewer: Family of 5 (kids aged 10, 8 and 6)

Pros and cons

  • Eat plenty of really tasty food
  • Wide range of experiences
  • Plenty of insightful information
  • Kids allowed to be kids
  • A bit of a drive from Surfers Paradise
  • No swimming or cooldown option on hot days
  • Downtempo: don't expect any thrills
  • A few more animals in petting zoo would be nice

Buy your Tropical Fruit World ticket

When you think of fun family activities to do on the Gold Coast, some obvious contenders pop straight to mind. The theme parks; the beaches; the Surfers Paradise strip – these kinds of things. Tropical Fruit World perhaps doesn't pop onto your radar in quite the same blockbuster fashion.

Tropical Fruit World

Fruit or waterworks? Tough choice, right?

When I threw my 3 kids (10, 8 and 6) into the car and made the short 20-minute drive from Coolangatta to Tropical Fruit World, I'll admit my expectations were low. I was hoping we might get a couple of hours out of it. I had been there decades earlier when it was Avocadoland, and all I had to show for that was a mental image of a giant Persea Americana towering over the highway.

Tropical Fruit World

5 hours later and I am happy to declare this fruit wonderland ripe for the picking.

Tropical Fruit World

Where is Tropical Fruit World?

Although thought of as a Gold Coast tourist destination, Tropical Fruit World is on the NSW side of the border. It's 20 minutes from Coolangatta and should take you less than an hour from Surfers Paradise or Byron Bay.

Tropical Fruit World

Situated on a 200-acre family farm, it sits at the edge of a richly fertile volcanic basin.

How much is Tropical Fruit World?

An adult is $52.50, a concession is $42 and a child (4–16) is $33. There are 2 family options at $140 (2 adults + 2 kids: 18% saving) and $150 (2 adults + 3 kids: 26% saving).

I very much appreciate Tropical Fruit World having a more realistic child age bracket to many other destinations. And also for having a family-of-5 option. I do wish they had a cheap "extra kid" price for families of 6 or more.

Tropical Fruit World

What to expect at Tropical Fruit World

On arrival, there are a few toys and playthings for the kids to muck around with as you await the tour's start. A short walk from the main centre takes you to an outback-style theatre. Here you get to learn about the farm, its hundreds of fruit varieties and the history of the region. You also get a tasting plate with some exotic selections on it.

Most of the fruit and food presented I'd never had before and neither had my kids. It's seasonal, but as an example, we had custard apple, nashi and papaya. There was also the yummiest avocado I've ever tasted. So straight away, there's a sense of discovery.

Once completed, you jump into an open-walled carriage that is pulled by a tractor around the farm. The knowledgeable driver gives you insights into the many fruit trees you go past, with the kids able to reach out and grab at leaves as you go. The tractor stops halfway so you can get out to taste more food and break open some nuts.

Eventually you end up at the bottom of the farm, where a short walk takes you to a petting zoo. There are a few farm animals – cows, sheep, goats, donkeys – and a handful of native fauna – kangaroos, emus – to feed and engage with. It's pretty rudimentary really, but the kids still loved it. Tropical Fruit World could potentially beef up this part of the experience a little.

Tropical Fruit World

Next you get onto a flat-bottomed boat and head on a little tour down a stream. Turtles, lizards and birds take centre stage, and you'll learn more about the land, those who work it and the creatures that live on it.

Tropical Fruit World

Tropical Fruit World

Talking to country

The cruise terminates at a cultural centre, which was my favourite part of the entire experience. You dive into a fascinating tour into how Indigenous Australians used local native plants and fruit not just to eat, but to create drinks, medicines, paints and more.

A nearby playground and some sports equipment sadly meant the kids didn't pay much attention, outside of trying some of the nutrient sources of our first peoples. I found it incredibly insightful and learned a lot. I also loved how welcoming the staff were, happy to talk and offer more information when I came to them afterwards with questions. There is a genuine sense that they love what they do.

The tractor then returns you to the main building. There's a gift shop filled with produce and a cafe. The selection in the cafe isn't broad, but it does stick true to the Tropical Fruit World experience. The food and ice cream use ingredients previously heard about during the tour itself and made onsite.

Tropical Fruit World

Verdict

All up, I feel like the tour lasted close to 3 hours, but we spent another hour at least afterwards trying food from the cafe, getting ice creams and looking through all the cool stuff in the gift shop. And usually I walk through those without stopping, so that says a lot. I even bought some things, which is unheard of!

My low expectations for Tropical Fruit World were unjustified. It's more than a one-trick pony, offering a far broader experience than you'd expect from its name. And I walked out with not only a stomach filled with tasty food, but a brain swelled with the information I value. As a result, I'm happy to recommend Tropical Fruit World as a downtempo family activity during your stay on the Gold Coast.

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