It was a true early autumn morning on Mount Tamborine today. It was cool and slightly damp with beautiful clear blue skies and very soon it got quite hot. We decided to take the walk to the Curtis Falls and then from there on down the creek. The Falls were good to look at and the river ran rapidly down the hill. The walk was rather muddy and we had to pick our way very carefully and Fran went flying on one occasion, although luckily there was no harm done except for a distinctly muddy pair of cream trousers and gilet.
The walk was through what would be regarded as rain-forest and there were some amazing examples of the Strangler Fig. This is unique since it grows from the top down. The seeds of the tree are dropped by birds who have eaten figs, at the top of an existing tree of another kind (for example a eucalyptus) and the fig then grows rapidly downwards and eventually goes into the ground and strangles and kills the other tree. It does not eat the nutrients out of the ground but from the air.
After a salad lunch in the sun we joined the rest of the group for a visit to the Avocado Farm owned and run by John and Lindy, who are on the tour. This is in Mount Tamborine and was instrumental in the pioneering days of the avocado industry in Australia. It has the oldest commercial block of avocado trees in the country and on the farm stands an 86 year old avocado tree which is listed on the national trust (see the picture with John and Lindy in front).
The visit was fascinating. All the cars assembled on the lawn and we had a guided tour. There are 12 varieties which include Hass , which is the type we get in the UK. They grow on trees which might each have up to 750 kilos of avocadoes. The trees are heavily pruned each 10 years (again as shown in photos) to just a few metres tall. As the Avocado is a rain forest tree if not pruned the tree will simply keep growing. The fruit are picked by hand according to size (not tree by tree). They are then washed and sorted and packed in the factory shed there and all of the local growers have their food packed and labelled here. The avocado has no real natural predator except recently the white cockatoo which apparently likes to take them off the tree but not eat them! Just destruction. It was a fascinating visit (picking is due to start next week and there were no free samples!!). Best prices are obtained for large fruit and the avocado ripens after picking not on the tree. As a bonus there was a Kookaburra on a pole as well.
Later we had a short drive out to a lookout and then drinks and dinner as usual. A few more people are leaving us today as we move on South