Totally Tropical

Coffee, bananas, tea, sugar, mangoes, cereals – everything for the breakfast table. With that in mind we started our day with a tour of a coffee plantation. We tried to pick one of the smaller more personal farms and in the end went for Jacques Brothers Coffee. Theirs is an interesting story. They originally came from South Africa in their 20’s. Sadly they had to leave South Africa because of the very unstable political situation. They already had experience of growing coffee so they toured Australia in an old van and eventually found an area in Queensland with the ideal climate for growing coffee. They bought land, cleared it and planted coffee plants which take 5 years to mature. Picking the coffee beans by hand in Australia would be too expensive so they set about developing a machine which would do it for them. After many abortive attempts they got a machine that would work and the original is still at work today.

When the business was well established a bad financial depression in the 80’s put bank interest rates up to 22%. Despite having a full crop ready for harvest the bank foreclosed on them and they lost everything. However, they came back, bought and cleared more land and planted more plants. As they were about to harvest their first major crop the government mistakenly sprayed their land with a chemical designed to kill fruit fly and destroyed the whole crop. Again they replanted and today they have a thriving coffee business that their 2 sons now run. The coffee is excellent and can be bought online. They ship all over the world. We had a very informative couple of hours looking around the plantation followed by a tasting.

Later we visited a mango winery and had a wine tasting. They had dry, medium, sweet and sparkling wines. It all tasted good but we think we’ll stick to our wine made the old fashioned way with grapes.

We were late leaving the Tableland area and still had 250kms to get to Cooktown. The drive over the Great Dividing Range was spectacular but slow (Geoffrey doesn’t like long steep hills). We stopped a little short of Cooktown at a small campsite behind the Lions Den Hotel. A great little spot where we dined out on the terrace with another couple who were also staying on the site. A super end to a long day.

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The Campsite

The campsite is based near Beccles in the Waveney Valley in Suffolk.

Dove Cottage,
Waterheath Road,
NR34 0DQ

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Sales and Rentals are at Norwich Camping and Leisure

Norwich Camping and Leisure,
58 Yarmouth Road,
NR13 4LQ

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