5 unmissable experiences in The Tweed

I have a confession to make. A few years ago, I visited The Tweed for the first time and fell utterly in love and subsequently made “tweed” my laptop password so that I would think of it every time I logged in, because it made me so happy. So, revisiting the area recently was a complete joy.

For starters The Tweed in Northern New South Wales is beautiful, an ancient caldera crowned by Wollumbin Mount Warning – the first point the sun touches in Australia each morning.

It commands over ancient rainforest, hinterland and fertile plains that extend to the ocean – the earth it has fed with minerals from its volcanic eruption eons past.

Scenic country views of Mount Warning in the Tweed Range.

The Tweed River winds like a plush silk ribbon through the caldera facilitating river cruises and there are hiking trails in the rainforests, but The Tweed’s most recent outdoors attraction is the heritage-listed Northern Rivers Rail Trail which follows an old railway line and encompasses 26 bridges and two tunnels.

Currently, The Tweed section, 24km from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek, is the only part open. Eventually, the trail will extend for 132km connecting Tweed Valley with Byron Shire, Lismore and Casino.

It was estimated that the trail would attract 23,000 visitors in the first year of opening but instead, a staggering 108,829 have come since the trail’s official opening in March 2023, smashing all expectations.

It’s a relaxed ride by e-bike and a beautiful way to see the countryside off the beaten track.

Northern Rivers Rail Trail with Better By Bike

Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

The easiest and most enjoyable way to do the trail is by e-bike, though you’ll pass many friendly locals walking sections of the trail as you ride.

Better By Bike provide e-bike hire and transfers, and in my case they even came along for the ride.

I started my ride at Murwillumbah Railway Station and chose to finish at the Natural Wine Shop at Burringbar Station (18.7km along the trail). There’s a cheese shop here too!

The trail is easy to traverse for beginners and is utterly picturesque, passing through shaded natural arches of hinterland forest, past cute railway villages, country stores, coffee shops, water fountains (the locals call them bubblers) and fruit stands that you can stop at along the way, and over bridges and through gentle farmland.

It was platypus breeding season, so I stopped for a while on a bridge hoping to see one. Not far from the start of the trail is a spectacular view of Wollumbin Mount Warning on your right.

At the 8km mark a stop at Hosanna Farmstay Café is recommended. The café serves great food and has live music at the weekends. It’s also very kid-friendly with animal encounters, including alpacas.

Another highlight is riding through the Burringbar Range Tunnel (Better By Bike run evening glow-worm rides through here too). You need to have your bike’s headlamp on to ride through the 524m tunnel as it’s pitch black at its centre.

Most of the trail is wheelchair friendly, and it’s open to dogs too, so expect to encounter a few friendlies.

Natural Wine Shop

Bron Harrison, owner of the Natural Wine Shop. Photo Carolyn Enting

Stop for a wine tasting at the Natural Wine Stop in Burringbar, which also has beer.

Chances are your host will be wine shop owner Bron Harrison – musician turned wine connoisseur – who is particularly passionate and knowledgeable about natural wines. Expect a selection of beers from local microbrewers as well as wines from Italy, France, Slovenia, Georgia, Argentina, Japan as well as local vintages.


Potager. Photo Cara Sophie

From banana farm to a multi-hatted award-winning restaurant, Potager: A Kitchen Garden is set on a 10-acre hilly farm with views out to the Gold Coast’s high rises and distant ocean, and its food is absolutely exquisite.

The service is also outstanding and the atmosphere is warm and friendly and because you’re dining in a converted farmhouse you really feel like you’re in someone’s home.

Potager is so good that people commit to driving 50 minutes from the Gold Coast to dine here making it a popular destination for locals and visitors from near and far.

Located in a lush part of The Tweed, its abundant garden provides 80 per cent of the fruit and vegetables on the menu with other produce sourced locally.

Potager garden. Photo Cara Sophie

Ballina prawns, char-grilled Australian Bay lobster, lamb with a macadamia crust mixed with fresh herbs from the garden, lemon myrtle tempura zucchini flowers and so many other delicate or divine-tasting dishes created by chef Mikey (Michael Lee who originally hails from Scotland).

You might eat burrata lovingly created in Tweed Heads. Or seafood from Northern Rivers Seafood. Bugs from Australian Bay Lobster in Chinderah. Meat from Byron Shire. Or Fair Game Wild Venison from across the Northern Rivers.

Some of the sensational seafood at Potager. Photo Carolyn Enting

And you’ll dine on tables made by local craftspeople and mostly on plates made by local potters. Your meals are also likely powered by solar.

Potager is only open from Friday to Sunday so book ahead to avoid disappointment.

Tropical Fruit World

Tropical Fruit World has a fruit stall where you can buy fresh produce. Photo Carolyn Enting

A fruitarian’s dream, Tropical Fruit World is so amazing I’ve visited it twice!

More than a tourist attraction, and more than a commercial farm, Tropical Fruit World is a labour of love and grows over 500 fruits from around the world, which depending on which season you visit you get the opportunity to savour.

Chocolate fruit black sapote, jackfruit, chempejak, guavas, avocados, bananas, dragonfruit, starfruit – too many to list!

Try black sapote aka chocolate fruit at Tropical Fruit World. Photo Carolyn Enting

The farm is set amongst rainforest, water catchments and rolling hills of volcanic mineral soil from the caldera of Wollumbin Mount Warning.

The long-running family business has a Biological Sustainable Horticulture philosophy and takes their custodianship of the land seriously as it seeks to educate, share and unlock nature’s secrets with visitors, community and family alike.

Tropical Fruit World offers an array of experiences – guided tours, fruit tastings, opportunities to shop at its fruit market, explore the farm nursery, and café. You can even take a short boat ride through the rainforest.

A boat ride through tropical rainforest is part of the experience at Tropical Fruit World. Photo Carolyn Enting

On the opposite side of the carpark, you’ll find renowned event venue ‘Plantation House,’ which has breathtaking views of the Tweed Valley and its mountain.

Husk Distillers

Enjoy a rum and gin tasting with food at Husk Distillers, North Tumbulgum.

The Tweed is also sugarcane country, so it makes sense to find a rum distillery here. Husk Distillers rum is only made from freshly crushed cane juice so its production is restricted to the harvest season from August to November.

Husk is famous for its Ink gin (a blue-coloured gin that turns pink when mixed with tonic). My other favourite is Husk Botanic – a botanically distilled gin-style rum with notes of grapefruit, native lemon myrtle and strawberry gum.

Ink Gin cocktails are available on the menu at Husk Distillers distillery and cellar door in North Tumbulgum.

The Distillery has a restaurant and offers tastings with a “spirit guide”, and of course you can purchase bottles of your favourite rum to take away.

The relaxed outdoor setting makes it a wonderful place to settle in with a few cocktails under an umbrella and while away an afternoon.

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