of The Botanical Ark Retreat
We have been collecting tropical fruit and nut trees from around the world since the late 1970s and now grow about 500 species. Of these, we usually have about 30 fruiting at any one time but it can be as many as 80. One February, we picked all we could find and were astounded to assemble 116 different kinds of fruit and nuts. You can see this beautiful display on our poster. A bowl of whatever fruits are in season greet guests at the Botanical Ark Retreat with and many find the garden tour a highlight.
Let’s look at a small sample of what we have brought back from different regions around the world.
Fruit from South and Central America
We can thank South and Central America for delicious foods that are familiar to us all, like the pineapple, avocado, brazil nuts, and papaya. And imagine, if you dare, what the world would be like without cacao. That is what we use to make chocolate.
The mammea come from a tall luxuriant evergreen tree, producing grapefruit-sized fruit with flesh that resembles – wait for it – apricot marmalade!
What about the mammey sapote? This large fruit, about 10cm to 20cm, with a rough skin, has a smooth orange pulp that is great in ice creams.
Fruit from South East Asia
Anybody who has visited a South East Asian market will be familiar with the infamous durian. Not because they may have tasted it, but because they would have said, “What’s that smell?” Its rich odour repels many from even tasting it. Yet those who do get past its pungent odour (and very sharp spines!) can enjoy one of the richest fruits on earth. That’s what we think, anyway.
Also in store is what many call ‘the finest fruit in existence’. The remarkable mangasteen (no relation to the mango) is about 7cm across, with a dark purple case that reveals startling white flesh segments that dissolve on the tongue with the most pleasant, delicate, and sweet taste imaginable.
Fruit from Africa and Madagascar
The itanga, 4-12cm, is one of Central Africa’s most important fruits. These mainly purple fruits are soaked in hot water to soften and is actually used as a vegetable, tasting like a sour avocado.
The ngutukpana, about 8cm long, has a orange/red bumpy skin with translucent, orange, and sweet pulp.
The 8cm and square-ish shaped kaso produce 4-5 large and hard seeds on a vine and need to be boiled or roasted before eating.
The bolongo produces small fruit, about 8mm, that grow in bunches like grapes, but these grow directly from the trunks of the tree. The orange-pink skin splits to reveal a sweet/sour scant pulp around each seed.
Fruit from the Pacific and Australia
The Pacific Islands would not be the Pacific Islands if it wasn’t for two particular trees; the coconut and the breadfruit. We consider the breadfruit the most important fruit growing at The Botanical Ark. It is the only tree that can produce enough fruit to feed an entire family for an entire year. It is such a versatile fruit and we use it in soups, breads, chips, pasta, pastries, and puddings.
Throughout the western Pacific is the dawa or taun. These 2-4cm fruits grow in bunches, are either green, yellow, purple, red, or black, and the thin brittle skin encases a translucent, sweet, juicy flesh.
The buk-buk from Papua New Guinea is a 100-150mm-long green fruit that contains a sweet milky pulp.
Contrary to popular thought, the macadamia nut does not come from Hawaii. It comes from Australia. As do the Bunya Bunya nuts. These 4cm nuts come from large cones, some weighing up to 8kg. Aborigines have harvested and roasted these nuts for thousands of years. The Bunya are becoming popular in ‘bush tucker’ markets.
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Garden Tour reviews
You can book a garden tour when you book your stay at The Botanical Ark Retreat on this website.
"The visit at the Botanical Ark was ..................... we can't find words for it --- more then exceptional --it will stay in our mind as a long life experience. It was amazing and we learned a lot (which is truly under estimated to say it in this way)."
Andrea and Manfred, Germany.
“The best experience yet on our Around The World Trip, Thank you.”
Roy and Sam, USA
Winner of Channel 7's Australia's Best Backyards 2007.
Read more about this and other awards.
“An amazing garden”
Sunday Life Magazine
“A Noah’s ark of plants.”
“A rainforest garden sanctuary.”
Asia-Pacific Troical Homes
Read more from the media
Our (approx.) location
Precise location and directions are emailed for confirmed bookings.