Visiting a tea plantation is every bit as fascinating as a vineyard tour, and you don’t need a designated driver
Hitting the wineries is a weekend pastime that’s popular all over Australia – as long as you’re south of Brisbane, that is. Up in Far North Queensland, the neat green rows that line the roads are more likely to be tea bushes.
Pockets of black and green tea are grown from northern New South Wales (Madura Tea Estate) to Victoria (Two Rivers Green Tea) and even Tasmania (Tasmanian Tea Co). But the tropical rainforest region of FNQ is the heartland of the Aussie industry, where the majority of its fresh leaf tea is grown.
The zigzagging green fields of the Nucifora Tea plantation at Palmerston, a two-hour drive south of Cairns, has featured in many an Instagram shot, and it has a self-service roadside stall selling its loose-leaf tea. At the Daintree Tea Company near Cape Tribulation in the middle of the spectacular Daintree Rainforest, you can stop by at the shaded roadside center to look at old photos and machinery displays.
Nerada typically harvests more than 6.6 million kilos of the green leaf a year, producing around 90 percent of tea grown in Australia. Owned by third-generation tea producers the Russell family, Nerada is celebrating 50 years in 2021.
Visitors to Nerada are invited to take a farm tour – a guided drive through the plantation (look out for the endangered Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroos that live here) – or a blending experience where you learn how to create a tea to your own taste, and take home your bespoke blend.
Or perhaps you might prefer to simply sit in the on-site tearoom, set against the stunning emerald backdrop of the plantation. Order a Devonshire tea with scones and jam or the full high tea experience, paired with the freshest brew money can buy.
This article originally appeared on Escape