Summerland House Farm - House With No Steps
Summerland House Farm is an exciting House with No Steps business which has transformed a working macadamia and avocado farm into a large scale agritourism destination for the Northern Rivers area.
Summerland House Farm was established in 1972 as a regional operation for the House with No Steps organisation founded by Lionel Watts in Sydney some 10 years earlier. The organisation is dedicated to creating opportunities for people with a disability to make the most of their abilities. House with No Steps businesses and community services have been established around 160 locations along the east coast of Australia, all working towards the empowerment, respect, inclusion, commitment and achievement of people living with a disability Celebrating 40 years in 2012, and with over 90 people with a disability employed at the site, Summerland House Farm has gone from strength to strength as the agricultural hub of the region and in more recent times, as a must-see tourist attraction and education centre with over 150 000 visitors per year.
Located on 172 acres on the scenic Alstonville plateau, the farm has sweeping views of the east coast line and hinterland avocado and macadamia farms. Visitors to the farm are treated to a number of educational experiences all set in peaceful tropical grounds. This peaceful, ambient surrounds is what has made the farm a popular wedding venue and café for locals from miles around. The combination of quality activities, well maintained gardens and the friendly ‘feel-good’ service of the disability employees, makes Summerland House Farm something very community focused and unique.
There’s definitely something for everyone at this attraction. For the young families there is a water park and large, fully fenced playground. For the gourmet there’s one of the largest regional food showcases in the region, with just about every delicious concoction to come from the Northern Rivers food bowl. There’s an unusual interactive nine hole mini golf course with all the noise and moving bits expected from a popular course, including a loud macadamia dehusking processor which pretends the ball is a macadamia -a big hit with the visitors.
There’s a nursery, a gift shop and even a museum, dedicated to the inspirational life of Lionel Watts, the organisation’s founder. This story alone leaves visitors with goose bumps, as they learn how one person’s personal tragedy changed the lives of so many people around the world. It’s a must see display and a valuable educational experience.
One of the newest editions to the farm is a large scale, state of the art hydroponic tomato facility with over 4000 tomato plants grown for national markets and providing a fascinating modern agricultural experience for visitors. The farm is the agricultural hub of the region, also housing a large scale packing and distribution system for avocados and tropical fruits from regional farmers. All fruit is graded and packaged on the farm and sent off to major wholesale markets and supermarkets around the country. The farm also dehusks and processes over 1500 tonnes of macadamias per year.
The new Tractor Tour operates at 11am and 2pm 7 days a week, and is the jewel in the crown for this quality attraction. Groups are welcome and school project sheets are available at www.summerlandhousefarm.com.au.
Alstonville , New South Wales
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