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More romantically known as Duck Creek Mountain in its early days, Alstonville today is a tidy, well-established town offering many services. It is the regional centre of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and is handily situated for exploration of both the coast and the hinterland.
The nearby Victoria Park is a 17.5-hectare remnant of the 'Big Scrub', the original all-but-impenetrable rainforest that once covered this entire area. It was the Big Scrub that first attracted Europeans, particularly the beautiful 'red gold' timber from the Australian red cedar, toona australis, which was extracted to the point where barely a mature tree of the species survived. The timber was channelled down Duck Creek to the Richmond River, the shipped to Ballina and the world. Many of eastern Australia's historic houses have cedar doors, windows, architraves and staircases, as well as being furnished with tables, sideboards and wardrobes made from this rich, dark red, durable timber.
It is said that the soil around Alstonville is 12 metres deep, and is amongst the best agricultural land in Australia. It's sad to see that much of it has been covered in brick veneerials but - in place of the now-defunct dairies that followed the removal of the rainforests - plantations of macadamias, avocados, pecans, coffee and landscaping nurseries also thrive.
Alstonville has given its name to a variety of tibouchina, a plant native to Brazil, which has intense puce-purple flowers. The late Ken Dunstan bred the plant that has become synonymous with the north coast town, and which flowers over a long period throughout autumn, adding brilliant colour to the town and the wider region.
The Summerland House with No Steps takes full advantage of the horticultural possibilities of this region. Set on sixty-nine hectares just outside Alstonville, the house trains and offers work opportunities to people with disabilities. The core business of the house is a thriving nursery business of native and exotic plants, as well as offering a packaging and grading service for local growers. Visitors can relax and enjoy the tea-room and craft shop staffed by disabled people.
- Alstonville Settlers Motel - Stay between the mountains and the sea.
Alstonville Country Cottages - The 2 bedroom and 1 bedroom cottages are situated on terraces full of native plants and flowers and fruit trees.
Regional Towns & Villages
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