The World Heritage Rainforest Centre and Visitor Information Centre
The World Heritage Rainforest Centre is in Budd Park, on the eastern bank of the Tweed River, this is an unusual combination of a Rainforest Centre, a significant artwork and a place where visitors can get assistance. The Rainforest Centre offers an excellent introduction to the Green Caldera region and the Tweed Valley.
Caldera Art Gallery (connected to the World Heritage Rainforest Centre)
Caldera Art is attached to the World Heritage Rainforest Centre and overseen by artist, Andy Reimanis. The aim of this small gallery is that everything exhibited “must somehow engage with the flora or fauna of the local area”. This makes it a useful overview of the local environment. As well there is a huge mural, Green Cauldron Panorama, which depicts the 360° view from the summit of Mount Warning. The idea of the panorama was dreamed up in 2011 and took a year to execute. A team of artists completed the painting with landmarks labelled and the result being an advertisement for the idyllic Tweed caldera complete with sheer escarpments and the rich valley edged by the Pacific Ocean.
Murwillumbah Town Centre Heritage Walk
The Visitor Information Centre has a brochure which lists a modest ten places of historic interest in the Murwillumbah town centre. It can be downloaded here. Of these the most interesting are on or near Murwillumbah Street, often referred to as Main Street, and include the Tweed Regional Museum which was the local Shire Council building from 1915-1946; the Walter Vernon-designed Federation-style courthouse (1909) and the related police station (c.1905) and outbuildings; and Budd Park which is home to the Caldera Art Gallery and Visitor Information Centre.
Tweed River Regional Museum
Located at the corner of Queensland Road and Bent Street is the old Shire Council building which operated from 1915-1946 and was taken over by the local historical society in 1988. It was upgraded and reopened in 2004 with exhibits emphasising the patterns of settlement, industry and agriculture in the valley. “The Museum has fascinating sections devoted to the history of local industries such as timber cutting, dairying, banana growing and early life in Murwillumbah. There is a History of Radio room and an extensive rock collection of ‘thunder eggs’. Outside the museum is a large Robey Steam Engine, which was brought to Murwillumbah from England in 1907. It was possibly used for pumping water out of the mines and later drove a saw mill on the western side of Mt Nullum.” It is open Tuesday to Friday, and the first Saturday of each month, from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, tel: (02) 6670 2273. The website contains additional information. Check it out.
Murwillumbah Murals Guided Walk
Andy Reimanis and David Adams have organised a 105 minute walk which is held on the first Saturday of each month, starts at the Caldera Art Gallery, crosses the Tweed and explores the town including the remarkable 700 metre long Treasures of the Tweed mural which celebrates the Tweed Valley’s unique biodiversity. It then passes up Murwillumbah Street to the Tweed Regional Museum on Queensland Road. Bookings are essential, tel: (02) 6672 1340.
Lions Lookout Walk
This relatively short walk (2 km return but defined as “Medium-Hard – steep ascent and descent”) starts at Knox Park, goes up Brisbane Street to Main Street where it turns into Queensland Road and then into Bent Street. On top of the hill is the Lion’s Lookout by the town reservoir. They provide excellent views over the town, river and surrounding canefields. There is a brochure which can be downloaded here.
South Bank River Walk
The Visitor Information Centre has a brochure which lists a modest ten places of interest on a walk which starts at the Visitor Centre, crosses the Tweed, does a circuit of the town centre and then heads upstream before cutting back to the Centre. It is an easy, flat walk of 3.2 km return.
Tweed River Art Gallery
This is no ordinary gallery. Established in a beautifully located modern building with superb views over the Tweed Valley and towards Mount Warning, it was built in 2004 and extended in 2006. In 2014 it added the Margaret Olley home studio, a wonderfully chaotic re-creation of the artist’s studio, to its already impressive exhibition spaces including the permanent Australian Portrait Collection of both paintings and photography. It is located 2 km south of Murwillumbah via the Tweed Valley Way and Mistral Road (it is clearly signposted) and is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm. Admission is free, tel: (02) 6670 2790. Check out their website for more details.