Our Orange World experience began with a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. We were served by Hamish, a friendly Scotsman who turned 75 the day we visited. We dipped ice-cream sticks to taste marmalades made by Mario's wife and orange honey harvested from hives in the orchard. These were included in the cost of our reasonably priced tour of this 50 acre citrus orchard. Orange World is on the Silver City Highway in Mourquong, a few minutes from Mildura. Just look for the big orange.
The introductions were complete when we met our tour guide and tractor train driver, Brian. Before we boarded, Brian demonstrated machinery sorting oranges by size and explained how the pickers' bag works. Then he grabbed a guitar and serenaded us with his Magic Mildura song. That was unexpected. During the song Mario appeared, handed out mandarins and gestured comically at Brian. These men are not just tour operators, they are showmen.
We travelled at a leisurely pace through groves of trees laden with navel oranges, the winter crop. There were mandarin trees grafted onto orange tree trunks and a grove of avocado trees. We drove past a picker hard at work, snipping at mandarin stems which have to be individually cut by secateurs, not picked from the trees like oranges.
We bought a nifty little orange peeler that removes peels as two perfect cups. We didn't climb the lookout tower - I don't like heights. I took a photo of my husband sitting between two laughing avocados on the bench seat outside. He took a photo of me inside the giant orange peel.
Orange World might not look like much from the outside but it is a whole lot of fun. It is open daily, except Christmas and New Year and the tractor train tours run two to three times a day. More details can be found on the website: www.orangeworldmildura.com.au