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Ask a local: Paul Messenger & Mandaley Perkins

17 December, 2019

Owners — Husk Distillers

In 2012 Paul Messenger and Mandaley Perkins bought a 150- acre cattle grazing property at North Tumbulgum with the idea of establishing Australia’s first paddock-to-bottle agricole rum distillery. It seemed crazy at the time, but they threw themselves into it, planting sugar cane and cutting, crushing, fermenting and distilling the juice by hand out of a small farm shed.

They also created Ink Gin, the world’s first colour-changing gin using organic botanicals and the remarkable butterfly pea flower. In 2019 they moved into a purpose-built distillery and opened to the public with a cellar door, bar, café and tours.

Explore: The Tweed is a hive of creativity and full of hidden gems. Murwillumbah is an artists’ hub, with the fantastic Tweed Regional Gallery and M-Arts Precinct’s gallery and space for local artists. We love the quirky Regent picture theatre in town or further afield the Brunswick Picture House for a night of cheeky cabaret!

Sip: For a drink, we can’t go past our own little slice of paradise here at Husk. When we do get a chance to knock off in time, nothing beats an end of week sunset cocktail on a blanket on the lawn – or maybe in a chair that was purloined from our house, so it really does feel like home!

Eat: We love a delicious lunch at one of the many gorgeous country restaurants like Potagers, Farm & Co and Mavis’s Kitchen. If we’re feeling lazy on a Friday night, takeaway woodfired pizza from House of Gabriel in Tumbulgum is always a winner.

Shop: Food shopping at the Murwillumbah markets is a favourite along with exploring shops in the outlying villages.

Do: Paul loves surfing so Kingscliff or Cabarita are perfect for him. For me it’s simply drinking in the beautiful countryside, whether on a drive or a new walk in the rainforest. The river at Tumbulgum is so beautiful that just heading to the post office is pleasant!