Macadamias have been growing in South East Queensland for 60 million years and the region is now the biggest commercial producer of our native nut. So it’s no surprise that Queensland offers some amazing (and authentic) macadamia experiences. Here are five of our favourites.
1 – Enjoy a farmstay with a macadamia twist on the Scenic Rim
Greenlee Farm, operated by Paul and Robyn Lee, welcome guests onto their working macadamia farm to stay in their contemporary farmstay cottages. Tastefully decorated with modern facilities and rustic charm, all four of the cottages feature a private deck with breathtaking views of the Canungra Valley. Visitors have the opportunity to see a working macadamia farm in action during farm tours – and of course sample the local produce! Visit in spring to experience the beauty of a macadamia orchard in blossom or in autumn for all the excitement of the harvest!
2 – Experience true paddock to plate (and back again!) dining in Noosa
Ogilvie Group established Maravista Farm to supply its iconic Noosa-based restaurants with organically-grown, seasonal produce. They took a working macadamia plantation and added several vegetable plots, a 2.5-acre culinary garden and a micro herb nursery to ensure their chefs got their pick of the freshest, local ingredients. In order to grow fruits, vegetables and nuts without pesticides, Maravista Farm transforms food waste from their restaurant kitchens into the organic compost vital to improving the soil on the farm. Maravista Farm is only open for special events, but visitors to Noosa can experience paddock to plate (and back again!) dining with produce grown from a local macadamia farm at the following venues: Rickys, Locale Noosa, Wood Fire Grill and Aromas Noosa.
3 – See the amazing potential of macadamia shells as an energy source (that’s right!) in Bundaberg
Macadamias Australia opened their Visitor Experience centre on the main road into Bundaberg to showcase the potential of Australia’s native nut. Nestled within a working macadamia orchard, this visitor centre uses all parts of the macadamia. The interiors are decorated with macadamia wood and the cafe serves delectable local nuts. They even use macadamias to keep the lights on! By burning the super-hard macadamia shells in a special low-oxygen furnace, Macadamias Australia creates valuable biochar to fertilise the orchard. At the same time, this process creates electricity to power the cracking plant and warmth to dry out the nuts! Inspiring locals and tourists alike, this experience is a proud showcase for the versatility and environmental sustainability of Australia’s native nut.
4 – Experience the macadamia journey from crack to pack in the Sunshine Coast hinterland
Nutworks gives visitors the chance to experience first-hand what happens to macadamias after they leave the farm. Nestled in the heart of the macadamia country, visitors to Nutworks can get behind the scenes glimpses of factory processing, chocolate panning and roasting from the retail store floor. Happily, Nutworks also offers free samples of their retail range every day. It’s a truly unique and profoundly delicious local food learning experience!
5 – Hunt for macadamias in the wild throughout all of South East Queensland
Because macadamias originated in South East Queensland, it’s possible to hunt for them in the wild! Although the rainforests where they once flourished have diminished over time, you can still find wild macadamias in suburban backyards, acreage blocks, pastoral properties, old orchards and local parks. So wherever you are staying keep your eyes peeled! If you want to be sure of what you are seeing, head to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Garden Point. At the southern end of the garden’s rainforest, you can find the Walter Hill tree which was planted by European botanist Walter Hill in 1858 from seeds from Gympie. The tree is believed to be the world’s first commercially-grown macadamia and still produces nuts!
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