It’s hard to imagine a place better suited to producing macadamias than the area where they first evolved 60 million years ago - the north east coast of Australia. With just the right soil, just the right climate, and just the right group of dedicated growers it truly is the natural home of the world’s finest nut.
As the leading producer of macadamias in the world, Australia contributes more than 30% of the global crop. Each year 70% of the Australian crop is exported to over 40 countries. Our major export markets are Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Europe and North America, but our biggest market is Australia itself.
The macadamia is the only native Australian crop that has ever been developed and traded internationally as a commercial food product. Today macadamias are the third largest Australian horticultural export, an outstanding achievement for an industry that only commenced commercial production in the 1960s and was unknown outside of Queensland before this time. After decades of hard work and careful development, the Australian macadamia industry is now worth more than $200 million annually, employs thousands of people and contributes millions of dollars to regional economies.
The fact that the macadamia industry has achieved so much in such a short period is a credit to our growers. Very little was known about commercial production in the early years of the industry, and many challenges have been solved through Aussie ingenuity and the sustained passion of a few who could see the potential of the magical macadamia. It is important to note that it is the growers themselves who continue to invest up to $2 million each year in research and development. It is these same growers who are proud to produce a nut that is regarded as the finest in the world.
As a world leader, the Australian industry takes its responsibility to future generations seriously. It makes a significant annual investment in many initiatives including conserving the endangered wild macadamia species, regenerating rainforest on farm to preserve the natural ecosystem, and developing biological controls to combat pest and disease.
It’s not surprising that Australian macadamias are preferred by millions around the world and right here in Australia.
Australians certainly love their macadamias. According to a recent study, 83% of purchasers love the taste of macadamias more than any other nut while almost two thirds think they make any occasion more special. We couldn’t agree more!
Our macadamia growers range from third generation farmers to white collar tree changers.
All have one thing in common, a passion for macadamias.
Download one of our colouring or fun fact sheets or take a look at some of our videos including The life of a macadamia, How to roast your own, How to crack a macadamia nut, How to make macadamia butter and Macadamia harvesting.
The story of the macadamia began thousands of years ago, in the rainforest along the north east coast of Australia.
Before European settlement, Aboriginal people congregated on the eastern slopes of Australia’s Great Dividing Range to feed on the seed of two evergreen trees, one of which they called ‘Kindal Kindal’ which was the macadamia. Aboriginal peoples had other names for macadamia including Boombera, Jindill & Baupal.
It can take 10 to 15 years before a macadamia tree reaches maturity and maximum yield. Mature trees grow to heights of between 12 and 15 metres and have shiny dark green leaves.
Macadamias are mostly grown in northern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland thanks to their sub-tropical climates. Recently there have also been significant increases in plantings of trees in the Bundaberg region. These locations have the perfect conditions for growing our native Australian nut, the most important being temperature, with optimum growth occurring between 20-25 degrees celsius.