Green and gold leaves filter the sunshine to produce a heart-warming dappled light. On either side of the meandering path stands rows of proud macadamia trees. It takes only a few paces to reach a clearing in the orchard, where Bundaberg’s newest agri-tourism experience awaits.
These fleeting whimsical moments before you set foot inside Macadamias Australia’s Visitor Centre evoke childhood memories of fairy tales set in the woods. The two are, perhaps, subconsciously linked; because this is a story of three imaginative siblings, who dared to believe they could follow in their entrepreneurial parents’ footsteps.
The late Ron and Marion Steinhardt purchased a bush block of land to farm vegetables in 1958. Their daughter, Janelle Gerry beams with pride as she talks about her “visionary” parents. “What they’ve instilled in my brothers – Kevin and Trevor – and I is to have a vision and see it through,” Janelle said.
In 2004 the family planted their first macadamia trees and later this year they expect to open their new visitor centre. Janelle said the building’s design had evolved from being a cracking and processing facility to include an agri-tourism centre. “We wanted to be a fully vertically integrated business that cares for the product all the way from the farm to the consumer,” she said. “The centre will help people see Bundaberg for what it is – the Australian hub of macadamias.”
The Macadamias Australia Visitor Centre will include a self-guided tour of interactive displays where visitors can learn about the Australian native origins of macadamias and sustainable farming practices. There will be a tasting pod to sample their beautifully flavoured single-origin macadamia products.
Janelle said additional experiences and displays would be added to the Centre over time. “We’ll start with one guided tour a week and grow from there,” she said. “We have installed a large viewing window so visitors can watch our golden macadamias be coated in glistening chocolate once our manufacturing line is running.” The Centre will also include a café, where diners will have the choice of sitting along the classic indoor espresso bar or eating alfresco on the terrace.
“We just want it to be a great place for tourists and locals to bring their family and friends; where kids can run around on the lawn and through the orchard,” Janelle said.
You will find Macadamias Australia at 4625 Goodwood Road, Bundaberg. Farm Gate open five days.