Tourists to go nuts for Australian first experience at Bundy
Macadamias Australia has cracked the secret behind tourism recovery in regional Queensland, with an innovative visitor attraction set to open in the coming months.
Director for Macadamias Australia Janelle Gerry said the facility will offer a behind-the-scenes experience and showcase the history of the three generation business.
"This project is really all about bringing visitors into a macadamia orchard to see first-hand what it's like to grow macadamias," Ms Gerry said.
"Visitors will have an opportunity to have a self-guided or guided tour, be able to walk through the orchard and go through to see the history of our family business which spans over 60 years.
Ms Gerry said tourists will also be able to watch the process of chocolate coating through glass windows and learn about sustainable practices of the business, such as repurposing the nut shells for power and heat.
Featuring local produce a café will also be part of the experience, allowing visitors to sit in the orchard, enjoy a coffee or have a picnic.
"We love seeing children run up and down the orchard or pick nuts from under the tree and we wanted to be able to provide a place for families that everyone can enjoy," Ms Gerry said.
"(When) people come in to buy retail products they ask so many questions about how we grow or crack, (so it's exciting) to be able to provide that service where they can learn all about macadamias."
Bundaberg Tourism chief executive officer Katherine Reid said she felt the game-changing experience would encourage visitors to spend more time in the region.
"From our rich red soil the Bundaberg region is growing all year round, producing 25% of Australia's fresh produce and feeding the nation," Ms Reid said.
"Bundaberg is already renowned for our globally recognised iconic brands and Macadamia Australia's visitor facility will add to that experience.
"To be able to learn about where the food comes from and see that food go from tree to production facility to plate right here is a really special experience for visitors to have."
Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said it was great to see another Bundaberg business taking on the world with an innovative experience and Australian first.
"Our growers are the absolute lifeblood of the Bundaberg region and to be able to take small crops and turn it into a tourism destination - what a fantastic step forward this is," Mr Smith said.
"Macadamias Australia is really leading the way with tourism innovation but also in our small crops production - it's a great Bundaberg business and it's really there for the Bundaberg people as well, not only investing in their own business but in the Bundaberg region as well."
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the project which is receiving almost $1 million in State Government funding was a great example of how food tourism had become part of the state's landscape.
"Food production has been on the tourism agenda for sometime in this region, from the Bundaberg Rum Factory, Brewed Drinks Distillery and a range of other experiences that help people understand how those famous products are produced," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"Macadamias Australia are adding to that in a way that will mean people are staying an extra day to have that experience here and it's indicative of how we need to think about our tourism product in the local community and across regional Queensland."
The Tourism Minister said while the immediate agenda would be encouraging visitors to extend their stay and invest in the region, the long-term objective is to entice international tourists.
"Before COVID approximately 2.4 million tourists visited the Southern Great Barrier Region every year and we're keen to see that grow," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"Once up and running it's predicted the Macadamia Australia experience will complement Bundaberg's visitor attractions and help to add an extra $38 million every year to the local economy."
The Palaszczuk Government is investing $936,450 into the project as part of the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund, assisting operators across the state to deliver new tourism attractions.
It is estimated the project will deliver 20 ongoing employment opportunities in addition to the 37 jobs it has already created during its construction faze.
Set to open in April, Macadamia Australia's visitor facility will welcome guests seven days a week.