Macadamia Castle has been a common stop along the Pacific Hwy north of Ballina for many years. It has been there for around 45 years, so if you have travelled along the Pacific Highway, you have most likely spotted the castle passing by.
Since the dual-carriage highway bypassed Macadamia Castle from 2012, it hasn’t been as noticeable but it remains a popular spot to drop in to. A big knight is visible from the new highway, the same that can be seen at the front of Macadamia Castle.
The castle is a shop front for an animal park behind it, as well as a cafe and store selling a variety of gifts and locally made products, as well as a selection of macadamia nuts.
The castle was first opened in 1975 as Knockrow Castle and putt-putt golf was added in 1977. The larger than life 6-metre knight was always meant to be part of the attraction but was added much later in the mid-1980s.
The armour of The Big Knight was originally white with a big red cross on its chest. It was intended to have a dragon at his feet, the knight was supposed to be St George.
The animal farm was added in the 1990s. This is now the main attraction of the Macadamia Castle, making it a tourist destination where you can make a day of it.
Entry to the animal park includes access to other features behind the castle, including the 18 hole mini-golf course, and play on the playground equipment.
The animal park includes a rainforest kangaroo walk, aviary birds including hand feeding, baby chick house, reptile display, saltwater crocodiles and farm and local native animals.
Special experiences can be purchased in addition to entry, such as holding reptiles or hold a sugar glider.
For tourists passing through and making a stop along their Pacific Highway travels, the animal park is too expensive. However, if you make it a full day visit then the value is much better. You can bring in your own food and use their BBQs too, which helps to keep costs increasing further.
As the Macadamia Castle is not on the main highway anymore, it isn’t likely to bring in as much passing traffic as it used to. It is still worth dropping in, especially if you haven’t been before or you want to check off another big thing visited.
I found the parking area is interesting. There is a section of the parking that has a roof over it, perhaps 20 parking spaces. The roof is completely covered with solar panels. Another section of the parking area has a bank of Tesla recharging stations, making Macadamia Castle a great spot for a break if you are driving an all-electric vehicle.
The more charging spots along the Pacific Hwy makes electric vehicles to be more viable for long-distance travel. Charging spots will no doubt become more common each year. Until they are more plentiful, it is a great feature to bring in extra tourists needing a charging stop.
To get there:
Heading south on the Pacific Mwy, take the Hinterland Way exit for Lennox Head, From the Bruce Hwy. At the end of the exit, turn left onto Hinterland Way with the brown sign for Macadamia Castle. Follow Hinterland Way for 2.9km with the entrance to Macadamia Castle on the left.
Heading north on the Pacific Hwy, take the Ross Lane exit for Lennox Head. At the end of the exit is a roundabout. Turn right at the roundabout to cross over the motorway, then left at the next roundabout onto Hinterland Way with a brown sign for Macadamia Castle. Follow Hinterland Way for 4.2km with the entrance to Macadamia Castle on the left.
Cost: Free to stop, animal fun park Adult $25, Child (2-16) $15, Concession $18, Student $18, Annual Adult $65, Annual Child $55, Annual Concession $60
Hours: Mon-Sun 8am-5pm
Food: Yes, cafe
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
BBQ: Yes, only in animal fun park
Playground: Yes, only in animal fun park