Have you noticed the steep decline in food manufacturers opening their doors for organised factory tours? Once upon a time, schools would pack their students into a bus and visit the local biscuit or chocolate factory for a look around. I loved these visits when I was a kid. They are extremely hard to come by these days. I’m told intellectual property concerns, insurance and OH&S have had an impact on the ability of many operations to keep these going.
T is passionate about a good factory tour which usually results in him sourcing at least one on each of our holiday adventures. He has a nose for it and uncovers them in places I wouldn’t have even thought to look. Our trip to the Sunshine Coast was no different. Oh the wonders he did find!
The Ginger Factory in Yandina has become a hot destination for travellers wanting to glimpse inside the world’s largest operating ginger factory. Amazingly, someone behind the scenes saw the potential in teaching the public about ginger and developed the site (a whole nine hectares) into a themed tourist park. We were quite impressed.
When visiting The Ginger Factory you can choose between a number of different tours: The Ginger Train (a 100 year old cane train which will take you on a ride around the grounds); Overboard (a water adventure ride), Superbee (learn about bees, check out their hives and taste test honey) and, The Factory Tour. We chose to buy the Superbee and The Factory Tour tickets.
We arrived mid-morning and discovered that many of the tours were already booked out for our preferred time. You might like to book in before you arrive to ensure you get a spot. With a little juggling we headed off to the Superbee tour.
The Superbee Tour is basically a bee keeping workshop. The session began with a fantastic lesson about native and introduced bees. The kids listened as our beekeeper explained the hierarchy of bees in a hive, how they make honey and a little about hives. We then moved to the hive viewing area where we watched our beekeeper dress in her protective clothing before opening a hive and showing us what was inside.
Possibly the most exciting part of the Superbee tour was the chance to look up close into a number of their hives. The clever staff at The Ginger Factory have built them into the walls and placed a glass panel into each hive. We were able to find the Queen in many of them, place our hand on the glass and feel where it was warm and even see the birth of new bees for the colony.
The Superbee Tour ended with a honey tastes test. I think we tasted around 6-7 varieties which were yummy. The kids even learned not to double dip.
Our second tour was The Factory Tour which gave us an opportunity to see how the ginger is processed. The tour lasted around 20 or so minutes and walked us through each room. It has changed rapidly over the last 40 years. I was so sad to see that in one room maybe 30+ women once sat and worked. They have been replaced by one machine. ONE! Progress.
The Factory Tour ended in the tasting room where we had the chance to taste fresh ginger cordial, ginger biscuits, candied ginger, a ginger spread and more ginger! Each different item tasted glorious. I think we all agreed that the spread was our favourite.
The Ginger Factory is open every single day of the year except Christmas Day from 9.00 am to 5,00 pm. Tickets range from $7.00. We purchased the Double Deal ticket which cost $98.00 for our family of four – a little pricey, but we couldn’t miss the chance to explore a factory.