An epic road trip around Australia is not complete without visiting one of the country’s iconic ‘Big Things’.
British reality TV star Charlotte Crosby thought her Aussie camp mates in I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! were pulling her leg. But Australia is indeed home to some peculiar 'Big Things'. Take a road trip around Australia and you'll discover more than 150 over-sized objects from the coast to the outback, including the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple - even the Big Boxing Crocodile. Every region has its drawcard, so here's 10 Big Things to look out for on your next Aussie road trip.
1. The Big Banana – Coffs Harbour, NSW
The Big Banana is Australia’s original and most iconic Big Thing. Opened in 1964, it still attracts around 900,000 curious visitors every year.
At five metres high, 11 metres long and 2.4 metres wide, the Big Banana sits on a banana plantation on the Mid North Coast, 437 km north of Sydney.
The site has been expanded to include a downhill toboggan run and a water park, including the largest Giant Slide in the country.
Where: 351 Pacific Highway, 3kms north of Coffs Harbour.
2. The Big Pineapple – Woombye, Queensland
The Big Pineapple opened in 1971 on a Sunshine Coast pineapple plantation and quickly became one of Queensland’s best-known tourist sites.
It was listed as state icon in 2006 and heritage listed in 2009.
But it’s had its share of tough times. It burned down in 1978 after an attempted robbery, and was rebuilt within three months. Thirteen years later a massive cyclone caused extensive damage.
At its peak, the Big Pineapple attracted 1 million visitors a year, including Prince Charles and Lady Di in 1983.
Where: 76 Nambour Connection Rd, Woombye.
3. The Big Prawn – Ballina, NSW
The Big Prawn was one of several Big Things built to encourage road trippers to stop at petrol stations run by brothers Attila and Louis Mokany.
The sculptures were usually a tribute to the main industries in each town. Goulburn got the Big Merino, Taree the Big Oyster and Ballina got the Big prawn (on a satay stick).
A Bunnings hardware store now sits alongside the Big Prawn. The company actually spent $400,000 restoring the icon in 2014, adding a 16-metre tail weighing two tonnes.
Where: 507 River Street, West Ballina.
4. The Big Merino – Goulburn, NSW
The Big Merino, built in 1985, is a tribute to the wool industry near Goulburn, on the South Coast of NSW.
The three storey structure made of concrete and steel stands 15.2 metres high, 18 metres long and weighs around 100 tonnes.
The Big Merino houses a permanent exhibition on the history of wool in Australia. There’s also a gift shop.
Where: 1 Sowerby Street, Goulburn.
5. The Big Lobster – Kingston, South Australia
For more than 40 years, Larry the Lobster has greeted road trippers travelling through Kingston, an area of South Australia’s south-east coastline famed for lobster production.
The fate of the 17-metre high, four-tonne spiny red lobster had been in limbo after the business behind the statue closed in 2016.
But a local farming family stepped in a bought the giant crustacean, giving it a much needed paint job and structural repairs.
Where: Princes Highway, Kingston SE, South Australia
6. The Giant Koala – Dadswells Bridge, Victoria
It’s not the most attractive of Australia’s Big Things – in fact the 14 metre-high Giant Koala looks more like a paper mache monster.
Located next to the stunning Grampians National Park, half way between Stawell and Horsham, the structure was built in 1989 and houses a gift shop and information centre.
The Giant Koala was renamed in 2009 in memory of Sam the Koala, the koala that famously drank from a water bottle during the devastating Black Saturday bushfires that year.
Where: 27 km north-west of Stawell, in the small township of Dadswells Bridge.
7. The Big Gold Panner – Bathurst, NSW
I’ve had a fascination with the Big Gold Panner at Bathurst, west of the Blue Mountains, ever since I went on a Grade 6 excursion to gold rush country in 1981.
Erected in 1979, the iconic statue is around five metres tall and three metres wide and sits outside the Gold Panner Motor Inn, as you enter Bathurst from the east.
It’s a fitting symbol for an area that experienced Australia’s first feverish gold rush in the mid 1800s.
Where: At the roundabout, 250 Sydney Road, Bathurst.
8. The Big Golden Guitar – Tamworth, NSW
The Big Golden Guitar is a tribute to Tamworth’s rich country music heritage.
A prominent sight on the New England Highway as you approach Tamworth from the south, the Guitar is 12 metres high and weighs half a tonne.
The statue – made of fibreglass over a steel frame but with no strings – was unveiled by Australia’s King of Country, Slim Dusty, in 1988.
Where: 2 Ringers Road, corner of the New England Highway and The Ringers Road, Tamworth.
9. The Big Potato – Robertson, NSW
It’s perhaps the ugliest of all the big tourist attractions, but the Big Potato (or the Big Spud as it’s affectionately known) still manages to draw a crowd.
The ‘Big Potato’ was built in the 1970s by a local potato farmer, Jim Mauger, as a tribute to the vegetable that has been a staple of the local farming community for decades.
It’s found at Robertson, south-west of Wollongong – the same town where the 1985 movie Babe was filmed.
Where: Illawarra Highway, Robertson.
10. The Big Boxing Croc – Humpty Doo, Northern Territory
At Humpty Doo, the town’s name is not the only quirky thing to attract the curiosity of road trippers in the Northern Territory.
That’s because this town, 38 km south-east of Darwin, is also home to the Big Boxing Croc.
Built in 1988, it stands 10 metres high in front of a petrol station, wearing red boxing gloves.
It was actually inspired by the “Boxing Kangaroo” logo used in Australia’s successful 1983 bid for the America’s Cup.
Where: 326 Arnhem Highway, Humpty Doo, Northern Territory.
© 2020 Bernard O’Riordan (Travel Instinct). All Rights Reserved.
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