Australia’s Big Things And Where To Find Them
Australia’s a bloody big place, so it’s only fitting that the country is full of ridiculously big objects all around the joint. Some naysayers may complain that they’re tacky, but we reckon they’re pretty bloody tip top.
It’ll come as no surprise that most of these things were made in the 1970s and 1980s when Australiana was arguably at its peak. (Remember all those old Aussie tea towels your mum used to have?
They’d have Aussie animals and scenery and even calendars on them.) There are around 150 big things in towns around Oz that the locals built to represent something the area is known for, such as its local animals, produce, historical figures, and the such. But we’ll just focus on the really good ones.
If you’re thinking of going on a road trip around Australia with your family or mates, then you’d be crazy to not check out these big tacky things of yesteryear that your parents took you to when you were a kid.
Mars Campers have listed some of the best big things across Australia for you to take some pics of.
The Big Pineapple, Woombye, QLD
Situated near just a bit out of the Sunshine Coast, the Big Pineapple is one of Australia’s most well-known attractions, at least as far as giant big objects go. Even Aussies who haven’t been there would’ve at least heard of it.
The 16-metre high piece of fruit opened in 1971 (but fortunately hasn’t expired and attracted too many fruit flies) and was understandably one of the biggest employers of Sunshine Coast folks. It has been a popular tourist destination ever since where countless families have gotten photos in front of the pineapple.
It was designated as a Queensland heritage site in 2009, making the Big Pineapple officially “fair dinkum”. However, 2009 was also the year that the Big Pineapple actually closed!
However, its current owners have reopened it to be a family fun park. In early 2019, the Queensland Government announced a $150 million redevelopment project to bring new life and new activities to the place, making it even more bonza!
There is no entry fee to visit the Big Pineapple; however, you do have to pay for some of the activities inside the premises, such as the TreeTop Challenge high ropes and zip line course.
The Big Pineapple also sometimes serves as a concert venue, with the likes of Midnight Oil and Birds Of Tokyo having played there, as well as many other Aussie bands thanks to the Big Pineapple Music Festival.
The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour, NSW
We can’t talk about the Big Pineapple without then talking about the Big Banana, Australia’s other best known big thing.
The site started off as a banana stand next to the road, and its owner John Landi wanted to get as many people driving past to stop there so he could make a few extra bucks. Good thing he did, because he created one of Australia’s most popular landmarks.
The Big Banana opened around Christmas 1964 and it sits right in front of the complex, measuring over 13 metres long and 5 metres across.
Like the Big Pineapple, so many bloody families have come here and taken some daggy photos in front of it. But why the hell not?
What tops it off is that entry is free! However, you’ll have to pay for the activities inside though.
It’s got a fully sick 4D ride simulator, a six-lane slide that’s the biggest in Australia, their toboggan ride that oversees the Pacific Ocean, a mini-golf course, a laser tag arena, an ice skating rink, and, of course, tours of the banana plantation.
Coffs Harbour is only 391km north of Newcastle and 390km south of Brisbane, so if you’re from either of those big cities, the Big Banana, and Coffs Harbour in general, is a great place to visit.
(Ladies, if you come here with your fella, just know that there’s a good chance he’ll say something about his big banana if you know what we’re saying!)
The Big Prawn, Ballina, NSW
Many Aussies cringe at that old Tourism Australia ad where Paul Hogan’s barbequing a prawn on a barbeque and says the immortal words, “Put another shrimp on the barbie!” (The quote’s actually, “I’ll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you”, but we’re just being pedantic now.)
The problem with this ad is that Australians don’t use the word “shrimp” at all; it’s bloody prawns, mate! Hoges only said “shrimp” in the ad to attract Yank tourists to the land down under.
Perhaps the Big Prawn is Ballina’s way of telling tourists that we call these little crustaceans’ prawns. Having said that, most of its visitors are fellow Aussies, so the Yanks won’t learn anything.
It’ll come as no surprise that the Big Prawn was built during the Australiana heyday that was the 1980s, specifically in 1989. Although real prawns are really small and light little critters, the Big Prawn weighs a whopping 35 tonnes and is 9 metres high.
I suppose the builders got slack because it didn’t have a bloody tail! Being Aussie, the Big Prawn was built on top of a servo since one of Ballina’s main industries was in catching prawns. Funnily enough though, the Prawn was actually built by Hungarians.
However, the Prawn was in a bit of strife around 2010 when the servo it lived at closed. The Ballina Shire Council had voted to demolish the prawn the year before (bloody drongos!). However, despite some preconceived tackiness that some people may feel about these big things, the locals saved it by petitioning to keep it open.
Besides cooking top snags, Bunnings Warehouse brought the property in 2011 and built a store there, and they paid $400,000 to restore the Prawn and even gave it a tail.
The Prawn reopened in July 2013 and has had many visitors since then. If you get yourself a Bunnings snag while you’re there, see if they can put a prawn on the barbie while they’re at it.
The Big Ned Kelly, Glenrowan, VIC
As if we could talk about big Aussie statues without mentioning the statue of one of the most famous Aussie battlers to ever live, Ned Kelly.
There are also big Ned Kellys located in Ballarat, Victoria, and Maryborough, Queensland, but let’s focus on the one based in Glenrowan where the real Ned Kelly was defeated by the coppers.
Glenrowan’s a town with one main street, so it’s only a stopover type of place before driving elsewhere.
However, that main street is littered with Ned Kelly murals on its buildings, mannequins dressed like him, wooden statues representing the various people who were involved in the siege that went down, shops with Ned Kelly knickknacks, a museum with animatronic characters that are part of a re-enactment of the siege that stopped the Kelly Gang, and of course, the Big Ned Kelly.
The Big Kelly is fully decked out in his iconic metal armour helmet and plate and long brown coat and is right in front of a newsagency.
Being 6 metres tall, it really sticks out –even Blind Freddy would be able to see it! Although people all across Australia know all about the Ned Kelly story, the statue really immortalises the bloke and what he stood for.
The Big Lobster, Kingston SE, SA
Having opened at the very end of the ‘70s, the Big Lobster, or simply “Larry” as the locals call him, stands at 17 metres tall and weighs more than 7 tonnes. Larry’s so Aussie that it was designed by a bloke name Paul Kelly, but he’s not to be confused with the singer of the same name. (This Paul Kelly’s more likely to talk about boiling lobster than about making gravy!)
Larry’s greeted countless visitors in the past 40 years as they’ve entered Kingston SE as it’s located at the fishing town’s northern entrance. Kingston SE is near both Adelaide and the Mount Gambier region, meaning a lot of people drive through town, and therefore should pull over to say g’day to Larry and check out the restaurant located there (guess what crustacean they serve…).
Larry’s actually been for sale since the ‘80s, but no one ever brought the big fella. He also needed repair work done. The South Australian Government invested $10,000 in 2015 to help out, and funny bastards Hamish and Andy led a campaign to raise funds to help poor Larry in his time of need, including the hashtag #PinchAMate. Larry’s currently still hanging around Kingston SE and looks spruced up thanks to his makeover.
The Big Merino, Goulburn, NSW
Built in 1985, the Big Merino is known to the locals as Rambo. (Get it? Ram-bo. Good thing, because it doesn’t look anything like Sylvester Stallone.)
It’s the world’s biggest merino, and being 18 metres long and 15.2 metres high, and weighing 97 tonnes, with 3 stories inside it, it ought to be. Rambo’s a symbol of Goulburn’s wool industry, and nothing says “wool” like a bloody sheep.
Rambo was moved in 1992 as the Hume Highway caused drivers passing by to go past Goulburn entirely, meaning it had fewer visitors. So Rambo decided to move 800 metres down the road in May 2007 by a low-loader truck to its new home that’s just off the highway’s southern exit.
You can inside Rambo, but don’t worry, he’s not full of blood and guts. The ground floor has a gift shop, and the second floor has an exhibition detailing the history of Goulburn’s wool industry. The top of the Merino has a lookout where you can literately see the town through Rambo’s eyes.