Australia's Big Attractions

Posted on: 05/03/2020

THE CLASSICS

These attractions are those that you automatically associate with Australia’s big history — the ones that arguably set the stage for Australians’ fascination with showy tourist stops.

THE BIG BANANA

Coffs Harbour, NSW

Established as a quirky structure to draw a crowd to a roadside stall, the modern Big Banana Fun Park has so many attractions for travellers it’ll be hard to bend your brain around them all. Bought in the 1990s by Kevin Ruby who added a toboggan ride and an ice-skating rink, both of which are still operational. Current owner Village Building Co has added nine attractions over the last seven years including Laser Tag, a Water Park, a 4D ride simulator and what they claim is Australia’s biggest giant slide.

Entry cost: Free to enter, attractions incur a fee (packages available)

Address: 351 Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450

Nearby campgrounds: BIG4 Park Beach Holiday Park, 1 Ocean Parade, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450. Ph: 1800 200 555, web: www.big4.com.au

Woolgoolga Beach Holiday Park, 12 Wharf St, Woolgoolga NSW. Ph: (02) 6648 4711, www.coffscoastholidayparks.com.au/parks/woolgoolga-beach/

THE BIG PINEAPPLE

Nambour, Qld

Built in 1971 by pineapple farmers Bill and Lin Taylor on the gloriously sunny Sunshine Coast, the 16m-tall fibreglass pineapple attracted 700,000 visitors annually in its 1980s heyday. Since 2013 the owners have hosted the Big Pineapple Music Festival, there is still a train ride plus a zoo and a treetops walk.

Entry cost: Free but costs apply to the train ride, zoo and music festival

Address: 76 Nambour Connection Rd, Woombye, Qld, 4559

Nearby campgrounds: Rainforest Holiday Village, 557 Nambour Connection Road, Woombye, Qld. Ph: (07) 5442 1153, web: www.rainforestholidayvillage.com.au

Marshall Ski Lakes Campground, 1 Leafy Lane, Sunshine Coast, Qld. Ph: 0408 711 469

THE BIG MERINO

Goulburn, NSW

The Big Merino has a name: Rambo. Inspired by a real-life stud ram of the same name from a nearby property, Rambo stands 15m tall, 18m long and weighed 97 tonnes when constructed in 1985 from a steel frame and concrete. Designed to showcase the region’s reputation for fine wool production, Rambo was a fixture of the town’s main street, but when the Hume Highway was built and tourist numbers slid, Rambo was relocated 800m down the road closer to the highway exit. 

Address: Corner of Hume and Sowerby streets, Goulburn NSW

Nearby campgrounds: Goulburn South Caravan Park, 149 Hume St, Goulburn, NSW 2580. Ph: (02) 4821 3233, web: https://topparks.com.au/

THE BIG LOBSTER

Kingston, South Australia

Made of steel and fibreglass, Larry took six months to construct and served as the face of the town ever since, heralding visitors to a restaurant behind its tail. That business faded as fascination with all big things waned, but the town decided Larry should not only stay, but be restored to his former glory.
Affectionately known as Larry, the 17m-tall spiny lobster stands in all its shiny orange glory in the fishing town of Kingston Southeast on South Australia’s Limestone Coast. Unveiled by then South Australian Premier David Tonkin on 15 December 1979, Larry is magnificent and, like many others in the big attractions club, was borne from an idea to showcase the town’s rich pedigree, in this case seafood.

Entry cost: Free

Address: Princes Hwy, Kingston SE, SA 5275

Nearby campgrounds: Kingston Foreshore Caravan Park, 34a Marine Parade, Kingston SE SA 5275. Ph: (08) 8767 2050, http://kingstonforeshorecaravanpark.com.au/

BIG NED KELLY

Glenrowan, Vic

Australians love to celebrate an underdog — even a murderous, thieving one — which is why the Victorian town of Glenrowan has thrived as the last stand of notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly, and his gang in 1880. The main 6m-high statue of Ned stands in the main thoroughfare. There’s also a fantastic museum here in the Glenrowan Tourist Centre explaining bushranger history along with a fabulous interactive animatronic show of the gang’s last stand. 

Entry cost: Free to see the statue, fees apply for the show

Address: 41 Gladstone St, Glenrowan, Vic 3675

Nearby campgrounds: Glenrowan Tourist Park, 2 Old Hume Highway, Glenrowan, Vic 3675. Ph: (03) 5766 2288, www.glenrowanpark.com.au

UNDERRATED AND UNAPPRECIATED

You may not have heard of these big things, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth a stop to take a snap and stretch the legs.

GIANT KOALA

Dadswells Bridge, Vic

Australians love to celebrate an underdog — even a murderous, thieving one — which is why the Victorian town of Glenrowan has thrived as the last stand of notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly, and his gang in 1880. The main 6m-high statue of Ned stands in the main thoroughfare. There’s also a fantastic museum here in the Glenrowan Tourist Centre explaining bushranger history along with a fabulous interactive animatronic show of the gang’s last stand. 

Entry cost: Free to see the statue, fees apply for the show

Address: 41 Gladstone St, Glenrowan, Vic 3675

Nearby campgrounds: Glenrowan Tourist Park, 2 Old Hume Highway, Glenrowan, Vic 3675. Ph: (03) 5766 2288, www.glenrowanpark.com.au

ANMATJERE MAN 

Aileron, NT

About 135km north of Alice Springs on the iconic Stuart Highway sits the Aileron Roadhouse and Caravan Park, home to two very impressive statues celebrating Indigenous heritage. Anmatjere Man arrived first in 2005, a 17m-tall Aboriginal hunter inspired by the local Anmatjere community which stands behind the Roadhouse but clearly visible to the road. He spent a few years as the sole attraction until a second 17m statue, Anmatjere Woman and Child, joined the property. Both are built by local artist Mark Egan.

Entry cost: Free

Address: Stuart Highway, 135km north of Alice Springs

Nearby campgrounds: Aileron Hotel & Roadhouse on site offers powered sites, pool, barbecue areas, fuel and a bar.

 THE BIG PENGUIN

Penguin, Tas

Constructed in 1975 to commemorate the centenary of the seaside town of Penguin, the Big Penguin is a local favourite. He’s even more adorable because of the outfits he is fitted with to mark various occasions throughout the year. In December it’s not unusual to see him wearing a Santa suit, a bow tie and bowler hat made from tiny flags for Australia Day and, as we went to press, the Big Penguin has a huge heart for Valentine’s Day. 

Entry cost: Free

Address: Scenic Drive, Penguin

Nearby campgrounds: Penguin Caravan Park, 6 Johnson's Beach Road, Penguin, Tas 7316.

Ph (03) 6437 2785, www.penguincaravanpark.com.au