The Big Banana

By | Category: Travel destinations

In front of the Big Banana.

One of Australia’s oldest attractions – and one which has an impressionable impact on others – is known as the Big Banana.

This family attraction is to be found in the northern NSW town of Coffs Harbour, a place that is entirely geared up to the tourism industry. Everywhere you look in the town you find motels and resorts. This is the place that that people drive to from the two NSW big cities of Sydney and Newcastle for a short break or a loner getaway at the beach.

When Coffs Harbour started growing as a weekend destination for those drawn by the ocean and marine activities in the 1960’s attractions soon followed. The oldest was a leisure attraction aimed at pre-teenagers and the families. In this banana growing area of NSW, it was called the Big Banana and a large man-made banana promptly appeared for people to recognise and to have their pictures taken.

Here are the cheese and candy workshop buildings – two separate things not one glorious mix that a child might devise!

Today it isn’t just kids who have their photographs taken but just about every Asian tourist that flocks from Japan, Taiwan, China and South Korea. There is even a sighting “metal stool” on which you place your camera so that the image comes out at its best!

The attractions have been added over the years so there is now water based features as well as a place where you can watch cheese being made as well as learning to how make your own. There is a similar area for candy (sweet) making. There are other rides, the obligatory restaurant and a large gift shop where virtually any sort of keyring, name tag, fluffy toy, sweet, refrigerant drink container and clothing is themed into bananas.

and yes, they do grow their own bananas in the grounds

But the Big Banana has had a bigger impact on Australian life than just the one theme park. It has spawned any number of “big” things so that in Woombye in Queensland there is the Big Pineapple, there is the Big Avocado at Duranbah in NSW and the Big Golden Guitar at Tamworth. (also in NSW and which honours the area as Australia’s country music capital.) There is the Big Prawn at Ballina in NSW, the Big Tennis Racquet at Barellan in NSW which is where tennis player Evonne Cawley (ne Goolagong) grew up and the Big Lobster in South Australia. In all there are over 150 “bigs” in Australia and the Big Banana has even been immortalised on a postage stamp!

Since 1964, the Big Banana has been attracting tourists (about 150,000 each year) and those who must have a photo taken against such a backdrop. Nothing looks likely to diminish that appeal in the future!

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