Most people have heard of The Big Banana; an Australian icon almost on par with Vegemite for its timeless existence! The Big Banana has been around for as long as I can remember, and as we recently drove through Coffs Harbour on the Pacific Highway in Northern NSW it was hard not to stop. There it was; looming in front of us. We decided to go beyond the quick stop, photo snap out of the window, and instead dared to venture inside and find out for ourselves what really lay beyond the giant golden smile.
I had not quite imagined all the offerings which were available. Like Luna Park is to Melbourne, here was Coffs Harbour slice of family fun. After a few days of exploring local National Parks and enjoying the amazing coastline in and around Coffs Harbour, it was now time to indulge in something a little different. Something you could call, banaterrific!
View over the Park and of Coffs coastline from the top of the Toboggan
The beauty about the park is that the entry is free and you can choose and pay only for the activity that you would like to do at that time. This means you can spend a whole day trying everything or come in for an afternoon or evening of fun. There are special combo deals if like us, you choose to do it all!
Grab a map and information leaflet when you arrive, so that you can plan ahead, locate where each activity is and find out the opening/closing times, as these can vary for each activity. At each activity location, there are friendly staff to supervise, provide information and helpful advice if needed!
Walk through the luscious banana plantations on site
We began the day with the "Banana tour", an entertaining video and short walk through the plantations documenting the origins and history of the Banana plantations in the area, as well as deepening our appreciation for our trusty healthy lunch/snack companion. We had to admit after trying one of the locally grown bananas that "good things take time" judging by the natural sweetness of the smaller but juicer variety of those grown in Coffs.
After the "official tour" the rest of the day was designated "AO". Amusement only! I screamed my way down the Giant Slide, held my hand steady on the brake around the Toboggan corners, and bluffed my way through Mini Golf! My nephews were much braver than me, but I had to admit there's a first for everything... including tasting a yummy chocolate coated nutty banana!
We cooled off in the ice skating rink and I re-discovered my roller skating arena days! There are various aides available to assist those less polished, including for little ones on their L's.
friendly staff member, Wylie assists my youngest nephew prepare for laser tag
Laser tag set tempers alight and adrenaline pumping again, before we finally all stopped for the day and refreshed ourselves at the lovely on site cafe. The menu offers a few interesting variations with a banana here and there added in for good measure. It provided some inspiration for new savoury Banana recipe ideas for me to try out at home!
Of course we couldn't leave without the famous "Big Banana" shot... something which will bring back a Banana smile to our faces in years to come!
The highlight - That there was still much more to do onsite than we could possibly imagine including a cheese making workshop area, candy and opal store.
Amenities- anyone with kids will appreciate the toilets which are available at every activity centre
Disappointing - The water slides/pool area is closed during winter... which means an even better reason to visit again in the summer months!