My dogs and I are kind of a package deal. www.instagram.com/eddyandsam
Published December 5th 2016
Stop by the 35 Big Things from Brisbane to Newcastle
In addition to the Grand Pacific Drive from Brisbane up to Cairns, here is yet another great little Aussie road trip radiating from the capital of Queensland's sunshine state. I'm a firm believer of stopping by all the 'Big Things' on offer in between major cities - after all, it wouldn't really be an Australian road trip without! There are at least 150 'Big Things' around Australia, with the majority of 'Big Things' found on the East Coast - it's no surprise that the road trip from Brisbane to Newcastle (and back) blesses travellers with an abundance of 'Big Things'. 'Big Things' are not always found on the highway, and can sometimes be quite obscure and hidden away - to see all the 'Big Things' along the way, extensive research is needed to maximise sightings, especially because (as of yet), there is no single website that covers all the 'Big Things'. If researching for trips isn't quite your thing, don't worry, because that's what this comprehensive article is for, complete with 'Big Things' that Eddy and I encountered by chance that aren't listed on the internet!
Some of our favourite 'Big Things' from this road trip.
Stop #1: The Big Pumpkin Location: 92 Brisbane St, Beaudesert QLD 4285
The Big Pumpkin in Beaudesert is located on top of a fruit shop that stocks fresh fruit and vegetables. It's a great example of the original purpose 'Big Things' served - most big things began as tourist traps found along major roads between destinations, to draw travellers in for business. Where better place to buy a pumpkin than at The Big Pumpkin?
Okay, understandably Big Mufflers aren't the most unique 'Big Thing' out there (they're nearly at the level of the super common big golf balls, bowling pins, and KFC buckets), but hey, it's on the way from The Big Pumpkin to the next big thing, so you might as well stop by for a quick snap! Plus, unlike the previously mentioned common 'Big Things', Big Mufflers vary in size and colour, so it's still considered unique in my books - but feel free to disagree! The Big Muffler in Warwick is, like all other Big Mufflers that I've seen, at an auto repair shop, with walls painted the same shade of blue as The Big Muffler.
Eddy obviously wasn't too interested in The Big Muffler..
Stop #3: The Big Apple Location: Vincenzo's Cafe, New England Hwy, Thulimbah QLD 4376
The Big Apple in Thulimbah is conveniently located along the highway, and is visibly prominent to travellers. With a cafe that was established with the intent of serving simple home-style food, along with the opportunity to purchase local produce (including own jams, chutneys, relishes and sauces) as well as fine wines from over a dozen wineries, The Big Apple is a great rest stop for a road trip. The Big Apple in Thulimbah is one of the most realistic 'Big Things' I've seen - just look at the 'texture' of it!
Stop #4: The Big Dinosaur Location: New England Hwy, Ballandean QLD 4382
The Big Dinosaur in Ballandean (also known as 'The Big Triceratops' or 'Fruitsforus') is not exactly 'big' in regards to ratio but is still big enough to be listed on Wikipedia - it's only right that it makes it to this article too! The Big Dinosaur is made out of fibreglass and was originally used as a float in the 1998 Apple and Grape Festival. It was then placed on the roadside to help sell fruit for a local fundraiser, becoming a popular landmark in the process - The Big Dinosaur has not left its original post since, bar one trip in 2009 when it was repaired for weather damage.
Again, The Big Pyramid in Ballandean is not exactly 'big' ratio wise, but is of enough significance to warrant its own Wikipedia page, under Ballandean Pyramid! The Big Pyramid, approximately 15m in height, and built from blocks of the local granite, sits on private property belonging to a local vineyard, Henty Estate - it's 25m from the nearest road. To view The Big Pyramid from the road, simply follow Jacobsen's Lane until the very end - it will be on your right hand side.
Although on private property, The Big Pyramid can still be viewed from the road.
Stop #6: The Big Lamb Location: Rotary Park, New England Hwy, Guyra NSW 2365
The Big Lamb in Guyra stands over a potato plant and was erected to promote the lamb and potato industries in New England. Guyra is also host to the annual Lamb and Potato Festival since 1986, which showcases local produce, with delicious lamb and potato meals, boutique stalls, and other activities. The festival runs in January every year, with a variety of additional events held by the community in conjunction with the festival.
Not quite sure where the potato plant is though, to be honest with you..
Stop #7: The Big Soldier Location: Uralla Military Museum, New England Hwy, Uralla NSW 2358
Although sadly the Uralla Military Museum is no longer operating, The Big Soldier that is prominently situated outside still stands to this day - and let's hope it continues to do so in years to come. The museum was started by Darcy Hassett, former Uralla RSL and New England District Council, in 1989, but sadly auctioned off both the museum and all its contents in 2013 due to ill health.
Fingers crossed The Big Soldier will stay put where he is!
Stop #8: The Big Chook Location: 41 Gill St, Moonbi NSW 2353
The Big Chook is located in the car parking area for Moonbi Museum, and is a reflection of the village's status as a renowned centre for the poultry industry - Moonbi and surrounding areas is home to many large poultry farms and associated industries.
The Big Golden Guitar is one of Australia's most famous 'Big Things' - it was even featured in a 2007 set of 50c postage stamps issued by Australia Post to commemorate five of the most iconic 'Big Things' in the country. The Big Golden Guitar was inspired by the Golden Guitar trophies given to winners at the Country Music Awards of Australia ceremony night during the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival. The festival is the second biggest country music festival in the world!
Stop #10: The Big Sundial Location: Rose Point Park, Ryan Ave, Singleton NSW 2330
Weighing a whopping 30 tonnes, The Big Sundial in Singleton, one of the world's biggest sundials, was presented by Lemington Mine for the 1988 Bicentennial Celebrations. At one point in time, it was the biggest sundial in the world, as recognised by the Guinness World Book of Records! It is still the largest one-piece sundial in the Southern Hemisphere to date.
Where else would you find a Big Wine Bottle than in the Hunter Valley, one of Australia's major wine regions? Unlike what I initially thought, the Big Wine Bottle is not located in the Hunter Valley Gardens itself ($29 admission fee for adults), but rather amidst the village shops in the same vicinity. Luckily pets weren't allowed, otherwise I might have forked out for a relatively hefty admission fee (after all, 'Big Things' are most usually free) with no 'Big Thing' in return! A cool feature of The Big Wine Bottle (no, there's no actual wine inside...), the neck forms a chimney for an open fire contained within.
Stop #12: The Big Kookaburra Location: Rotary Park, 219 Lang St, Kurri Kurri NSW 2327
Unfortunately, this was one 'Big Thing' that we missed on our trip, despite us being within 10 minutes - how frustrating and disappointing. However, we've already planned a road trip down to Kurri Kurri in January, so we will update this article with a photo once that happens - we can't wait! The Big Kookaburra, based on the native Australian bird that is found in the area, stands at 4.5m tall and was erected in 2009 to commemorate Hydro Aluminium's 40th year in the Kurri Kurri area - Kookaburras are used locally as a symbol for various sporting and community groups, and are featured in every single mural of a series painted in the area.
The Big Ugg Boots are 13 times the size of a women's US size 8 ugg boots - very impressive indeed. Mortels Sheepskin Factory, a multi-award winning Australian owned family business, recently expanded their business selling premium sheepskin quality products by running fully guided tours where visitors can experience the sights and sounds of a fully operational manufacturing plant. There is also a cafe and gift gallery, where visitors can enjoy coffee, sweets, breakfast, and lunch.
Fondly nicknamed by locals as 'Ozzie the Mozzie', The Big Mosquito sits high up outside the Hexham Bowling Club. It was modelled on the local Ochlerotatus alternans mosquito species, which is known more informally as 'Hexham Greys'. The coolest thing about Ozzie is that Ozzie has illuminated eyes which switch on at night!
Stop #15: The Big Headphones Location: Darby St, Newcastle, New South Wales 2300
The Big Headphones in Newcastle is a rare 'Big Thing' that serves the same purpose as the original - only heaps bigger! The Big Headphones is a large interactive headphone sculpture with fitted Bluetooth functionality that allow people to play their own music, in addition to a pickup and sound mixer so musicians can busk. It's definitely one of the newest 'Big Things' out there, having only been built last year in 2015!
A 'Big Thing' that actually serves the same function as the object/animal that it's modelled after - how cool!
The Big Boomerang is situated at Murrook Cultural Centre - 'Murrook' means good/happy in the traditional language of the Worimi community (Ghaddung or Kattang). The cultural centre was previously a tourist amusement park which ceased operations in 2004, and is situated on approximately 4.5 hectares of land. The Murrook Centre offers a range of cultural educational experiences, including boomerang and spear throwing (suitable for all ages) - although of course, you won't be attempting to throw The Big Boomerang; it's far too big!
Eddy pictured with The Big Boomerang outside The Murrook Centre.
The (very happy looking) Big Red Ant in Salt Ash sits at the entrance of a pest control service - pretty ironic seeing as their service is to get rid of pests including red ants. Hopefully no one bursts The Big Red Ant's blissful bubble, because we wouldn't want him to run away - please stay put exactly where you are! This 'Big Thing' is a true Aussie character, complete with an Australian flag on its right arm - you definitely won't be finding anything like this fella outside of the country.
The happy Big Red Ant, blissfully unaware of the service his home offers.
This is not the most exciting 'Big Thing' out there (plus it's easily outdone by other Big Koalas in Australia, namely the 2 in Victoria - Dadswell Bridge and Phillip Island), but it's worth stopping by seeing as it's in the same suburb as The Big Red Ant (and also on the way to see the next 'Big Thing'). It's not located in the Park itself (i.e. no admission fees are required to see The Big Koala), but rather on the Nelson Bay Road and Oakvale Drive roundabout that leads to the Park. Oakvale Farm and Fauna World houses 150 different species of native and farm animals, and would make a great day out for any young animal lovers. Who knows, there might be even more 'Big Things' inside the park!
Enticing travellers to visit Oakvale Farm & Fauna World.
Stop #19: The Big Peach Location: Bakker's Big Peach, 36 Port Stephens Drive, Anna Bay NSW 2316
Similar to The Big Pumpkin in Beaudesert, The Big Peach is a prime example of the original reason 'Big Things' were created - to promote businesses in between major towns, usually along the highway. Bakker's Big Peach is a local family owned business that has operated for over 50 years, and sell only fresh produce that is grown from the property.
Stop #20: The Big Whale Location: 5104 Nelson Bay Rd, Nelson Bay NSW 2315
The Big Whale in Nelson Bay might not be 'big' ratio wise (have you seen how big actual whales are?!) but it's very cute so it still makes it as a 'Big Thing' by my books! It's located at the foot of the road leading up to Gan Gan Lookout, Port Stephens' highest and most accessible lookout, granting visitors with 360° panoramic views of beautiful blue seas and lush green trees. It's well worth a visit, and The Big Whale is a 'big' added bonus - pun intended!
We love YOU, Port Stephens, for being home to such a cute 'big' thing!
If the previously mentioned 'Big Things' aren't 'big' when taking into account ratio, then The Big Ayers Rock in North Arm Cove is much, much, much, much smaller than the actual Ayers Rock in the heart of Australia! Nevertheless, it's a great photo opportunity for travellers who don't have the time and/or means to travel to the Red Centre - plus, there's a service station (a necessity on every road trip) and a cafe here for a quick bite to eat.
Stop #22: The Big Oyster Location: Taree Nissan, 98 Manning River Dr, Taree NSW 2430
Also known as The World's Largest Oyster, The Big Oyster in Taree was built based on Taree's local produce - the Manning River produced an impressive 1,752,000 oysters during 2013. Unfortunately, The Big Oyster was an unsuccessful business venture and is referred to by locals as 'The Big Mistake' instead. On the bright side, The Big Oyster itself (not the business) still stands, and is home to a car dealership instead. The Big Oyster has a window in place of a pearl for panoramic views over the coast back when it was still functioning as a restaurant and gift shop, but unfortunately it appears that people are no longer allowed inside.
We're so glad The Big Oyster is still around, even if the business itself no longer is.
Fun fact - although the original Big Axe was built in 1979, the original sculpture was replaced in 2002 due to ant induced damage. Unfortunately, during Eddy's and my road trip, The Big Axe was not at its usual location - it had been taken to be repaired for weather damage over the years. I was initially devastated and thought it was taken away for good (not unusual for 'Big Things' unfortunately), but the friendly lady at the Information Centre informed me that it will be back in a few weeks. I've seen The Big Axe before (although without Eddy), and absolutely love it - hopefully it'll be back soon! The lady was also kind enough to give us a free magnet with The Big Axe on it, to compensate our disappointment. Thank you!
We'll definitely be back so that Eddy too can see The Big Axe in all its glory!
Lake Cathie prides itself on being 'Home of the Big Bowl' - The Big Bowl is a 10-foot high replica of a lawn bowl. However, made using one and a half tonnes of steel and concrete, it is much much heavier than your average lawn bowl! The Big Bowl, unveiled in 1975 and situated in front of Lake Cathie's Bowling Club, is supposedly the biggest lawn bowl in the world - a record they should be proud of.
Stop #25: The Big Beehive Location: The Honey Place, 8147 Pacific Hwy, Urunga NSW 2455
This practical Big Beehive serves as both a 'Big Thing' and as part of The Honey Place - and if it still isn't obvious enough, The Honey Place where The Big Beehive resides sells honey related products, in addition to having a Beeswax Cafe and Nursery. No wonder The Big Beehive is so 'big'!
The Big Bunch of Bananas is the lesser well-known cousin of the iconic Big Banana - I personally love The Big Bunch of Bananas, just because it's less commercialised and quieter than the other Big Banana in the same city. The Big Bunch of Bananas sits prominently above a fruit shop, selling heaps of fresh fruit including, of course, bananas!
A good place to stop if The Big Banana is too mainstream for you!
I understand that 'normal' windmills are already pretty big, but The Big Windmill is still very impressive. Plus, this is one of the few 'Big Things' that you can actually stay at, courtesy of Comfort Inn! They also have a restaurant, Edelweiss Bavarian, here, giving you again a rare opportunity to eat at a 'Big Thing'. With so many things going on for The Big Windmill, it's a must-visit when in Coffs Harbour!
In case you were wondering, I do know that there are actual tyres the same size as The Big Tyre, but seeing as it's much larger than the tyres found on the average car, it can be classified as a 'Big Thing' in my terms! The Big Tyre, of course, sits outside a car repair shop, and is painted blue to match the theme of Goodyear Autocare. Note: There is another Big (Blue) Tyre in Coffs Harbour, outside Beaurepaires located at 118 Pacific Hwy, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450.
Stop #29 & #30: The Big Monkey on a Big Golf Ball & The Big Banana Location: The Big Banana Fun Park, 351 Pacific Hwy, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
Ah, the good old Big Banana - located amidst a banana plantation, The Big Banana is one of Australia's first 'Big Things', built in 1964. It is also arguably one of the most famous, if not the most famous. In addition to banana plantation tours, The Big Banana's other attractions include a downhill toboggan ride, ice skating rink, a water park and the World of Bananas educational experience. The Big Monkey on a Big Golf Ball is somewhat overlooked by visitors at The Big Banana, but I reckon it's really cool seeing as it has two 'Big Things' in the same sculpture! I don't usually take photos with Big Golf Balls (they're far too common), but I love how this Big Golf Ball has a Big Monkey perched on top - plus, it's bright yellow!
The first Big Golf Ball I've stopped to take a photo with - it's so special!
Stop #31: The Big Prawn Location: Bunnings Warehouse, Cnr Horizon Drive & River Street, West Ballina NSW 2478
The Big Prawn is hands down my favourite 'Big Thing' of all time, especially with it's new paint job - it was initially only half finished and sported a dismal looking white paint coat, and was voted by the Ballina Shire Council for its demolition in 2009. Luckily, it was never acted upon, and in 2011, Bunnings Warehouse purchased both the site and the prawn and refurbished the prawn, giving it an immaculate and realistic paint job. I love it so much!
Without a doubt my favourite Big Thing of all time. P.S. Can you spot Eddy?
As much of a 'Big Things' fanatic I am, I wouldn't be driving out of my way to see this particular 'Big Thing'. However, seeing as it's literally 30 seconds from the next 'Big Thing', and seeing as it's just down the road from The Big Prawn, it's worth a stop for a quick snap! The Big Car Battery, true to its name, is located outside a battery shop - again, a good example of the original use of 'Big Things'.
Looks like a very recent Big Thing to me - welcome to the club!
Stop #33: The Big Pineapple Location: BP Fuel Station, 2478 West Ballina, New South Wales 2478
Although admittedly not as 'big' as The Big Pineapple in Nambour, Queensland, The Big Pineapple in West Ballina is still pretty cool and a great place for some photo opportunities, because you can go inside the pineapple and stick your head out - which I'm not too sure Eddy enjoyed, but that's beside the point really. I'm not sure why there is a Big Pineapple here in Ballina, but I'm very thankful to whoever decided that the BP here needs a Big Pineapple!
We love it when you can actually go inside a 'Big Thing'!
Stop #34: The Big Knight Location: Macadamia Castle, 1699 Pacific Hwy, Knockrow NSW 2479
Now this is my type of a knight in shining armour - The Big (Blue) Knight in (paint) armour! The Big Knight in Knockrow is situated at the entrance to the Macadamia Castle, a nut-themed park and store. Although Macadamia Castle charges admission fees for the animal and adventure park, visitors are free to view the gift store, eat at the cafe, and take photos with The Big Knight for free.
There are actually TWO Big Avocados in the same area, which is great news for 'Big Things' fans like me! One of the two is situated on the highway, enticing travellers to exit and pay a visit to Tropical Fruit World in Duranbah - The Big Avocado on the highway is cut in half, with the seed clearly visible, whereas The Big Avocado in front of Tropical Fruit World is whole. Both are great, but of course, it's much harder to get a snap of the one on the highway!
Note: I took the inland route from Brisbane down to Newcastle, and the coastal route back up - but it can easily be done the other way round.
Have you seen any of these Big Things? Which one was your favourite? Most importantly, have I missed any Big Things along this route? If yes, please do leave a comment down below so I can add it to my 'Big Things' bucket list!
I recommend taking a look at the big red back spider in Brisbane. She is perched atop an old-fashioned dunny, which you will agree is glorious. She lives in the yard of a garden centre at Eight Mile Plains that backs onto the highway, but unfortunately I cannot recall its name. If you know where to look you can see it from the highway, but only try it from the passenger seat because it really is a blink-and-you'll-miss it thing.
Very very interesting article. I only know big pineapples and nothing else in the Sunshine State. The big golden guitar and ugg boots are gorgeous and beautifully presented.
Good trip and excellent review.
Jane, I have traveled all over this wide brown country of ours, yet have not seen half of those 'Big things!" Thanks for the info, will have to keep my eyes peeled next time I am travelling between here & Newcastle.
Very interesting- Well done and well written.There was an area about 10km south of Ballina on the eastern side of the highway about 30 yrs ago where they grew pineapples in the sand- this may relate to Ballina's big pineapple where you could buy a fresh crushed pineapple drink- today and for the last 20 yrs it has a fresh seafood outlet.