By Susan Roberts
I have no idea how it started – this quest to see some of Australia’s “Big Things” on our recent road trip – but once we’d started we couldn’t stop. Australia is a vast land and it is not short on big natural phenomena, but this blog-post is about the man made ones. Usually made for fun, or to advertise a product or activity, they provide a laugh as they stick up above a sometimes (but not always) flattish landscape.
We had a ridiculous list of them before we started the journey, and each person we interacted with along the way had suggestions we had never even heard of. Some weeks before the trip I had mentioned Tamworth’s Big Guitar in an email to my road trip friend Jackie, and within days she came back with a list of other big things. My sister drove past a few on various journeys around Victoria and friends that she told suggested even more.
In fact, if you Google Australia’s big things you come up with a list that’s so comprehensive it would be impossible to see all in a lifetime, let alone a two week road trip, but we used that wonderfully appropriate Australian expression and decided to “give it a go” and see as many as we could in NSW and Victoria.
On our very first day we drove through Ballina and saw the Big Prawn. This was the biggest and most impressive of all the big things we saw. In a way it was unfortunate that we saw it first, because after that many of the others didn’t really match up. The Big Prawn was taken over by hardware giant Bunnings (another big thing in Australia!) and refurbished at vast cost. It now adorns the entrance to their car park.
In Coffs Harbour the next day we saw the Big Banana. This wasn’t as big as we’d hoped, but apparently it was the first big thing in Australia, so if you believe that originality takes precedence over size then it was a landmark innovation in its time. Size isn’t everything. The Big Banana was unique in that it formed the entrance to the gift shop as well as the banana plantation, and it also contained a sort of potted history on the inside walls when you walked through it.
The following day, in Lake Cathie, we saw the Big Bowl. Not a mixing bowl but a bowling ball outside the local bowling club.
Somewhere along the way we missed a big sheep, a big trout and a few other big things, but nobody’s perfect…
Once we reached Victoria, we saw the Big Rolling Pin in Wodonga. This sits above a local bakery and spins slowly. We were a bit pushed for time so we didn’t sample the delights of the bakery itself but judging by the steady stream of people going in and out, it looked like a good one.
South of Melbourne we visited Phillip Island, and just outside Cowes we saw a Big Koala. I know there’s a Giant Koala somewhere else but this one was outside a motel and rather cute.
We didn’t just look for big jokey manmade things on our trip, but other aspects of the journey will be showcased in greater detail in future blog-posts.