Things to Do

Australia’s Big Things road trip bucket list

It’s no secret that Australia is home to some remarkable attractions which draw the interest of tourists from all corners of the world. From the vibrant Great Barrier Reef to the jaw-dropping Uluru, Australia is known for big and beautiful landscapes.

But it’s not only natural “big” things that catch the attention of tourists! Australia is also home to over 150 big man-made icons ranging from colossal crustaceans and humongous fruit to general “what the?” objects. It’s a bit weird, but it’s a cultural phenomenon and a major tourist trap that you’ll find many locals are oddly proud of.

Fun fact about Australia’s Big Things:

You’ll notice big things are placed sporadically in small towns between big cities. Why? Well, it’s to encourage people driving on long road trips to stop for a break and avoid accidents from fatigue. Smart move Australia!

So, without further ado, we bring to you our “big thing” bucket list for your next road trip!

The Big Banana – Coffs Harbour, NSW

We’ll start with one of Australia’s most famous and loved Big Things: the Big Banana! First of all, it’s a whopping 13 metres long and 5 metres high. We bet it’s the biggest banana you’ll ever see! Built in 1964, the big ol’ banana is in fact the oldest giant sculpture along the east coast of Australia.

The Big Banana is placed at the entrance to the biggest (and best) fun park on NSW’s northern coast. The best part is entry is free! Set amongst banana plantations, this super fun park has many attractions including: a giant slide (the biggest in the country!), a 600m Toboggan ride, a laser tag arena, an entire waterpark featuring rides for kids and adrenaline junkies, a massive 36 hole mini golf course, and, an ice-skating rink!

You can even take a tour of the plantation, visit the opal centre, or take part in a delicious cheese-making workshop.

You definitely won’t run out of things to do at the Big Banana, so make sure you check this big thing off your bucket list!

Big Banana Itinerary

Don’t just stop for a pic and move on! This is the perfect stop along your pacific coast road trip, so take your time and stay a night or two in Coffs Harbour exploring the town.

For your road trip along the Pacific coast, we recommend hiring a van in Brisbane or Sydney and working your way along the coast. The beauty of road tripping in a van is that you have everything you need on hand. You can travel at your own pace, stopping wherever your heart desires. We do recommend making stops at the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Kingscliff, Yamba, Coffs Harbour (obviously), Port Macquarie, and Newcastle along the way.

There are also a bunch of smaller towns along the way that might surprise you!

Travel between June and November and not only will you be met with warm, sandy beaches – you might even see whales in migration!

The Big Golden Guitar – Tamworth, NSW

The Big Golden Guitar in Tamworth

(Photo of the Big Golden Guitar by @lunar_travelling – shared with permission)

Tamworth is Australia’s country music capital. So, it’s only fitting the 12-metre-high Big Golden Guitar was created. The monument commemorates the prestigious Golden Guitar trophy presented to winners at the Tamworth Country Music festival.

In 1988, the Big Golden Guitar was welcomed into the world (or Tamworth) by  late country music legend Slim Dusty during the 16th Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Stop for a bite to eat at the Big Golden Guitar coffee shop before heading to the souvenir and music shop to get your country music fix! The newest addition to the Big Golden Guitar is the Collector’s Museum, which showcases the largest privately owned collection of Sir Donald Bradman Memorabilia.

Don’t miss this icon if you’re a massive country music fan!

Big Golden Guitar Itinerary

So you’ve got your Tamworth Country Music Festival tickets – now what? Well, you had better start planning your trip! As far as road trips go, this one isn’t too long depending on where you’re departing from.

From Brisbane, pack up the van and head south toward Tamworth, stopping at Warwick, Stanthorpe, Glen Innes, and Armidale along the way.  This trip will take just over seven hours without stops, but that wouldn’t be any fun. Stay over night at Stanthorpe and take your time at each of the towns you see along the way.

If  you’re coming from Sydney, it’s a much shorter drive of just over four hours. However, just because it’s short doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the effort to explore the region. Stop at the Hunter Valley along the way and sample the delicious wines and local food – it’s probably a good idea to stay overnight here.

The Big Rocking Horse – Gumeracha, South Australia

The Big Rocking Horse at Gumeracha

(Shot of the Big Rocking Horse by @2kidsandthetravelbug – shared with permission)

The biggest seller of wooden toys in Australia is also home to the biggest toy in Australia! The Toy Factory’s Big Rocking Horse was built in 1981 using 25 tonnes of steel and is set in 80 tonnes of concrete. It’s 18.3 metres high (to the top of its head) and 10.5 metres long from nose to tail.

You can climb this rocking horse and take in the view from three levels. The lowest level is the rocker rails; the next level is a bit higher up where the saddle would be on the horse. Finally, the highest point of the horse is on top of its head. And don’t worry, the rocking horse doesn’t actually rock (in the literal sense anyway).

This icon is a favourite among families with young kids, and not without reason. You can visit the Toy Factory and see how they make their quality wooden toys, and purchase these toys from the gift shop. Alternatively, visit the wildlife park where you can feed the native kangaroos, emus and wallabies, as well as farm animals including goats, alpacas, and sheep.

Big Rocking Horse Itinerary

South Australia is known for its great food and even better wine – so why not set off on a culinary adventure through the state’s four iconic wine regions? Hire a cute campervan (we think Lola would be the perfect fit) and head to McLaren Vale for your first stop on your personal winery tour.  You can play winemaker at the local winery or devour local cheese varieties all morning (why not both?).

Next stop is Adelaide Hills, where you’ll not only find the gigantic rocking horse at Gumeracha, but also chocolate, wine and cheese tastings at Hahndorf and strawberry picking at the Beerenberg Farm.

Continue towards Barossa to sample the local award-winning handcrafted beers, or pass up the boozy lunch for a picnic in the park.  Finish your road trip at Clare Valley, which is home to about 40 wineries. We recommend stopping overnight at each of these locations if you’re imbibing.

This is a definite must-do if you’re road tripping through South Australia.

The Big Lobster – Kingston SE, South Australia

The Big Lobster at Kingston

(The Big Lobster captured by @youngausnomads – shared with permission)

Situated in a pretty seaside town on the south-east coast of South Australia is Larry the Big Lobster, who has called this town home for over three decades. The huge crustacean is 17 metres high, 15.2 metres from mouth to tail, and has frighteningly long  13.7 metre legs. We wouldn’t want to run into a live version of this guy, that’s for sure!

But, why a giant lobster? Well, the town is renowned for its lobster industry and fishing fleet, so the creation of Larry was only fitting. This region is lobster-mad, even celebrating a Lobsterfest every January!

While visiting Larry the Lobster, you can purchase local produce, wine, beer, fresh lobsters and souvenirs. You can also dine in at the award-winning restaurant, which serves the finest  seafood in town.

Big Lobster Itinerary

There’s no better way to explore the coastal beauty of South Australia than road tripping the South Ocean Drive from Port MacDonnell to Kangaroo Island and Adelaide. You’ll find yourself in awe of not only the giant lobster, Larry, but the stunning cliff faces, tumbling waves, and pristine beaches you’ll find along the way.

We suggest you take a detour to the Coonawarra wine region and the Naracoorte caves, before travelling along the coastline to Adelaide, stopping at Kingston SE then up to Victor Harbour, Cape Jervis, Seal Bay and Kingscote. This region is the seafood capital, so park your van alongside the beach for a picnic with some fish and chips.

The Big Boxing Crocodile – Humpty Doo, Northern Territory

The Big Boxing Crocodile at Humpty Doo

(Photo of the Big Boxing Crocodile captured by @notjustbig – shared with permission)

You’ve been driving a while and then suddenly in the distance you spot a gigantic crocodile! He’s wearing boxing gloves (but seems to have forgotten his boxing shorts) and is ready for a fight! You’re not imagining it, he’s really there.

This 13-metre-high crocodile was created as a fresh take on the over-done giant crocodile theme (thanks crocodile Dundee). Its creators say it’s cyclone proof.

This giant croc is located right in front of a service station – a perfect reminder to fill up before continuing on your road trip!

Now, for the most important question: who would win in a fight – a giant boxing croc or a giant boxing roo?

Big Boxing Crocodile Itinerary

Include a visit to the giant boxing croc in your road trip from Darwin to Kakadu. Travel down the Stuart Highway until you reach the Arnhem Highway, and turn left. This road will take you straight towards the heart of Kakadu National Park and Jabiru.  Key places to stop along the way include Humpty Doo (for the croc and the nearby mango plantations), Fogg Dam, Termite Mounds, Mary River National Park and Mount Bundey.

For thrill-seekers, we suggest booking a crocodile-spotting cruise to get up close and personal with these not-so-little terrors.

The Big Mango – Bowen, QLD

The Big Mango at Bowen

(Photo of The Big Mango by @lappingoz_ – shared with permission)

Bowen is known for its delicious mangoes, so why not create a giant version to show the world how much this little town loves them? The Big Mango is one of the most photographed landmarks in Queensland. The entire state was shocked and dumbfounded in 2014 after it was discovered that the 10-metre-tall mango was ‘stolen’.

All was well in the end, as it was discovered that the mango disappearance was merely a publicity stunt by a major fast-food chain. It was returned safely to its home. Who would have thought a giant mango would be missed so much?

When you visit the Big Mango, make sure you sample the to-die-for mango sorbet at the visitor centre, or purchase some of your own delicious fresh mangoes to take home!

Big Mango Itinerary

Include Bowen as one of your stop overs when road tripping from Cairns to Airlie Beach!

Depart Cairns with your nifty campervan from Camplify, and head toward Mission Beach. Make sure you stop at Etty Beach on the way and experience the untouched beach where the rainforest meets the sea. Stay overnight at Mission Beach so you can spend the whole following day relaxing on the sand!

When you’re ready to leave Mission Beach, head towards Paluma and take a detour to the Wallaman Falls – Australia’s highest single-drop waterfall! There’s also another beautiful waterfall nearby – Jourama Falls – which is well worth a visit.

You can either stay a night at Paluma or make your way to Bowen where you can relax in the quiet beach town, and of course, visit the Big Mango. We suggest you stay one night here.

The next morning, wake up bright and early for the drive to Airlie Beach. Stop at Cape Gloucester along the way – a relatively untouched beach with a couple of nearby resorts that we hear make delicious piña coladas! Finally, arrive in Airlie Beach, check in to your accommodation and enjoy the lively beachside town.

The Big Pineapple – Woombye, QLD

The Big Pineapple at Woombye

(Big Pineapple photo by @andra_adventures shared with permission)

The Big Pineapple is the biggest pineapple in the world and one of the biggest roadside attractions in Australia! The heritage-listed icon has a range of attractions that we think make it the best big thing to visit in Australia (no bias here).

First of all, you can venture to the viewing platform at the top of the pineapple and take in the surrounding scenery. Or, stay on ground level and set off on the Pineapple train. The train tours the rainforest, orchids, bamboo forest, and neighbouring zoo. Yep, you heard it right! There is also an on-site zoo that showcases a range of native and exotic animals. For animal lovers – there’s a petting zoo too. You can get up close and personal with the cutest little baby animals! On weekends, the Big Pineapple becomes home to the local farmers market where you can pick up a range of fresh, locally grown fruit and veggies.

But wait – it gets better! The Big Pineapple Music Festival is an annual festival held in May, and draws crowds from all over the south east. Why wouldn’t you want to visit this fruity icon?

Big Pineapple Itinerary

We recommend you stop by the Big Pineapple on your Blackall Range Tourist Drive loop back to Brisbane.

Driving from Brisbane, head north toward the Sunshine Coast and take the Steve Irwin Way out to Landsborough. It’s as easy as following the signposts along the Blackall Range, which will take you high into the mountains and through rainforests. Make sure you stop at the picturesque towns of Maleny, Mapleton, Montville, and Flaxton on your journey.  This region is known for its stunning scenery, rainforest walks, arty towns, and refreshing waterfalls. We recommend spending a night here.

The drive concludes with its descent into Nambour. At this point you should head back towards the Bruce Highway and stop by the Big Pineapple at Woombye. Following this, you will meet a fork in the road where you can choose to either head back to Brisbane, head east toward the coastline, or north towards Gympie. The choice is yours.

So, there you have it, that’s our bucket-list of our favourite big things! You must check these out when you are road-tripping Australia. What are your favourite big icons in Australia? Do you think there is another big attraction we should add to the bucket list?

Do you need a little help planning your next holiday? Campstay can help you find, compare and book holiday parks and campgrounds. Check out our website here, or download our android / itunes app. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or join our group – Everything Holiday Parks! Australia.

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