Big Things Road Trip – Sydney to Surfers

Big Things Road Trip

Before I came to Australia, my friend Jo gifted me a copy of Bill Bryson’s Down Under. I read that book from cover to cover, and then all over again, and that my friends is how I fell in love with Australia. It was head over heels and love at first sight, or  rather, love at first read. I have Bill to blame for my long lasting love affair with Australia, and also my love of Australian Big Things. You won’t be surprised then, to see that a year or so after my first visit, Jo gifted me another book. Best ever (friend and book.)

big things 1

For those not in the know, Big Things are oversized roadside attractions (usually in hard to find places.) Big Things are always artificially made and they are much bigger than the real thing they represent. In the halcyon days when I backpacked around Australia, I saw a fair few Big Things, including the Big Pineapple, the Big Shell and the Big Captain Cook to name but a few, but I was always hungry for more.

Big Things are quite divisive. People either love them or hate them. Clearly, I fall into the Camp of Love and my dream is to travel around Australia and see all the Big Things in their splendour and glory. True story.

It’s almost impossible to drive between two Australian cities or on a highway without a Big Things encounter but clearly we don’t get out that much and in recent years, I’ve endured a Big Things dry spell. However, that all changed on our recent road trip from Sydney to Surfers and back again. It was a veritable Big Things fest.

If you’re taking a trip up the East Coast you’re in for a big treat – here’s six Big Things you can see if you drive from Sydney to Surfers.

1. The Big Oyster, Taree

We took a detour to the country town of Taree to get a peek at the giant crustacean that is the Big Oyster. It’s a bit out of town and it’s a shell of it’s former self, now that it’s home to a car dealership.

Big Oyster

Apparently, it took 3 months to construct the 20 metre high, 27 metre wide, 20 metre long beast which was unveiled in 1990. It’s glory days were short lived as the tourist attraction closed in 1995 but the garage has been in business since 2000 and although you can’t buy any oysteresque souvenirs, you can still snap your selfie!

Big Oyster

The Big Oyster is located at the Ford Garage, Manning River Drive, Taree North – about a 5 minute drive out of town.

2. The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour

The Big Banana was the first and is probably the best-known of all the Australian Big Things and has attracted millions of tourists since it opened for business in 1964. I’m proud to say I’m now one of them!

Big Banana

The Big Banana is one of the most photographed objects in Australia and measures in at a tidy 13 metres long, 5 metres high and 2.4 metres wide. The Big Banana is a destination in itself with all manner of rides and attractions, but I just wanted to snap and go. You know a Big Thing is really big when it has it’s own website.

Big Banana

The Big Banana is located on the western side of the Pacific Highway, 3 kilometres north of Coffs Harbour.

3. The Big Axe, Kew

Kew was famous for it’s timber industry back in the day so the Big Axe was a no brainer. Unfortunately, the handle of the original axe was devoured by white ants, so the axe head was restored, a new handle was shaped and the new axe was unveiled in 2002.

The Big Axe

The new handle is a tad smaller than the original, measuring up at a tidy eight metres but as axes go, it’s a lot more than I can handle!

The Big Axe 2

The Big Axe is located outside the Kew Visitors’ Information Centre, just off the Pacific Highway on Nancy Bird Walton Drive, Kew.

4. The Big Bowling Ball, Lake Cathie

The Big Bowling Ball at Lake Cathie Bowling Club has been bowling everyone over since 1975. The ball is definitely on the large side with a circumference of 5.983 metres and it tips the scales at 2 tonnes. Wowzers!

Big Bowling Ball

I’m pleased to say the Big Bowl and the Bowling Club are still going strong!

Big Bowling Ball

The Big Bowl is located outside the Lake Cathie Bowling Club, 45 Evans Street (corner of Ocean Drive) Lake Cathie

5. The Big Prawn, Ballina

The last time I visited the Big Prawn was in 2004. It’s one of my all time favourite Big Things because it ticks all the boxes; it’s big, it’s tacky and pays tribute to local industry. (If you’re feeling a bit peckish, you can pop across the road for your own catch of the day from one of the seafood stores.)

 Big PrawnI couldn’t find the circa (pre-digital) 2004 pic so here’s a more up to date version!

Old prawnie has had an extreme makeover since my last visit and is looking very fresh indeed,  as it should for $400,000. Yes siree, that’s how much it cost Bunnings to give the Big Prawn it’s much needed nip and tuck! The new look prawn was unveiled in 2013 and standing 9 metres tall and weighing in at 35 tonnes, I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s still king of the crustaceans!

The Big Prawn

The Big Prawn is located on the Ballina Bunnings Reserve, 507 River Street, Ballina

6. The Big Avocado, Duranbah

The Big Avo has been on my must see list for quite some time and I wasn’t disappointed. The 6 metre high fibreglass Avocado has been adorning the entrance of Tropical Fruit World since 1983.

The Big Avocado

It would seem that the Big Avocado, like the Big Banana is a destination itself. It seems that you need at least a whole day to navigate the wonder that is Tropical Fruit World, with it’s miniature train rides, jungle boat cruise, gardens and many other fun things to see and do. You can find out what’s what and what’s where on the website.

The Big Avocado

Of course, I couldn’t stay long, I only had eyes for the Big Avocado before I was off to the next big thing.

The Big Avocado

I love road tripping. It’s quite the big adventure!

Big Things – do you love them or hate them? What Big Things have you spotted on your adventures? Got any top tips for my next Big Thing?

* Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click to buy the item, I make a little commission but you don’t pay any extra.

  • Love the big things! It gives folks (and kids) something to look forward to when making the long drive. I’ve spotted the Big Banana and the big Prawn among these 🙂

    • There’s so much to love about Big Things, isn’t there? I’m looking forward to a lot more Big Adventures in the future!

  • Oh wow! Love your pics!
    I’m questioning my Australianism though, cause I didn’t even know some of these big things existed! I’ve seen the big banana, the prawn, and the sheep but that’s it! Clearly I need to get out more! One day when the kids are older maybe we’ll do a big things road trip! Xx

    • I wanted to see the Big Merino on our way back from Canberra but I’ve already been there, done that and climbed up his bum so we gave him a miss, much to my distress! Big Trip Road Tripping is such fun and it’s such a great way to see places off the beaten track x

  • Lucy @ Bake Play Smile

    Bahahahaha we do love our ‘big things’ here! So funny! Love your pics lovely lady xx

    • And now I love your (or now I’m almost Australian, I should say “my”) Big Things too. The only problem is so many Big Things and so little time…

  • Lynn Stevenson

    Have you seen the Big Potato at Robertson, Southern Highlands NSW ?

    • Yes, I’ve been a few times. Last time I went it was looking a bit forlorn unfortunately, and looking more like a pootato than a potato. An extreme makeover would not go astray!

      • Lynn Stevenson

        It has had a bit of a makeover – looks better now……. but still ‘often’ mistaken for a pootato ………… lol

        • I will have to come and check it out forthwith! Next time you’re near the spud, please take a pic and send it on. I would love to take a trip down Potato Memory Lane!

  • Always gives me the giggles. My favourite was the big earthworm, because it was just so ugly. Sadly, I don’t think it’s open anymore, but the big potato, like Lynn says, is also hilarious x

    • I’m totally gutted that I missed the earthworm. If it’s not in my Big Things book, it’s not open “sad face.” The big potato is a big favourite of mine, but poor old spud, it’s not really ageing gracefully!

  • Such LOLs! I can recommend Larry the big “lobster” (actually crayfish) down at Kingston SE in South Australia and the Big Koala in the Grampians, VIC. In the US, I’ve also seen the world’s biggest thermometer (somewhere in Arizona, I think?) and the world’s biggest Harley Davidson in Las Vegas!

  • Oooooo FUN! Love all the big things.

  • This is the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages!! Why oh why would you make a big oyster or avocado? Makes me lol just thinking about it.

    • That’s nothing! You should see the other big things. It’s the random that makes them such a big attraction for me! I will never get bored of the Big Things! xx

  • Jo

    Wow! You’ve seen heaps of big things 🙂 An hour and a bit from me we have a big Ram. You’ll have to add it to your list Sammie xx Awesome book and friend

  • Please to note that the Big Avo is located in one of our many worlds. Tropical Fruit World!

    That world joins Movieworld, Seaworld, Dreamworld, Water World, Aussie World, and some of the smaller worlds like soap world, cartridge world, battery world and garage world – worlds the kids hope they don’t end up at by accident in place of the first 3 worlds!

    We have so many worlds in his big brown land of ours. 🙂

  • That is just hilarious!!! I had no idea there were so many big things to see on the East Coast.

    • And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m already planning a sojourn to the Hunter and Newcastle to see a whole heap more. It’s like a never ending Big Things adventure!

  • I just love seeing you pop up next to all those big things!! Such a cool way to explore. I adore Bill Bryson. We went and saw him live when he came to the State Theatre and we both fell in love with him. x

    • I loved popping up next to all those Big Things. It was totally the highlight of the trip. I heart Bill Bryson so hard. I will always remember him as the man who made me fall in love with Australia, before I’d even stepped inside it! How lucky are you to see him live?! A treat indeed! xx

  • It’s just so funny! xx cathy

  • This cracks me up as it is a joke in our family that we need to cross as many big things off our list as possible. You need to see the big guitar in Tamworth too hun xx

  • OMG, the Big Banana! Julie showed me that, but we didn’t have enough time to stop. We had a streak of reviews during that time. We’re the same Sammie – I love Australia, too!!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  • How cool are these big things – I love the prawn

  • LydiaCLee

    I have to admit, I love the big things too – but they’re never big enough!!

  • I am saving this post for next time we head north. I’m with you I just love big things and i seek them out wherever we are.

  • The last time I went through Ballina was in 2012 and the prawn was looking a little worse for wear at that time!! I would love to do a nerdy big things road trip haha.

    • You probably wouldn’t recognise the prawn. It’s looking hot to trot. There’s nothing nerdy about a Big Things Road Trip, it’s all cool!

  • I hate these big things, they are so tacky. But I suppose that is what people love about them.
    Thanks for joining in #wednesdaywanderlust

  • These photos are such fun!! We haven’t seen any of the big things!! I feel left out now. We’re hoping to take the kids up to the Goldie in Dec/Jan hols to the fun parks, so I’ll make sure we see at least some of the biggies on the way. xx

    • You are totally missing out! The kids will love it and because they’re so small, they’ll look extra big! Winning!

  • Oh love the cheesiness of the Big Things, anything to break up those long road trips.

    • More cheese, please! They’re so fun and such a good way to stretch the legs after being in the car for so long!

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    Big Things are awesome! I’ve been to the big prawn, big oyster, big banana and I’ve also been to the Big Merino in Goulburn. I’ve always wanted to get the Big Pineapple in QLD – that’s still on my big list!!!!

    • Snap! I went to the Big Pineapple in my back packer days. My one big regret was that I didn’t take the train around the plantation. It was such fun!

  • LOVE these photos! I can’t get over that axe. That really is big. I’ve done the big pineapple, the big banana, the big prawn and the big avocado. Hooray!!! I love that Bill Bryson book too. I read it while living in the UK and was ever so homesick 🙂

    • Yeah, the axe was massive! There’s so many Big Things still to see in NSW and don’t get me started on all the things interstate! I’m hoping to do another Big Things road trip later in the year. Stay tuned!

  • Fleur @ Our Urban Box

    I love big things!!! Did you know there is a big cask of wine outside of Mildura in VIC? Yep, now that is my kind of big thing haha. You look so happy in all the photos sam! x

    • Yes, there’s a couple of wine related Big Things in the Hunter too and I’m hoping to check them out in the not-too-distant future! I’m such a Big Things nerd, seeing all of them was the highlight of the trip – hence the happy face!