If you haven’t already heard, this year is Wotif’s 18th birthday and we’re celebrating by giving Australia its Next Big Thing. Seriously. We’re taking nominations right now and in a couple of weeks you can vote for your fave from a shortlist of finalists. It’s going to be HUGE (all puns intended).
It’s all super exciting and we’re loving your clever and creative ideas. But a new Big Thing is a Big Deal and we thought some of you might like some inspo to help you think of a Big Idea for the Aussie destination you love. So to help, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favourite Aussie Big Things. Check ‘em out, starting with…
10. Ploddy the Dinosaur
While she’s technically not called the Big Dinosaur, most Big Thing experts agree that Ploddy was probably the first ‘big thing’ built in Australia. She was ‘born’ at Gosford’s Australian Reptile Park in 1963 when the park’s founder, Eric Worrell, decided he needed a little (OK, big) something to put his park on the map. Ploddy has had several makeovers over the years (haven’t we all?) and when the park moved to Somersby in 1996, so did she. Stop by if you want to say hi!
9. The Big Mango
What’s better than a delicious Bowen mango? A BIG Bowen Mango! The Big Mango stands next to Bowen’s tourist information centre and it’s a new kid on the Big Things block, having only been built in 2002. In 2014, it was stolen by Nando’s to promote their new mango and lime flavoured sauce. But it was safely returned with a bonus – the Mini Mango, which is now a 10-minute drive down the road at Santa Barbara Parade.
8. The Big Floating Tap
We’re not saying the Big Floating Tap is a miracle of human creation that somehow defies the laws of gravity… but we’re not not saying it, either. Check it out (and decide for yourself) at A Maze’N Things, an award-winning (and mind-bending) theme park on Phillip Island that’s full of illusions, puzzles, mazes, and magic.
7. The Big Rum Bottle
QLD actually has two big bottles of Bundy, but we say you’ve got to go to the source. Head to the Bundaberg Rum Distillery to get your Big Thing fix and go behind the scenes to discover how one of Australia’s most famous spirits is made. Visit in November – March to see the Mon Repos turtle nesting and hatching seasons as well!
6. The Big Tennis Racquet
We love a Big Thing with a back story and the Big Tennis Racquet has a good one. Located in Evonne Goolagong Park, the 13.8-metre long Big Tennis Racquet is an exact 20:1 scale model of Evonne Goolagong-Cawley’s old wooden Dunlop tennis racquet. If you don’t know your tennis, Evonne is a Wiradjuri woman who, in 1971, became the first Indigenous Australian to win a Wimbledon Tennis Championship. Barellan is her hometown and the Big Tennis Racquet celebrates the town’s connection to an Aussie champ.
5. The Big Golden Guitar
Tamworth is Australia’s country musical capital – and what better way to show it than a giant golden guitar? The guitar is next to the Tamworth tourist centre, which is also home to a wax museum (which is, naturally, full of Aussie country music superstars) and the Collectors Museum – the world’s largest private collection of Donald Bradman memorabilia. That’s 452 (not out!) reasons to pop in for a visit 🏏
4. The Big Ned Kelly
Whatever your opinion of the Kelly gang’s acts or Ned Kelly’s status as an outlaw hero, there’s no denying that the image of Kelly in his homemade armour, fighting his last stand against the police, is one of the most iconic in Australian history. It all went down in Glenrowan, Victoria, and today a 6-metre tall statue of Kelly commemorates the site. Have a squiz at Kate’s Cottage, on the corner of Gladstone and Kate Streets.
3. The Big Merino
Sorry, NZ, but with its massive merino, Goulburn is the real woolly capital of the world. And we do mean massive – the Big Merino is 15.2 metres tall, 18 metres long, and weighs a whopping 97 tonnes! It was built in 1985 and modelled on a real-life ram named Rambo – a stud (in every sense of the word) from a local farm. Today, the Big Merino is a great place to stretch your legs or grab a new pair of fluffy uggs. Head to the Corner of Hume and Sowerby Streets, just off the Hume Highway.
2. The Big Pineapple
When you think Big Things, you think the Big Pineapple. Built in 1971, the Pineapple is one of the originals and still one of the best. It’s had some ups and downs over the years, but is now heritage-listed, with a zoo, mini steam train, and a rockin’ annual music festival. But if you’re a ‘90s Sunshine Coast kid like me, the Big Pineapple probably holds a special place in your heart for the giant old-school parfaits it used to serve back in the day. Ahh, memories 😍
1. The Big Banana
It was a tough call between the Pineapple and the Banana for the No.1 spot, but in the end we had to go for seniority. Built on an actual banana plantation way back in 1964 (just one year after Ploddy), the Big Banana is one of Australia’s first Big Things and it’s still going strong 54 years later, with more than 1 million visitors every year. While the plantation remains, today the Big Banana is also home to an awesome fun park, with waterslides, toboggans, laser tag, ice skating, and mini golf. It’s a great day out for the whole family, so make sure you check it out next time you’re in Coffs.
Full of Big Inspiration? Suggest an awesome Big Thing for your favourite Aussie destination here.