I have fond memories as a child of visiting the Big Pineapple in Woombye, the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, and the Big Merino in Goulburn, three of the iconic large fibreglass structures that Australia has become famous for. For some unknown reason (to me anyway), the human race seems to have a fascination with all things ‘super big’ and ‘super small’; just look at the amount of records that are kept on the ‘biggest _____ ever caught’, the ‘largest _____ in captivity’, the ‘smallest _____ in the world’. Over the years I have passed many other ‘big’ tourist attractions including the Big Trout, the Big Prawn and even a mini Uluru, nowhere near the real thing. This has sparked my curiosity so I decided to do some research and put together an itinerary taking in as many ‘big’ (or small) attractions around Australia that I could squeeze in. Fortunately, there are Choice Hotels in nearly all major towns in Australia (and many not so major) so you can be guaranteed a good night’s sleep in one of our comfortable, clean hotels at every stop. Take the family along or go solo. Do the whole itinerary in one go, or split the trip into sections like I have. But don’t forget to take a photo of every big thing you see.
Day 1 – Sydney to Goulburn (2 hours)
My trip starts in Sydney where I live and my first stop is actually a ‘small’ attraction in the form of a replica Sydney Harbour Bridge in Warwick Farm, although for a replica I guess you would consider it ‘big’. The replica is at the entrance of a car dealership but was originally built for an exhibition and then installed by the car dealer to attract customers. From here I head off south to the Big Saddle in Picton which is largely unimpressive (pun intended) and positioned in front of a saddle shop with the intention of catching the eye of passersby. Next stop, the Big Apple (relatively speaking only), perched precariously on top of a sign at the Tennessee Orchard in Yerrinbool and looking somewhat more like a big cherry than a big apple. The pink and white candy striped Big Pavlova in Marulan is only 45 minutes further South and was once a pavlova shop, unfortunately it closed down in 1991 and now stands derelict in an overgrown field. Goulburn’s famous Big Merino is the last stop on my travels for the day. Standing at an impressive 15 metres tall the concrete Ram has been nicknamed Rambo by locals. Built as a monument to Goulburn’s thriving wool industry, the structure contains a gift shop containing everything wool and visitors can also take a trip to the top to a lookout platform to view the surrounding sheep farms.
Stay the night in our 3.5 star Goulburn accommodation at the Comfort Inn Posthouse which offers a variety of room types including spacious family units and interconnecting rooms.
Day 2 – Goulburn to Rutherglen (4 hours)
From Goulburn, we head south to Gundagai to the Dog on the Tucker Box, maybe more a monument than a ‘big’ attraction but still one of Australia’s best known icons. The legend of the dog on the tucker box was created in the 1850’s and has become entrenched in Australian folklore and is a must include on every ‘big tour’ of Australia. Onwards to Holbrook, the home of the Big Submarine. Although really more ‘life sized’ than big, I think its measurements help it to fall comfortably into the ‘big’ category. Although quite some distance from the ocean, Holbrook has become the final resting place of the decommissioned Australian submarine HMAS Otway which is quite a site in its unusual rural setting.
Not one of the most exciting ‘big’ things, but the Big Rolling Pin on top of Henri’s Bakery, Cafe & Juice Bar claims to be the biggest rolling pin in the world; I do struggle to think it has much in the way of competition! Heading west to the wine country of Rutherglen you will come across the Big Bottle. The Big Bottle is actually a water tower which has been capped with a metal top giving it the appearance of a rather large bottle of wine indicative of the local wine making industry; once again, probably not a highlight of the tour.
The Econo Lodge Motel Woongarra is a great place to stay for a night or two and the ideal base to explore the surrounding wine country. Our Rutherglen accommodation boasts an outdoor pool and on-site restaurant, and is within walking distance of local wineries.
Day 3 – Rutherglen to Swan Hill (4 hours)
Heading further along the mighty river will take you to two excellent examples of ‘big’ architecture. Firstly, the seven metre long fibreglass and steel Big Murray Cod in Tocumwal, the brainchild of 3 local women in the 1960’s who decided Tocumwal needed something to ‘put it on the map’. Nearby you can find the Big Strawberry, a shining example of oversized fruit at the front of a strawberry farm and restaurant, erected to attract customers to the delights of picking your own strawberries.
The Big Milkshake Containers at the Golden Cow dairy centre in Tongala stand at 3 to 4 metres tall and again created to pay homage to the local industry, in this case, dairy. Just in case you haven’t had enough of big fish, Swan Hill’s Big Murray Cod eclipses Tocumwal’s version in size and fame. Standing at six metres high and 15 metres long, ‘Arnold’ as he is affectionately nicknamed, was built to star as a prop in the 1991 Australian movie Eight Ball. The townsfolk liked him so much they found a permanent home for him on the bank of the river where he has stood in all his glory ever since.
Choice has two fabulous hotels in Swan Hill to choose from, the four star Comfort Inn Campbell within walking distance of Swan Hill’s Pioneer Settlement and featuring contemporary rooms with modern features, or the Comfort Inn Lady Augusta offering great value, well located Swan Hill accommodation.
Day 4 – Swan Hill to Kingston, South Australia (5 hours 45 minutes)
Day four takes us further south in Victoria. Side by side in the Victorian town of Ouyen are the somewhat unimpressive The Big Wheat and The Big Mallee Stump of which the latter is an example of nature at its biggest. The Big Wheat is a towering structure of two shafts of wheat holding a clock, presumably to represent the local agricultural industry of the region. The Big Mallee Stump is actually the largest Mallee stump in Australia and is estimated to be hundreds of years old and is at least a couple of metres in diameter.
Heading south to the small town of Dadswells Bridge in Victoria you’ll find it hard to miss The Giant Koala. At an impressive 14 metres high, the Giant Koala houses a gift shop and fronts a small petting zoo which features…. you guessed it – koalas! There is also a licensed restaurant, takeaway and lolly shop and even a BBQ area so you can cook your own meal and picnic among the animals.
Moving west into South Australia we run into the pretty coastal town of Kingston, the proud owners of The Big Lobster. The Big Lobster is a shining example of what a ‘big thing’ should be; at 17 metres tall it can definitely be classified as big, and its likeness to the real thing is very good. Rumour says that the lobster was accidentally built at three times the intended size as the measurements were read as metres when they were actually feet!
Choice Hotels Econo Lodge Kingston is only 5 and a half kilometres from the Big Lobster and features comfortable Kingston accommodation with rooms to suit all types of travellers.