A road trip of Australia’s roadside monuments
The Big Banana
Only three weeks into our epic tour of kitsch on a grand scale and we’ve arrived at the oldest and most famous Big Thing of all – Coffs Harbour’s Big Banana.
Without doubt, this iconic structure is the mid north coast town’s most famous tourist attraction. In fact, the Big Banana is so important it not only has its own theme park, but it’s also been commemorated on a postage stamp. These are two of the three surest signs of serious street cred (having your own reality TV show is the third).
In spite of its fame and monumental iconic status, the Big Banana has very humble and quiet origins. It was first erected merely as a way of attracting passing motorists to a small roadside banana stall. This may sound tacky, but consider these two points: it was modelled on an actual prize-winning banana, ensuring it would always look delicious, and the year was 1964, which was before Australia had any Big Things at all. The idea of a large fibreglass roadside monument shaped like a piece of fruit was therefore completely original. The Big Banana was a big hit from day one.
In its 47 years, the Banana has been transformed from educational centre to huge banana-themed fun park. Now in its middle age, the Banana seems to be having a bit of a mid-life crisis though, with lots of youth-oriented attractions being added to the park, like the inflatable water slide (the world’s largest), the Wild Toboggan Ride and the Big Banana Ice Rink. This may mean we can also expect to see the Big Banana driving around in a hotted-up sports car and dating much younger, prettier pieces of fruit.