THE GIANT KOALA – GRAMPIANS, VICTORIA
One of Australia’s lesser appreciated Big Things, The Big – no, GIANT – Koala can be found in the tiny settlement of Dadwswell Ridge, at the edge of the Grampians Region of Victoria. Rustic, quaint and quintessentially country Australia, this folorn looking marsupial was erected in 1989 out of bronze and steel and stands an impressive 14 metres tall. Inside, a variety of gifts and food items make for a welcome stop off on any road trip through the area – plus there’s a little zoo to check out as well.
Stay at: Grampians Eco YHA
THE BIG PRAWN – EXMOUTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Outside the Ningaloo Visitor Centre stands Exmouth’s Big Prawn, not to be confused with the Big Prawn in Ballina (yes, there are multiple Big Prawns in Australia). This iconic fibreglass sculpture was originally located outside a local seafood company and was recently donated to Exmouth council as an attraction. Why a prawn, you might ask? Exmouth is famous for its fresh seafood, in particular – you guessed it – king and tiger prawns. Grab a selfie with this loveable 7-metre tall crustacean before losing yourself in the clear blue coral reefs and perfect serenity of Exmouth.
Stay at: Exmouth YHA
THE BIG HEADPHONES – NEWCASTLE, NEW SOUTH WALES
The Big Headphones is the coolest Big Thing you’ve never heard of. The 3-metre high sculpture is actually a massive amplifier from which you can play music. If you don’t have any, the Big Headphones will play some for you from a lovingly curated playlist. Awesome, right? It gets better! By visiting this quirky attraction, you can help support a great cause. The Big Headphones were an initiative built from the bottom-up by not-for-profit The Headphone Project, who help local musicians be heard. Buskers can plug their instruments into the Big Headphones and share their gift with visitors to bustling Darby St, day and night.
Stay at: Newcastle Beach YHA
THE BIG SCOTSMAN – ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
You’ve never heard of this guy, right? Well, he’s the whole reason we can write this article! The Big Scotsman – affectionately known by locals as “Scotty” – was designed and built in 1963, beating the famous Big Banana by a year. Scotty is said to signify the beginnings of Adelaide as a hub for Australia’s best artworks. His designer, Paul Kelly (not the singer), also went on to create The Big Lobster in Kingston. Standing at 5 metres tall, you’ll find Scotty chilling at Nottage Terrace in the suburb of Medindie. It’s definitely worth a visit – brag to your mates that you’ve seen the statue which started a phenomenon!
Stay at: Adelaide Central YHA
THE BIG BANANA – COFFS HARBOUR, NEW SOUTH WALES
The Big Banana may not be Australia’s first Big Thing, but it’s definitely the most famous of them all. No visit to stunning beach town Coffs Harbour is complete without checking out this novelty banana turned full-on amusement park. The Big Banana started with an idea and a dream – in 1964, an Aussie grower wanted something to make passing traffic stop at his roadside banana stall. Today, the 13-metre long, 5-metre high sculpture is only the tip of the iceberg. The Big Banana precint is now the biggest water park between Sydney and the Gold Coast, also featuring a toboggan ride, ice rink, a giant slide and a plantation tour. You can make a full day out of seeing this iconic Australian treasure, and we highly suggest you do so on your way up or down the coast.
Stay at: Port Macquarie YHA
THE BIG CASSOWARY – MISSION BEACH, QUEENSLAND
It’s highly likely that you’ll spot a cassowary during your visit to Mission Beach, so it’s only fitting that Mission Beach’s resident Big Thing is a cassowary! The Big Cassowary in Mission Beach is located just outside the Wongaling Beach Shopping complex. In particular, it’s modelled after the southern cassowary which is native to Australia. Despite their shy nature, when provoked, cassowaries can inflict serious injuries onto humans, so it’s best to keep your distance. But, unlike live cassowaries, this big guy is totally safe to pet and take photos with – all 4 metres of him!
Stay at: Scotty’s – Mission Beach YHA
THE BIG PELICAN – NOOSA, QUEENSLAND
Built in 1977, the 11-metre high Big Pelican is an icon of the Sunshine Coast with a colourful history. He started out as a float for a parade and was such a hit, he became the pride and joy of the Sunshine Coast – making appearances at a number of events to the delight of adoring crowds. You could hop inside him and make him open and shut his bill and wiggle his tail – previous passengers have included celebrities and politicians. Today, he’s happily retired with a permanent home in the heart of the city at Pelican Boat Hire by the Noosa River. Don’t leave Noosa without paying him a visit.
Stay at: Halse Lodge – Noosa YHA
THE BIG WAVE – PHILLIP ISLAND, VICTORIA
Pretty self-explanatory this one. The Big Wave is…well, a big wave, located in the Big Wave Complex amid surf shops and ultra-hip cafes. It also happens to be right outside Phillip Island YHA, so you can tick off one of Phillip Island’s many Big Things as soon as you arrive! Phillip Island is famous for its surf (and penguins), but if you don’t know wax from a wipeout, you can always practise your best surf stances safely in the Big Wave. It looks just like the real thing, we promise. Cowabunga.
Stay at: Phillip Island YHA
THE BIG DUGONG – ROCKHAMPTON, QUEENSLAND
Information about this sculpture is as elusive as the animal it is modelled after. This is one of the only Big Things that isn’t free to see, as it’s located in Rockhampton’s Dreamtime Cultural Centre. However, at a whopping great 22 metres in length, we’d say it’s definitely worth paying a small entry fee to see this guy, learning everything there is to know about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in the meantime. Try your hand at boomerang throwing, see a haunting didgeridoo performance and of course, grab a photo with the Big Dugong and find out why this incredible mammal is so important to Indigenous Australian culture.
Stay at: Rockhampton YHA
THE PUBLIC PURSE – MELBOURNE, VICTORIA
In 1994, the City of Melbourne called for design submissions for unique and distinctive forms of street seating. The result was The Public Purse, created by British artist Simon Perry, with a vision to “signify an interaction between the city and the citizens, the public and the private.” The Public Purse is open to a number of interpretations. Some say it looks like a giant clam, others see it in its intended form – an oversized dropped purse, a symbol of its retail surrounds. Whatever it is, it’s a beloved icon of Melbourne that you should definitely get a pic with while you explore Bourke St Mall, Melbourne’s incredible shopping hub. Just don’t forget your real purse. You’ll need it around here!