The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour

Is it the biggest banana in the world?  The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour must come mightly close.  It’s certainly up the top of the list of Australia’s Big Things.

The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour

The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour

I can remember as a child listening with awe to stories of visits to The Big Banana. I tried to convince Mum and Dad on an annual basis for about 5 years that we should travel north to experience its big excitement.  In my pre-teen mind The Big Banana was so amazing and of such cultural significance that I was being deprived by their refusal to go there.

It was with more excitement than I care to admit that we decided to spend two weeks on on New South Wales’ mid north coast. As we drew closer to Coffs Harbour the anticipation at seeing one of our most famous landmarks began to well up.  My husband and I built up The Big Banana to an almost iconic level to our kids.  So it was a slight anticlimax when we actually drove past.

It wasn’t as big as I expected.  It wasn’t announced with the fanfare I expected – just the usual brown tourist signs.  Even worse, the locals and long-time Coffs Coast holiday makers we met seemed to think it was a bit passe.  An overpriced tourist trap that they wouldn’t bother with “if it wasn’t for the kids”.  My dream!  Shattered!

Not wanting to be gullible tourists parting with our hard earned dollar too easily, we tempered our Big Banana excitement and played it cool by the pool.  In the end it got too much.  I couldn’t be so close and let the opportunity slip.  So I convinced my husband that, tourist trap or not, we should go for.  Just for the, er,  kids mind you 😉 .

The Big Banana started life as a way to attract passing traffic to a roadside banana stall.  It developed an educational focus where visitors could learn everything there is to know about bananas and tour the local plantations.  It’s third incarnation has well and truly shifted the emphasis to entertainment with toboggan rides, water slides and ice skating.  @coffscoast on Twitter tells me it’s all about slippery things, as in banana skins.  There are also a puppet maker and a candy kitchen on site.  There is still a (shorter) plantation tour, along with a “World of Bananas” presentation.

We arrived too late in the day to make it worthwhile purchasing tickets to any of the attractions (the cheapest was $14/child for 1 1/2 hours ice skating and two toboggan rides or presentation and tour).  Fortunately the kids were more than happy to have their photo taken in front of The Big Banana followed by a (very expensive) banana sundae from the on site cafe.

We also made an obligatory visit to the souvenir shop where the two girls chose short lived toys.  The boy’s purchase was more useful: The Little Book of Big Aussie Icons.

It generated a whole new bout of excitement as we flicked through the pages and imagined how fantastic the remaining 49 big things would be to visit.  I know I’ll be disappointed, but after all, it’s for the kids.

What: The Big Banana

Where: 351 Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour, NSW

When: Daily, 9:00 – 4:30 (except Christmas Day)

More Info: www.bigbanana.com or  phone 02 6652 4355

Happy travels,

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Comments

4 Responses to “The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour”
  1. Lightening says:

    I couldn’t come at the food prices there which meant we didn’t stay long as we were starving and on our way to the caravan for lunch. We took the photo and had a quick glance through the gift shop. I did hear though that the sweet making demonstration at the sweet shop out the back is well worth seeing.
    .-= Lightening´s last blog ..Just Like Christmas Morning =-.

  2. Leanne says:

    Thanks for your comment Lightening 🙂 Unfortunately, these attractions start to get quite expensive as the family grows! We missed the sweet making demo too. I would have loved to have seen it.

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