What fantastic news that one of our country’s most loved tourist attractions, The Big Pineapple is set to get a whole lot bigger thanks to a $150 million redevelopment project announced by the Queensland Government.

Visitors can expect to ultimately see more than 110 new activities arriving on the 170-hectare site; from zip lines and high ropes for adventurers, a water park for chillers and a craft brewery for people who enjoy the finer things. And yes, there will be accommodation so you can stay and play for longer.

The announcement got me to thinking about how Australia loves its “Big Things”. These attractions are part of our Australian tourism DNA. Proudly we have about 150 sculptures and large structures sprinkled across the country.

From the Big Pineapple to the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, Bowen’s Big Mango, Ballina’s Big Prawn, Duranbah’s Big Avocado, Goulburn’s Big Merino, Ned Kelly proudly stands at six metres tall in Victoria’s Glenrowan and let’s not forget to mention Tassie and Young’s big cherries.

I think most of us have fond memories of stopping in at a ‘Big’ thing every time you passed one on the family road trip.

So many of these tourist attractions are not only fun but they also help tell visitors both domestic and international, a little bit more of Australia’s history, as well as the many industries that contribute to our economy.

And one of the best ways to tackle these attractions is to make them part of the great Aussie road trip.
From the outback to the ocean, from the daggy to delightful, Aussies still love exploring their own backyard.

The love of the road trip is reflected in figures released in January this year by Tourism Research Australia showing that locals continue to travel around Australia in record numbers and are happy to open their wallets as they travel.

The data revealed overnight spending is now $70.3 billion annually, up a whopping $6.6 billion, over 10 per cent, from the $63.7 billion spend over the corresponding period last year.

Across the period NSW welcomed 33.6 million visitors, Victoria welcomed 25.4 million, Queensland, saw 22.8 million visitors and 6.6 million visitors traveled to South Australia.

Expenditure was up across all states, with domestic visitors spending up in NSW $20.4 billion, up 13 per cent, Victoria, rising from $13.3 billion to $14.6 billion.

Similarly in the Sunshine State, spending by locals was up a massive 12.5 per cent from $15.7 billion to $17.6 billion over the year. Spending in South Australia was also up 8.7 per cent from $3.8 billion to now sit at $4.1 billion.

Sounds like the perfect time to get out and hit the road.

Happy and safe road tripping!

Margy Osmond