These final stretches of the Big Things Tour of Australia are by far the busiest with Big Things popping up left, right and centre between here and Sydney – the start and finish point of the tour. The warm climate and the tropical surrounds are an added bonus on this part of the tour.
Day 32 – Rockhampton to Bundaberg
We start this leg of the tour heading South from Rockhampton down the Bruce Highway past Gladstone. About 2 hours along the way we arrive at a small town called Miriam Vale, the home of the Big Crab – the town’s tribute to the famous Queensland mud crabs. The Big Crab sculpture, at two metres high is an intimidating presence located on the roof of the local shell service station and roadhouse restaurant. He was originally built by the restaurant owner of the time who wanted to promote his crab sandwiches.
The town of Bundaberg is our next stop and Bundaberg is famous for one thing and one thing only – Bundaberg Rum! So it is fitting that the town has paid tribute to its famous export by erecting a six metre high Big Bundaberg Rum bottle located near the Bundaberg Rum distillery. Econo Lodge Park Lane is a great Bundaberg accommodation that features an outdoor pool and onsite restaurant.
Day 33 – Bundaberg to Hervey Bay
(1 hour 30 minutes)
Hervey Bay is home to two ‘big things’, the first a Big VB Can. Queenslanders love their beer but why they chose to celebrate VB (Victorian Bitter) rather than the local drop XXXX is a mystery. The Big VB Can is on display at the Big Can Liquor Barn leaving visitors in no doubt as to the nature of the business.
The second and by far most impressive Big Thing in Hervey Bay is the very appropriate ‘Nala’ the Big Whale. Built out of stainless steel and timber Nala weighs 22 tonne, is 11.5 metres long and 8.5 metres high. Built in recognition of the town’s reputation as the best whale watching town in Australia Nala was named after a real humpback whale that has returned to Hervey Bay every year since 1992 in her annual migration. There is also a smaller Big Whale built into a roundabout at the entrance to town, considered the baby of Nala. Choose to stay at the Comfort Inn on Main Hervey Bay that offers spacious and contemporary accommodation near Hervey Bay attractions.
Day 34 – Hervey Bay to Noosa
(2 hours 25 minutes)
Next stop Maryborough and the Big Ned Kelly who stands proudly in front of a local motel and petrol station. Ned Kelly’s relevance to the area is a bit of a mystery with the only explanation offered by locals, that Ned Kelly once stopped off in the area, during his travels, to visit relatives. On all accounts a bit of a stretch but, nonetheless, Ned Kelly is a worthy contributor to the Big Things Tour of Australia.
Gympie and its Big Pineapple is only a short drive further south along the Bruce Highway. This is not the more famous iconic Queensland Big Pineapple that so many Australian’s are aware of, but locals say it was the original Big Pineapple and that its more famous counterpart, only a couple of hours down the road at Woombye, is in fact the imposter. Gympie’s Big Pinapple is only half a pineapple and stands on top of an old derelict service station.
Hitting the road again heading towards Noosa we pass the town of Tewantin and its aptly name House of Bottles. The House of Bottles is made from over 35,000 glass bottles and houses a bottle museum containing 10,000 bottles ranging from 2000 year old bottles to more recent ones. The Big Stubby at the front of the House of Bottles is constructed out of 17,000 stubbies and stands at 8.5 metres high. There is a three storey set of spiral staircases inside the big stubby and a 15 metre spiraling slippery dip to the bottom. Built in 1966, the House of Bottles and the Big Stubby are one of the most interesting sites on this tour.
A hop, skip and jump and we’re in Noosa and greeted by the Big Pelican. Affectionately known as ‘Percy the Pelican’ or ‘Pelican Pete’ he was originally built in 1977 as a float for the Festival of the Waters Parade, he has since been moved and restored several times and now resides in the Noosaville Lions Park near the Noosa River.