Are you thinking about visiting Australia? You should; we have some of the best – and most varied- landscapes, from Sydney Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef to the red rock of Uluru and white sandy beaches of the Whitsundays.
And then we have the big things — more than 50 of them!
Part of the ritual of road tripping around Australia is stopping to collect photos with any “big” things you pass.
To not partake seems insulting to the people who worked hard to build such amazing monuments to local communities, which is why I’m always to first to call for a pitstop turned photo op.
As any true blue Queenslander will tell you, you can’t go to the Sunshine Coast without a stop at the Big Pineapple (check!) and while passing through Tamworth last year, I stopped at the Golden Guitar. Twice.
So you can imagine my delight when Friday’s spin through Ballina took us past the Big Prawn!
It’s pretty clear, even from 100m away, that there’s no throwing this shrimp on the barbie — the concrete and fibreglass prawn stands at nine meters tall, 20-something meters wide and weighs 35 tonne, making it one cracker of a crustacean.
First built in 1989, Ballina Shire Council voted to allow the demolition of the Big Prawn in September 2009 (wtf!) but thankfully, with a little help from the local community, didn’t go ahead with the ridiculous plan.
Bunnings Warehouse purchased the Big Prawn back in 2011, spending $400,000 to perk up the prawn and move him to sit at the entry to their site.
Following the makeover, which included a new tail, the Big Prawn was reopened in July 2013, once again claiming it’s spot on the list of “must see” places in Ballina (and let’s be honest, Australia).
In 2014, Bunnings sold the title of the site and the hardware store, but not the rights to the prawn, to a private investor for $21m in 2013. I can only imagine how much the price would have gone up if they’d thrown in the 35 tonne prawn … especially if we’re talking Easter/Christmas prices!
So now that I’ve ticked the Big Prawn off my bucket list, where should I head next? The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour? The Big Apple in Stanthorpe? The Big Merino in Goulburn?
(PS. Before you head off, can you please take a moment to admire how long my legs look in that photo … It’s some kind of optical illusion, but I love it. Thank you.)