Ah, Big Banana (or Banana City as it was renamed by little man) you did surprise us. We’d been told about the Big Banana by several people and, looking online, we though it looked a bit naff. We were wrong – sorry banana people!
Located at 351 Pacific Highway, which is a short drive from the centre of Coffs Harbour, the Big Banana was created in 1964, when John Landi wanted to make passing traffic stop at his roadside stall, and came up with the idea of the Big Banana. It officially opened on December 22nd 1964, and has evolved over the last 50 years to host a range of activities for the whole family, such as a water park, laser tag, toboggan run, mini golf, ice-skating, candy kitchen, theatre and a banana plantation tour.
If you want to take part in any activities, it gets cheaper the more you do, and it is all reasonably priced too, something we’d found lacking around the area. Our first stop was the toboggan run. This was the main draw for us, as we’d missed our chance to do it in Salamander Bay whilst we were further down in NSW, as little man refused to go on it. No hesitation this time! Although he was too small to go on his own, he took it in turns to sit in front of me or hubby. I think I was fastest, but hubby would tell you differently. 😉
Mini golf was next. Oh goodness, it was funny. Little man is good for a couple of holes, then he loses any interest in playing properly, so each hole can take quite some time! If you want to test your patience, take a toddler to play mini golf. However, despite that, he seems to always manage to get a hole in one every time we play!
One thing we had to do while we were at the Big Banana, was have a banana ice-cream. I can’t say I’ve ever thought it was the nicest flavour, but after being given a little sample I got a cone. It was gorgeous and, if you go, you should get some. Little man got that big a scoop it ended up all over him in a big drippy mess. Should have gone for the baby cone at $2.50, d’oh!
We missed the water park on the first day as we didn’t realise it was scheduled in sessions, and with an entire evening of ‘Banana City’ talk after day one, we simply had to return the next day. Little man had a blast at the water park too. The session ran for an hour and a half, which was just about enough for the size of it. There was plenty of seating when we went, but if it was holiday time, I’d imagine it would be packed, so get there a bit early if that’s the case.
If we’d just been passing, the Big Banana monument alone would have made little man happy, as he loved running through the inside of it. If you just want to visit the giant banana itself, which is located out front (you can’t miss it!), you can, for free. We also found the gift shop wasn’t too badly priced, so don’t fear taking the kids in. There’s a whole host of banana-related items, as you’d expect, and also general kids toys and clothes. Even bought him a couple of sneaky Christmas presents, since the prices were good.
The Big Banana provided our family with some great fun and laughter, and didn’t come with a massive price tag. Definitely recommended for a few hours of family fun in Coffs Harbour, and we would always go back if we were passing, even if it’s just to get a banana ice-cream!
- Find out the water park times before you go so you’re not disappointed.
- If you’re just passing, you can just pop to the Big Banana, get your pics taken, then maybe have lunch and an ice-cream, without paying any entrance fee.
- The activities are a bit spread out, but all the activities are within walking distance. Just a little warning if there’s anyone with mobility problems.
- There are camera stations in front of the Big Banana, so you can set the timer on your phone or camera and the whole family can get in the same picture. Probably be careful your camera doesn’t get swiped if it’s busy though.
- Parents can just watch at the water park, meaning you don’t have to pay. Saves some cash if you’ve got a few kids.
- Try and have a general idea of the activities you want to do before you go, as the more you book at the same time, the more discount you get.
- Lastly, don’t forget to get a banana ice-cream or a chocolate coated banana. 🙂