Have you been to the refurbished Big Pineapple yet? I hate to admit that as a local I hadn’t visited. It wasn’t open when I first moved to the Sunshine Coast and by the time the growers market reopened my “market habits” were well and truly set. That all changed when I got up on Saturday morning and decided, “this is it, I’m going!”
Like everyone else, I’ve driven past it many times and this time I would be stopping to visit the heritage listed Queensland icon and getting up close and personal with the big pineapple. After considerable restoration, it’s again possible to “climb the pine” and enjoy the panoramic view from the lookout at the top.
Since I’m not a Sunshine Coast native I had to do some research on The Big Pineapple. It was originally opened in 1971 as a working pineapple farm and agro tourism by the Taylors. Over the years more land was added. Not only were there pineapples, macadamia nuts and other tropical fruits it grew, there was a also Nut Mobile ride and a small train ride that took passengers on a tour of the plantation. The fun didn’t stop there because they added a small zoo and animal farm with dingoes, deer, donkey, chickens, ducks and pigs. Visitors could also tour the nut factory where they processed the macadamia nuts grown on the 165 hectare site. In 1983 there was a lot of hoo-ha when Prince Charles and Princess Diana took a ride in a Nut Mobile to see everything at The Big Pineapple.
In 1990 when the new Nambour bypass was opened, it meant that the The Big Pineapple was no longer sitting along the Bruce Highway and then in 1991 a mini tornado made a mess of the place and the road to decline was set. All that changed last August when a group of business men purchased the property with the intent to give the icon a new lease on life.
The Big Pineapple growers market is again open every Saturday morning from 6:30am until noon. The animal farm is up and running and the train ride should be operating in the very near future. It’s all looking up for Sunshine Coast tourism. It’s great to see more things for children to see, do and learn.
The market is quite large considering it hasn’t been open all that long. There are fruits and vegetables of all varieties, spice mixes, sauces and chutneys, plants, flowers, baked goods and much more. If you haven’t made a visit to the Big Pineapple, do what I did and get up on Saturday morning and head over there!
I’d never heard of the Saucy Spice Company mixes and was eager to give them a try. Even people who love to cook as much as I do get really busy and a quick spice fix can give me more time for other things. I bought Rangoon Lime Chicken and it was really good. Then I found chef Jamie Milverton’s stall with his great tomato relish and gorgeous bread.
Looking at these photos, I’m hungry again. Can’t wait for next Saturday!