The Big Pineapple is a tourist attraction and working farm situated at Woombye near Nambour, Queensland. There are rides, tours of pineapple plantations and other agricultural products, shops, restaurants and exhibits for visitors to enjoy.
The Big Pineapple features two rides: One on a Nut Mobile, the other on a small train. The rides take visitors around the plantation while the driver broadcasts information about the plants at the plantation, along with a history.
The plantation also features a small animal farm where visitors may feed the animals. Such animals include: Dingoes, a Deer, a Donkey, Alpacas, pigs, chickens, ducks and various birds. The plantation used to house a Macadamia Nut factory. They still grow macadamia nuts and visitors may stop on the Nut Mobile ride to sample Macadamias for free.
Inside the main shop area is a souvenir . Some of the popular foods include: Fruit Salad parfaits and Macadamia Nut parfaits.
1972 In the first year of operation, the attraction was the recipient of the first award presented by the Australian National Travel Association for a tourist development in Queensland.
1978 At 3:00am on 11 September, the building housing the Tropical Market and Restaurant was completely destroyed by fire following an attempted burglary. A tremendous team effort was made by all staff to open for business at 11:00 the same morning under hastily erected marquees. The then Governor-General, Sir Zelman Cowan, opened the new complex on 19 December, just three months later.
1981 The purchase by Lanray Industries Limited inspired a further burst of creative energy at the plantation. The 'Natural Queensland' theme was born, giving wonderful scope for expansion of the 'Tropical Agriculture through Tourism' theme.
1982 Despite the recession during this period, the Big Pineapple continued to flourish and in the 4 years of Lanray's ownership, profitability nearly doubled. During this time of rapid growth, the following developments took place:
1985 Queensland Press Limited became the new owner of the Big Pineapple.
1986 The acquisition of 8 more properties brought the total land holdings to 113 hectares.
1987 The land purchased on the southern side of the highway allowed the construction of new car parking facilities -- accommodating a further 20 coaches and 420 cars and a pedestrian bridge was constructed to span the highway. The Big Pineapple underwent a major redevelopment project:
1988 Saw the opening of 'Tomorrow's Harvest', a massive greenhouse displaying innovative horticultural technology. RAPS night-time family restaurant opened in June.
1989 The 'Magic Macadamia' was opened to promote the Macadamia Industry and the unique qualities of the Macadamia.
1990 The Sunshine Coast's road system was augmented by two major additions: the Sunshine Motorway (January) and the Nambour bypass (November). The Big Pineapple confirmed its appeal as a unique destination with no decline in attendance attributable to the changes.
1991 In December a mini-tornado caused substantial damage to Tomorrow's Harvest attraction, closing it for seven weeks while temporary repairs were affected. The 'Rainforest Stop' opened in December, adding rainforest walks and the animal nursery to the Train tour experience.
1992 Saw the opening of the 'Arts and Crafts Gallery' in the retail area beside the trai station and the expansion of the leisurewear department upstairs to feature ranges of the celebrated Australian brands 'Akubra' and 'Driza-Bone'.
1993 During a seven week closure in May/June, the Tomorrow's Harvest attraction was refurbished: the tornado-damaged roof was replaced, the displays upgraded and 'Robbie the Robot' was 'born'. Plantations Restaurant received a colonially-themed makeover during a major refit in September. Punkahs, evaporative cooling, new decorative facades and upgraded lighting and signage were added to the upstairs retail area during the refurbishment project completed in December.
1994 A major refurbishment of Sunshines Restaurant was completed in June. Competition from the introduction of poker machines in Queensland forced the closure of The Endeavour Foundation's long running bingo game in August and RAPS Restaurant in September.
1995 The 'Farm Show' was added to the Train tour in September. Guided tours of the Macadamia Factory for Nutcountry passengers commenced in December to enhance the experience when the factory was not processing.
1996 The 'Bromeliad Feature' was added to the Tomorrow's Harvest attraction in February. The 'Wildlife Garden' featuring koalas and other native animals was opened in April. Roughend Pineapple Pty Limited became the new owner of Sunshine Plantation in July.
2003 The Big Pineapple was threatened to be sold to liquidators after refusal to pay creditors by company director Mr. Graham Hayes.
2008 The Big Pineapple's future is looking very grim if the public do not get behind and support it.. Over half of the Plantation is no longer in use. Although the main feature The Big Pineapple, Animal Nursery, Restaurant and Shops are still open the Farmer's Markets held on a Saturday morning seem to be the only draw card.
A rival Big Pineapple sits atop a disused petrol station in Gympie, some 100km to the north. Another 'small Big Pineapple' is located at the front of a petrol station in Ballina, NSW.
In the United States, an airline called The Hawaii Express, which operated service between Los Angeles, California and Honolulu, Hawaii in 1982 and 1983, was nicknamed "The Big Pineapple" because of that design which was painted on the mango-colored tail of the aircraft.