Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

Our big things vs their big things

New Zealand and Australia both have some great Big Things - but who has the best? Photo / Wikimedia Commons, NZ Herald
New Zealand and Australia both have some great Big Things - but who has the best? Photo / Wikimedia Commons, NZ Herald

In both New Zealand and Australia, we pride ourselves on our "big things" - whether it's the carrot in Ohakune or the banana at Coffs Harbour.

In the spirit of transtasman competition, we've chosen some of our favourite Kiwi big things and pitted them against their Aussie equivalents.

Paeroa's Big L&P Bottle vs Bundaberg's Big Rum Bottle

Paeroa's Big L&P Bottle is world famous in New Zealand. Photo / NZ Herald
Paeroa's Big L&P Bottle is world famous in New Zealand. Photo / NZ Herald

The Big L&P Bottle has been a Kiwi classic since way back - it's arguably our best known "big thing". It first mysteriously appeared in Christmas 1968 and was built from the same materials as the previous years' Paeroa Rocket. While the original bottle was dismantled after it was deemed a traffic hazard, a smaller one was unveiled at at Ohinemuri Reserve the following year.

Bundaberg's Big Bundy Bottle. Photo / Wikimedia Commons
Bundaberg's Big Bundy Bottle. Photo / Wikimedia Commons

Its closest Aussie rival would be the Big Bundy Bottle in Bundaberg, Queensland. Built in 1988, this Big Rum Bottle doesn't quite have the same historic pedigree.

Winner: The Big L&P Bottle.

Dargaville's Big Kumara vs Robertson, NSW's Big Potato

The big kumara at the Kumara Box in Dargaville. Photo / Supplied
The big kumara at the Kumara Box in Dargaville. Photo / Supplied

Dargaville's Kumara Box is a pretty unique attraction. Visitors are greeted by not one, but two giant kumara - one red and one golden. They might not be the biggest "big things" - compared to an adult man, they appear to be about 2-3m high. The Kumara Box is the brainchild of Warren Suckling, known locally as "Ernie the Kumara King". He offers guided kumara tours on a special tractor train.

Robertson has a giant potato - at least that's what it's supposed to be. Photo / Wikimedia Commons
Robertson has a giant potato - at least that's what it's supposed to be. Photo / Wikimedia Commons

Australia doesn't have much to write home about when it comes to giant vegetables - they're more into big fruits. However, Robertson in NSW is widely known for potato growing and a giant potato was built by local grower Jim Mauger. It's an impressive 10m long and 4m wide, but it just isn't very aesthetically pleasing.

Winner: The Big Kumara, because they have heart.

Te Puke's Big Kiwifruit vs Sunshine Coast's Big Pineapple

The giant kiwifruit at Kiwi360. Photo / Wikimedia Commons
The giant kiwifruit at Kiwi360. Photo / Wikimedia Commons

Visitors to Kiwi360 in Te Puke are greeted by this cheerful kiwifruit that is miraculously green on one side and yellow on the other. It also helps to lure in working tourists for the fruit-picking season.

The Big Pineapple in Gympie. Photo / Wikimedia Commons
The Big Pineapple in Gympie. Photo / Wikimedia Commons

However, Australia's Big Pineapple is a truly incredible SpongeBob-esque work of art. The iconic giant fruit dates back to 1971 and is known and loved around the world. It's also a survivor - in 1978, the Pineapple was burned down during an attempted robbery. Luckily, it was rebuilt to its former glory within a few months. In 1991, it was damaged during a mini-tornado, which closed it for seven weeks. In 2009, it was put into receivership but was later purchased and reopened by a local family.

Winner: The Big Pineapple, for being a fighter.

Te Kuiti's Big Sheep Shearer vs Goulburn's Big Merino

Sheep flock in front of Te Kuiti's giant shearer. Photo / NZ Herald
Sheep flock in front of Te Kuiti's giant shearer. Photo / NZ Herald

Te Kuiti is the sheep-shearing capital of the world, hosting the National Shearing Championships each year. The massive sheep shearer statue reflects this history and at 7m high, it's the world's largest shearer.

The Big Merino in Goulbourn. Photo / Wikimedia Commons
The Big Merino in Goulbourn. Photo / Wikimedia Commons

But when it comes to giant sheep, Goulburn's Big Merino is where it's at. Standing 15.2m tall, this colossal ram has been a town fixture since 1985 and has been nicknamed Rambo by locals. Rambo's rolls of fleece and stoic expression are truly impressive.

Winner: Rambo - we might be all about the sheep, but Australia does a pretty decent statue of one.

Ohakune's Big Carrot vs Coffs Harbour's Big Banana

Ohakune's Big Carrot. Photo / Wikimedia Commons
Ohakune's Big Carrot. Photo / Wikimedia Commons

We've chosen to compare these two due to Australia's lack of giant vegetables - at least they're roughly the same shape.

Described by Lonely Planet as a "not so much 'Don't Miss' as 'Impossible to Miss'", Ohakune's big orange tribute was erected in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand's most-hugged big things. It's reportedly the world's largest model carrot and the town even holds a Carrot Festival each year.

It's amazing that Coffs Harbour's Big Banana hasn't gone brown after all these years. Photo / Wikimedia Commons
It's amazing that Coffs Harbour's Big Banana hasn't gone brown after all these years. Photo / Wikimedia Commons

The Big Banana has a vast history in Coffs Harbour. Constructed in 1964, it was one of Australia's first "big things". It's located in the grounds of a banana plantation and you can walk right through it. It was commemorated in a special "big things" stamp set by Australia Post, which also featured the Big Merino, Pineapple and Golden Guitar.

Winner: It's a tie.

Gore's Golden Guitar vs Tamworth's Golden Guitar

Tamworth's Big Golden Guitar. Photo / Wikimedia Commons
Tamworth's Big Golden Guitar. Photo / Wikimedia Commons

They're both country music capitals and they've both got very large guitar statues - but which is better? Tamworth has gone for a simpler design, which stands at 12m high with a fibreglass and wood construction. It was unveiled in 1988 by Aussie country music legend Slim Dusty and is modelled directly on the trophies given at the Country Music Awards of Australia in Tamworth.

Gore's Golden Guitar. Photo / NZ Herald
Gore's Golden Guitar. Photo / NZ Herald

Gore's got a bit of an advantage here - it's got two guitar statues. The original 7.5m statue of an acoustic guitar was unveiled 28 years ago, but would only be displayed just before the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards. It was put into storage in 1999, but had a triumphant return in 2013. A more permanent statue proclaims Gore as "NZ's Capital of Country Music" and keeps it international with a map of the world on the bridge.

Winner: Gore. Because two is better than one.

Special mention: The Big Bogan

The Big Bogan is the latest - and greatest - big thing in Australia. Photo / Flickr, John
The Big Bogan is the latest - and greatest - big thing in Australia. Photo / Flickr, John

There just isn't anything in New Zealand that can compare to the Big Bogan, installed in the NSW town of Nyngan last year. Standing tall and proud with his mullet, stubbies, singlet, fishing rod and Southern Cross tattoo, this might just be the best "big thing" yet.

Overall winner: Australia for quantity, New Zealand for quality.

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