The Sunshine Coast is renowned for its stunning beaches, lush hinterland, and vibrant community spirit. Among its many attractions, one stands out as a true icon: The Big Pineapple. This beloved landmark has captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike for decades, symbolising the region’s rich agricultural heritage and its enduring appeal as a tourist destination. Let’s take a journey through the fascinating history of The Big Pineapple.

The Big Pineapple (Sunshine Plantation) as it looked in its heyday.

The Beginning

The Big Pineapple, one of Australia’s most famous “big things,” is a must-see landmark located in Woombye on the Sunshine Coast. Opened on August 15, 1971, it was originally part of the Sunshine Plantation, conceived by Bill and Lyn Taylor to showcase Queensland’s thriving pineapple industry.

The Big Pineapple (Sunshine Plantation) and the Plantation Express

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, The Big Pineapple became a must-visit destination for families, school groups, and tourists from across Australia and beyond. Visitors marvelled at the giant pineapple, enjoyed informative plantation tours, and indulged in delicious pineapple treats. The attraction also featured a sugar cane train ride and nut mobile tour, offering both fun and educational experiences.

Then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana welcomed by crowds during their tour of the Sunshine Plantation in 1983. Picture: Picture Sunshine Coast.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana aboard the nutmobile at the Sunshine Plantation complex, Woombye, 12 April 1983
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The Plantation Express 1972

Challenges and Changes

Despite its initial success, The Big Pineapple faced challenges in the 1990s and early 2000s due to changing tourism trends, competition, and the need for modernisation. Ownership changes and financial difficulties followed, yet the community’s affection for The Big Pineapple endured, fuelling efforts to preserve and revitalise this cherished landmark.

The Big Pineapple is getting a new look. Picture: Steele Taylor.

Revival and Modern Era

Recognised for its cultural and historical significance, The Big Pineapple was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on March 6, 2009, sparking renewed interest in restoring it to its former glory. New owners invested in site revamps, introduced new attractions, and launched events like the Big Pineapple Music Festival, drawing music lovers nationwide since 2013.

The Big Pineapple Festival

The Big Pineapple Today

Under new owner Peter Kendall, The Big Pineapple celebrates the recent reopening of its historic Plantation Train, once graced by then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Following an initial regeneration phase, the Sunshine Coast icon now boasts a revitalised 16-meter pineapple, a new cafe, children’s playground, and viewing platform.

Recent developments have expanded The Big Pineapple site to include Wildlife HQ Zoo, the TreeTop Challenge, COYO’s award-winning coconut foods, and Sunshine & Sons distillery. The site continues to host the beloved Big Pineapple Music Festival, scheduled for October, with ongoing plans to complete renovations inside the pineapple structure for future tours.

Wildlife HQ opened in November 2013.


The Big Pineapple‘s history reflects the passion and resilience of the Sunshine Coast community. From humble beginnings honouring the pineapple industry to becoming a cherished tourist destination, The Big Pineapple continues to captivate generations. As it evolves and delights visitors, this landmark remains a symbol of the Sunshine Coast’s unique heritage and vibrant spirit. Whether you’re local or visiting, a trip to The Big Pineapple promises a journey through history, culture, and fun you won’t want to miss.