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Revamp at celebrated landmark that helped put Coast on map as tourist destination

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A refurbishment of a heritage-listed attraction is well underway, although there is little detail about what it will look like and when it will be completed.

Work is continuing at the Big Pineapple at Woombye, where the iconic 16m fibreglass fruit has been covered in scaffolding and tarps for weeks.

Tradespeople have also been seen working on a building, and signs state that the cafe will be shut for renovations from January 12 to March 30. There are also signs indicating that work is being done by design and construction business Farrago and demolition contractors Allcoast Group.

Sunshine Coast News contacted Big Pineapple management and owner Peter Kendall for comments and is yet to receive a response.

It is understood that the current slate of works was initially expected to be completed by Easter but they are behind schedule by about six weeks.

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The works essentially mark the start of a long-term plan to revamp the precinct.

Mr Kendall told SCN last year that the precinct was set to undergo some huge changes.

The front of the Big Pineapple precinct, which is getting some improvements. Picture: Steele Taylor

There could be an RV park, hotels, glamping and buildings for agritourism.

“There’s no shortage of stuff we can or will do, but obviously it can’t all happen at once,” he said at the time.

There was also talk of a craft brewery and restaurant, and the revival of a train which, in 1983, took then-Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana, as passengers.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel could not provide details on the present works, but he detailed why the precinct is so significant.

“When the Big Pineapple opened in 1971, it helped put the Sunshine Coast on the map as a tourist destination in Australia,” he said.

“The larger-than-life green and gold icon was loved by locals and visitors alike, who today still have fond memories of visiting it.

“The Pineapple Parfait, once served in a hollowed-out pineapple, was legendary.

“And it was a place to learn about the region’s bountiful local produce and pineapple plantations.”

The Big Pineapple, pictured before the current works, is hard to miss. Picture: Visit Sunshine Coast

He said the towering pineapple was a key attraction at the precinct.

“Nothing says ‘welcome to the Sunshine Coast’ like a giant pineapple and, when it was first built, it was on the main road into the region,” he said.

He said the pineapple was important to locals because it was “a representation of the region they called home” and it was important to travellers as “a welcome stop-in”.

The Big Pineapple had its 50th anniversary in 2021.

“The outpouring of affection the Big Pineapple received on its golden anniversary was a fitting tribute,” Mr Stoeckel said, before adding that it was still a significant drawcard.

“The Big Pineapple is as much of an icon today as it was in its heyday.

“Its ongoing legacy is testament to the Big Pineapple and everything it represents: the richness of the region’s local produce, our sunny climate and golden beaches, our lush sub-tropical hinterland and memorable holidays spent in the region with family and friends.”

The Big Pineapple precinct, prior to upgrades. It is home to a range of attractions. Picture: Visit Sunshine Coast

He said the site now boasted an assortment of offerings.

“The Big Pineapple precinct remains a tourist attraction for the Sunshine Coast, and today has expanded to include a number of experiences and food tourism businesses on the precinct,” he said.

“Among them is Wildlife HQ, which is home to native and exotic animals from around the world, and the Treetop Challenge, a high-ropes adventure park.

“New producers have also moved into the precinct, helping to showcase the evolution of food on the Sunshine Coast.

“Among them is the award-winning Sunshine and Sons distillery, ginger beer brewers Diablo and COYO, makers of coconut yoghurt.”

Mr Stoeckel expected the precinct to stay in the tourism spotlight.

“The Big Pineapple remains synonymous with the Sunshine Coast and its future looks bright as the precinct continues to evolve with new businesses,” he said.

“As well as the expansion to include new tourism operators and producers on site, the precinct has been home to the Big Pineapple Music Festival, which is scheduled to be revived again later this year.”

Big crowds gathered at the venue in 1983, when then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited. Picture: Picture Sunshine Coast.

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