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Fresh new look: pineapple's bright colours among changes to precinct

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A renowned Sunshine Coast landmark and tourist attraction is set to reopen after months of renovations.

The Big Pineapple will have a ‘Stage 1 Grand Reopening’ on Tuesday, June 11, at 10am, with some new and improved facilities and services.

The owner and staff had been tight-lipped on the changes until Wednesday night, when they provided an update on the works, which essentially mark the start of a long-term plan to revamp the precinct.

“After months of renovations, we’re excited to unveil the newly refurbished front pavilion, cafe and playground,” they stated on social media.

“Thanks for all your patience if you have been wondering what on earth we’ve been doing to everyone’s favourite pineapple.

“When we started to consider the entire redevelopment of the site last year, it became obvious that the number one priority was to renovate and reopen the main building, rebuild the train, re-establish the train rides with access to Wildlife HQ, reopen the pineapple structure and generally bring back the cool features that made the Big Pineapple iconic in the first place.

The Big Pineapple is hard to miss with its new look. Picture: Steele Taylor

“It also became clear that to do this in a single stage would mean the entire facility would be closed entirely to the public for a number of years during construction.

“We then made the decision to do it in stages to allow public access to some of its iconic features as quickly as possible.”

Stage one consists of renovating the front pavilion; redesigning and rebuilding the front cafe; sandblasting, repairing and repainting the Big Pineapple itself in marine paint; restoring the inside of the pineapple structure to allow public access again; restoring the train, its carriages and the track to bring it in line with safety standards and certification requirements; installing a new playscape behind the cafe; landscaping and mulching; and pressure cleaning walls and concrete.

The business stated that wet weather meant that work was two months behind schedule, but stage one of the renovation was almost complete.

Facilities and services that will open on June 11 include the new cafe; the new children’s playground; and a huge viewing deck that surrounds the pineapple structure.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

The train may also be running, if it is re-registered in time.

“Fingers crossed … but, if not, we will have it on display at the Plantation Station for everyone to see,” they stated.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to complete the renovation to the inside of the pineapple structure itself but our next priority is to restore it and reopen it for tours, which should happen within a couple of months.”

Stage one represents just the start of a huge overhaul at the Big Pineapple.

Owner Peter Kendall told Sunshine Coast News last year that the precinct would undergo some significant changes.

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

Sun rises over the Big Pineapple as workers continue to improve the venue. Picture: Steele Taylor.

“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, along with the revival of the train which, in 1983, took then-Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana, as passengers.

The CEO of the region’s tourism body Visit Sunshine Coast, Matt Stoeckel, said in March that the Big Pineapple boasted plenty of history and it was an important landmark.

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

Then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana ready to board the plantation train at the Sunshine Plantation in 1983. Picture: Picture Sunshine Coast.

“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 precinct now boasts the Wildlife HQ zoo, the Treetop Challenge adventure park, and food and drink producers. It’s also set to host the revived Big Pineapple Music Festival in October.

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