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Big Pineapple restored 'to its original glory', train rides to start soon

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One of Australia’s most celebrated ‘big things’ has officially been relaunched.

The Big Pineapple was yesterday reopened after the first stage of a regeneration that includes a rejuvenated 16m pineapple, new cafe, new children’s playground, new viewing platform and fully restored train.

The extensive renovation project has been undertaken by owner Peter Kendall and his company CMC Property.

The Big Pineapple itself has a gleaming new look, courtesy of sandblasting, repairing and hundreds of litres of two-pack marine paint.

The Plantation Train has been fully restored, along with its carriages and the track, to bring it up to current safety standards and certification requirements.

Situated on a 165-hectare site, the Big Pineapple was originally launched in 1971, in the heart of pineapple-growing territory in Woombye.

The refreshed Big Pineapple.

The Big Pineapple became a food and tourism icon showcasing and celebrating Queensland’s world-class produce.

In its heyday, it was one of the nation’s most popular tourism attractions, luring over one million visitors annually, including the likes of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, who visited in 1983.

More recently, the Big Pineapple site has diversified its attractions playing host to Wildlife HQ Zoo, the TreeTop Challenge high ropes and zipline course, the award-winning coconut foods producer COYO and Sunshine & Sons distillery.

It is also the venue for the popular Big Pineapple Music Festival, which is scheduled to be staged again in October.

Then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana welcomed by crowds during their tour of the Sunshine Plantation in 1983. Picture: Picture Sunshine Coast.

Owner Peter Kendall said the relaunch of the Big Pineapple had been eagerly anticipated by the community.

“The Big Pineapple is undoubtedly the most recognisable tourism icon of the Sunshine Coast and so I am very proud of the team’s work to restore the pineapple to its original glory,” he said.

“This is just the first stage of the regeneration project. Our number one priority was to reopen the main pineapple structure and café, and to get the train running again.

“We are awaiting some final certification for the train and hope to start public train rides soon, providing rides across the property including access to Wildlife HQ.

The Plantation Train at The Big Pineapple.

“The new cafe will provide fresh home style food and premium coffee, while the new children’s playground will ensure everyone is entertained”.

“Our next priority is to complete the renovations to the inside of the pineapple structure itself and we hope to reopen it for tours later on.”

Sunshine Coast mayor Rosanna Natoli said it was wonderful to see the Big Pineapple being restored to its former glory while reinventing itself to cater to a modern market.

“Many of us have fond memories of visiting the Big Pineapple, tasting local produce, and of course, riding the train,” she said.

Big Pineapple owner Peter Kendall and Sunshine Coast mayor Rosanna Natoli with Arlo the koala from Wildlife HQ at the Big Pineapple launch.

“It was always a highlight of my childhood holidays.

“Today’s relaunch is a win for our tourism industry and means locals and visitors can enjoy, in both old and new ways, what is a quintessential icon for the Sunshine Coast.”

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Matt Stoeckel was delighted to see the restoration of a true Aussie icon.

“Sunshine is an integral part of our identity, and nothing shines more brightly than the Big Pineapple,” he said.

Former employees Pam Thomas and Patsy Flint with the author of Our Sweetest Icon Kerry Brown.

“Australians are so endeared to the Big Pineapple and we are thrilled that it is operating as a tourism attraction once again.

‘It also emphasises our history as an agri-tourism destination and highlights that we truly are Queensland’s Sunshine Pantry.”

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.

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