Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mama's Travels 4

My Mama went to the North Coast of NSW a while back. This area covers places like Coffs Harbour, Ballina and Byron Bay. She didn't actually went there on purpose, rather she was passing by the area on her way to Brisbane. It's a good 12-hour drive to Brizzie from Sydney, thus the need for stops and rests along the way.
If I remember correctly, that was her first and only time that she drove to Brisbane. She's stuck to aeroplanes since then. My ageing body can't take it anymore, she said.
The first stop was Coffs Harbour. The seaside town is practically halfway between Sydney and Brisbane (550km from Sydney, 427km from Brisbane). The main attraction is the BIG BANANA, one of the first BIG THINGs in Australia. It was built in 1964 (older than Mama!!) and measures a staggering 11m long, 5m high and 2.4m wide. That's millions and millions times larger than actual cavendish variety that it represents. Mama bought a book listing all (almost) of Australia's BIG THINGs at the souvenir shop there. Apparently the BIG BANANA was built by an American who came to Australia to study insects in the 1960s. Fancy that!

The BIG BANANA of Coffs Harbour
Another view of the BIG BANANA complex
The only banana in Australia (if not the world) where you can actually walk in it!
Biggest banana menu in the world?
The complex also boasts a banana-themed fun park

About 210km north of Coffs Harbour lies the seafood paradise of Ballina. Mama says there's a large fibreglass prawn that sits on top of the roof of a restaurant. Of course, the restaurant sells seafood (including prawns) and chippies. Unfortunately they don't make dishes like chili crab or black pepper prawns. My Mama likes her seafood hot and spicy.

The BIG PRAWN of Ballina attracts passersby to stop at the fish and chips/seafood restaurants nearby

Further up, after Ballina, is Byron Bay. Mama said there's a place that's a must visit for everyone passing by this area. It's called the Macadamia Castle. She showed me a picture of Uncle MM eating a humongous plate of pancakes served with ice cream and macadamia nuts at the Castle Cafe. Mama says she loves the Nut Bar where you can get a myriad of macadamia products. Including the nuts in at least 12 flavours! Oh, did I mention that there's a BIG KNIGHT standing guard in front of the castle? He's humongous too... There's a host of information about the castle and the famous nuts at their official website

Tha landmark - the BIG KNIGHT - can't miss it
The signboard for the Macadamia Castle
Yummy pancakes topped with ice cream and macadamias...

I know my Mama is dreaming of re-visiting those places...maybe with Brad and I?

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