As I mentioned in the last post, Greg and I visited the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour over 3 separate days, during our week visit to the region.
The visit day we got our combined ticket that included the World of Bananas Theatre & Plantation Tour, a 1.5 hour Ice Skating session and 2 Toboggan rides for each of us. It is great that once you have your ticket that you can do each of the specific things on the day that it best suits you.
So on our first day at the Big Banana we thought that we would do the Educational and fun Plantation Tour and the World of Bananas Experience so that we had a better understanding about the history of bananas themselves and the Big Banana also.
We found the two different theatre presentations to be very informative and enjoyable. The first theatre gave a good history of bananas. It then went on to reveal the history of the Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga banana industries.
It amazed me to learn how hard those, mostly immigrant, workers worked each day to grow and then harvest the bananas. Without machinery, like we have today, and because of the steep slopes on the hills around the area, the bunches of bananas needed to be carried by hand to the collection points.
Often a bunch of bananas can be anywhere from 25 to 50 kg each. These strong and motivated men designed a frame to go over their shoulders so that they could carry two bunches of bananas at once. This was often around 100kg each time they moved these 2 bunches to the collection point.
The workers repeated this process and moved five or more pairs of bunches each day!
After the second theatre we went outside to begin the self-guided tour of the Big Banana Plantation. This took us up and around paths that run through the banana plants themselves on the side of the hill behind the Big Banana.
It was interesting seeing the different stages of the developing banana fruit on the banana trees. Everything from the very first stages of the flowers, to the tiny baby bananas starting to develop, then the fruit developing and growing in size and finally to the fully developed bunches of bananas, covered with protective plastic sleeves that would soon be harvested.
At the end of the self-guided tour you go into a packing shed and watch a video on how the bananas are cut off the large bunches and packed appropriately into the correct sized boxes to be sent to shops all around Australia.
There is then a room where the kids can sit down and colour in various pictures of the Big Banana character doing fun activities.
At the same time the adults can walk around the room and look at the information filled photos, pictures and different displays. You can see all of the varied tools that are used to harvest the bananas and then to carefully cut the hands off from the bunches.
If you are feeling strong then you can try your strength at lifting a bunch of bananas up via a rope and pulley system. I only managed to just move the 25kg bunch off the floor. Greg is obviously stronger than I am and he succeeded in getting the 50kg bunch lifted up.
I can only imagine how the works in past decades lifted two bunches weighing in at approximately 100kg! And then doing this multiple times each day. Wow! They certainly must have developed some strong muscles!
Greg and I found the whole presentation and tour to be very educational and enjoyable.
In our next blog post we will continue at the Big Banana, with Greg and I going to the Coffs Ice Skating rink for one and a half hours of skating fun!
Since my first visit, as a child, to the Big Banana back in 1974, there have been many additional features and things to do added onto this popular destination. There is something for every member of the family, from the youngest child to the more mature family members.
Until next time, Remember to Enjoy Life and Enjoy Travelling to Coffs Harbour.
Leanne Annett <><