The Big Crab In Queensland: One Of Australia’s Most Iconic Big Things

The Big Crab
The Big Crab in Cardwell. Source: TripAdvisor

There is a Big Thing in every state in Australia, Queensland being one of the most notorious for hosting these oversized structures. The state’s obsession with Big Things is so strong you’ll come across not one Big Crab, but two!

The first Big Crab is in the rural town of Miriam Vale, while the other sits in Cardwell. While these two crab structures appear almost similar, there is a slight difference that’s not so easy to notice at the first glance.

The Big Crab in Cardwell is an oversized sculpture of a mud crab. These arthropods, found mostly in Africa, Australasia and Asia, are also known as mangrove crabs. Unlike most crabs, the mud crab is usually mottled green or dark brown, which explains its name. As you would expect, this crab is usually found in muddy areas.

The Big Crab in Miriam Vale, on the other hand, is a representation of the ordinary reddish crab most people know of. This is the most popular type of crab, especially in restaurants that serve seafood. Standing about two meters tall, the oversized crab meticulously sits atop a service station adjacent to a restaurant to grab the attention of people driving through the small town.

In contrast, the Big Crab at Cardwell is four metres long and one metre wide. It is carved out of mud to advertise the mud crab cuisines served at the Seaview Café below it.

Location of the Big Crab

The first Big Crab is located in Miriam Vale, in the Gladstone Region, Queensland. The crab is mounted on top of the Shell petrol station and roadhouse on Dougall Street along Bruce Highway.

The second Big Crab sits above the Seaview Café in Cardwell, a small town in the North of Queensland. It is considered one of the most popular attractions in the region.  

History of the Big Crabs in:

Miriam Vale

In 1979, the crab was constructed and mounted atop the petrol station and roundhouse in Miriam Vale by proprietor Lex Milner. One part of history has it that Lex Milner was the owner of the service station and the purpose of mounting the enormous crab was to advertise his delicious mud crab sandwiches.


The Big Crab in Miriam Vale was created before the other Big Crab in Cardwell. It is believed that the Big Crab in Cardwell, mounted above the Seaview Café, was created 1986 by a senior preparator at the Queensland museum named Terry Tebble. The original sculpture of the crab is housed at NatureWorks, a company near Samford, Queensland.

Many locals and visitors alike are fascinated by the big mud crab that drives attention to the Cardwell Seaview Café. Because of the Big Crab, and of course the great seafood, the Cardwell Seaview Café is one of the most popular restaurants to visit in North of Queensland.

The Big Crab
The Big Crab in Miriam Vale. Source: Gai Rutter

Fun Things to do at the Big Crab in Cardwell

Cardwell is also home to other fascinating activities for adventure seekers and explorers.  Here is a list of fun things that may appeal to both local and international visitors.

The Cardwell Seaview Café

The deli café is conveniently situated along the highway, tempting travelers to stop off for a break when they catch the sight of the big mud crab atop the café. Crab-related delicacies such as burgers, rolls, are just some of the mouth-watering dishes to expect when you visit this café.

Cardwell Spa Pool

The Big Crab is not the only spectacular site in Cardwell, although it is among the most popular and photographed. The Cardwell Spa Pool is also one of the most spectacular sites in the town. It is a seasonal swimming spot in the west of Cardwell between a beautiful coastal town of Cairns and Townsville.

Camping at Blencoe Falls

With a good four-wheeled-drive truck, you can take a tour of the Blencoe falls and spend the night camping near the falls. The sweet waters run along the plunge and fall at the creek, creating one of the most scenic views of nature you’ll ever come across in this part of Australia. However, to access the creek, the woodlands, and the falls, you will need a camping permit.  

The Creek Hop

Off the main highway within Cardwell, there are beautiful swimming holes worth checking out and diving in. The Cardwell Forest Drive is home to several swimming holes, such as Attie Creek Falls and Dead Horse Creek, located south of the township.

There are also other locations within the creeks that offer both swimming and picnic options. For example, the Five Mile Creek offers barbecue and self-care facilities for tourists looking for amusing daytime activities. For those looking to stay longer or overnight, there are several camping sites at the famous Murray Falls.

Murray Falls has a camping area that is quite a distance from both the swimming hole and the waterfall. Standing at least 300 metres away from the falls, you’ll have a clearer view of how the falls navigate, a spectacular sight worth the experience.

The Rainforest and the Mangroves of Cardwell

Dalrymple Gap walking track follows a route taken by Aboriginal people who live across the Cardwell Range. The road was built in the 1860s by early settlers of the rainforest.

The road itself appears old with little to no modern alterations, making it even more impressive. During your trip, you will cross through several creeks, rainforests, back-to-back tracks of mangrove, and an open eucalypt forest.

If you choose the shorter routes, it takes a minimum of three hours to explore the rainforest. Also, if you need help navigating through the forest, there are tour companies in Queensland available specifically to help people like you enjoy the region’s finest wonders without feeling lost or stranded.

If you enjoyed this article we thing you would like our article on The Big Mango!

We also have a Big Things store featuring T-shirts on some of the most famous big things in Australia. These include The Big penguin, The Big Kangaroo, The Big Jumping Crocodile and The Giant Koala. They are available in baby sizes all the way up to adult sizes.

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