A road trip to Victoria is not complete without stopping by the Big Strawberry at Koonoomoo. This gigantic strawberry icon is one of the most photographed big things in Australia, and also among the most exciting to visit. If you are planning a trip to see this famous structure, here are some interesting facts that you need to know in advance.
A brief history of the Big Strawberry
In 1984, Darren, one of the three sons of Michael and Lorraine Hayes, founded the Scenic Drive Farm on approximately four hectares. Out of the four hectares, one was dedicated specifically to strawberry farming. In 1992, the farm started producing strawberry jam, liquor and wine from a small section of the shed used for packing strawberries on the property. Five years later, the family upgraded the shed to include a kitchen and retail sale area.
Due to the rising demand for strawberries in the market, a new strawberry plant was built on the location of the old Koonoomoo school. Further expansions were made in 2004, paving way for the construction of the Big Strawberry.
How the Big Strawberry was built
The official construction of the Big Strawberry, involving three major stages, started in September 2004. The first stage was the creation of the steel frame, which was done by Cobram Plumbing. The second stage involved the preparation of the steel mesh; the Big Strawberry crew oversaw this task. The last and final step was painting the fibreglass and panels to achieve a Monza red theme, a process that was completed by Competition Kyaks.
The entire project was finalised in February 2005 and the Big Strawberry icon was finally erected in its current location.
As a result of the influx of visitors at the tourist complex, there was need for expansion. In 2018, a major facelift was commissioned at the facility to include the following:
· Large indoor playground for kids
· Production viewing area
· Education area
· Children’s party room
· Mancave memorabilia
· History room
· Indoor beehive
Interesting facts about the Big Strawberry
Standing over six meters tall and 5 meters wide, the Big Strawberry took at least 540 meters of steel to construct. It also consumed countless layers of fibreglass and paint. Speaking of paint, the Ford Monza Red theme was selected because Darren, one of the Big Strawberry owners, was a huge fan of Ford.
Fun things do to when you visit the Big Strawberry
By now, you’re probably wondering what to do when you visit this gigantic structure apart from taking beautiful photos, obviously. Well, you’ll be glad to find out that there are so many exciting things to do when you visit the Big Strawberry icon, and we’ve listed down some notable few.
Photoshoots – Of course, we do not expect you to visit this iconic landmark and leave without taking cute photos of yourself with your friends or family. How else will you convince the world that you actually had a rare chance to see this famous strawberry icon up-close and personal?
Strawberry picking – Before you get too overexcited, you’ll not be picking this huge strawberry, but you’ll get the chance to pick real-life strawberries from the farm. This should be a fun outing with your family, especially if kids are involved. There is no charge for picking the strawberries; whatever you pick will be weighed, and then you’ll be required to pay based on the weight. The best times to go strawberry picking at this farm include April to July and October to January.
Strawberry shopping – There are several strawberry-themed shops within the farm where you can go shopping. The facility also features restaurants, a museum and indoor-playground ideal for kids.
Sample strawberry-themed food – If you are a strawberry fanatic, you’ll never run out of choices when you visit the Big Strawberry. From strawberry pancakes to sliders, there’s so much to enjoy at this farm and even more to carry for the rest of your trip.
Learn about strawberries – A trip to the Big Strawberry will help you learn more about strawberries and the fruit growing industry in general. This kind of trip is particularly helpful for kids and adults who are passionate about fruit farming. Besides, there is also an indoor playground for kids to have fun and interact with each other.
Host a party – At the Big Strawberry, you can book a birthday party for your child and their friends. The birthday party would feature a strawberry-based menu and theme, including the likes of strawberry pancakes, fairy break, fresh strawberries, and so much more!
The café area of the complex has a sitting capacity of 90, which is ideal for large events. For parties and other group events, you can also prebook the famous six-foot “Strawb” mascot at the complex to welcome and entertain the guests. Take amazing photos and keep these precious memories alive for generations to come! Whether you are planning a birthday party, a family get-together or a work meeting, the Big Strawberry complex has the right facilities to cater for your needs.
Visit the production room – The production room is where all the magic happens and the best part about it is the fact that you can watch it unfold right in front of your eyes. Visitors can watch the production of sauces, jams, wines, ice cream, and other strawberry-based products through the viewing area.
Learn some interesting history – You’ll learn the rich history of the original Koonoomoo School, Murray Goulburn Cobram and Koonoomoo Tornado when you visit the Big Strawberry’s history room. Also, there are hundreds of photos hanging on the walls to give you a visual understanding of every aspect of history this special place has to offer.
Explore vintage machinery – Big Strawberry’s assortment of vintage machinery is something you do not want to miss. You’ll travel down the aisles of history when you check out the sickle used in the 1950’s, the horse dray from the 1900’s or the tractor that was once used to tow a tobacco planter. There are also lots of brochures to read and learn more about the history of Koonoomoo and the surrounding towns.
Free tasting – Take advantage of the numerous opportunities to taste various strawberry products at the Big Strawberry. If you find something that you like, whether it’s wine, cake, or any other strawberry-based product, you can always purchase it and share with your friends and family.
Visiting the Big Strawberry, one of the most iconic big things in Australia, is not only fun but also educative. This kind of trip is ideal for everyone; from families to individuals and kids, there is always something fun to do and see at this complex. Some important lessons that you may learn from your visit to this facility include the health benefits of strawberries, strawberry recipes, strawberry picking, strawberry planting and harvesting seasons, and facts about strawberries.
The Big Strawberry also sits just a few kilometres away from the mighty Murray River. If you didn’t know, River Murray is the longest river in Australia, stretching up to 2,508 kilometres in length. The river has five tributaries, which are also considered as some of the longest rivers in the country. They include Murrumbidgee, Lachlan, Darling, Warrego and Paroo Rivers. If you are a fan of golfing, kayaking, cruises or sightseeing, the Murray River should be your next destination after visiting the Big Strawberry.
If you enjoyed reading our article about The Big Strawberry, we think you would love reading about The Big Bogan.
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.