Work on the $150 million master plan to ensure the Sunshine Coast’s iconic Big Pineapple returns to the glory days it enjoyed as a popular, stand-out tourist attraction in the 1980’s is picking up pace.
The Tree Tops Challenge high ropes and zipline course is nearly complete and work on upgrading the former macadamia nut factory is well advanced.
The two-kilometre course, featuring about 120 activities, with a variety of challenges including a 120m zipline will take people around a half a day to complete.
New attractions for the sprawling 170ha site include a water park, an adventure precinct, a major concert event space and on-site accommodation as well as a $60 million-dollar agribusiness precinct.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the master plan for the heritage listed tourist park is very impressive.
“Work on the project is tipped to pump nearly $90 million into the Sunshine Coast’s economy and 800 construction jobs will be on offer,” she said.
“More tourists mean more jobs for locals. Once it’s fully operational, the revamped Big Pineapple site will support more than 630 local jobs.”
Tourism is worth an estimated $2.6 billion a year and supports 23,200 jobs on the Sunshine Coast.
Ms Jones said the full renewal plans would entice more than a million visitors per annum to the Sunshine Coast, rivalling peak visitation in the 1980s when the Big Pineapple was Australia’s number one tourism attraction.
“Importantly this will pump $45 million per annum into the Sunshine Coast economy through expenditure and overnight stays.”
“More tourists than ever before are flocking to the Sunshine Coast every year. Projects like this will ensure visitor numbers only continue to grow in the future,” she said.
“Tourism is worth an estimated $2.6 billion a year and supports 23,200 jobs on the Sunshine Coast. We’re committed to working with locals to create more tourism jobs on the Sunny Coast in the years to come.”
National Visitor Survey data for the year ended September 2018 showed 1.9 million domestic tourists spent a record $2.4 billion on the Sunshine Coast last year (more than 18 per cent growth year-on-year).
Meanwhile, International Visitor Survey data for the same period showed a record 319,000 international tourists spent nearly $250 million on the Sunshine Coast.
The renewal plans for the Big Pineapple across the 170ha site include:
- Food and tourism hub to showcase the region’s produce – including craft brewery and major distillery
- Tourism attractions, including a water park
- Adventure and recreation, including TreeTop Challenge adventure course
- Events space, supporting a highly successful music program, including the Big Pineapple Music Festival and large major events
- 793 various accommodation options including – RV park and eco resort
- Travel centre including a service station
- Educational elements including a school camp
Big Pineapple Renewal Project Director Jim Costello said the redevelopment of the Big Pineapple would ensure the attraction remained an icon on the Sunshine Coast long into the future.
“Our renewal master plan is set to position the Big Pineapple for sustained success, with an emphasis on showcasing the region’s famous, world-class produce and other attractions, including major music events, adventure tourism,” he said.
“Our plans set our vision for the future, but the Big Pineapple renewal is also about the ‘here and now’ too with an active events program, a high quality zoo, TreeTop Challenge about to commence operations and COYO organic yoghurt set to establish their international base here later in 2019.”
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said it was essential to support new and appropriate tourism developments.
“It’s so good to see the Sunshine Coast’s nationally recognised and legendary landmark investing in renewal to reposition the precinct as an agritourism and visitor icon.
“For many Australians, the Big Pineapple holds treasured memories, so it is great that it can once again be a must-do family and tourism experience.
“As part of the offering, food-based tourism is a strong, emerging part of our broader tourism economy and an increasingly important drawcard for the Sunshine Coast.
“While the Sunshine Coast may have some of Australia’s most appealing natural attractions, a new era of hotel and tourism products is vital for the Sunshine Coast if we are to fulfil the region’s tourism potential, grow the economy and provide a significant flow of new jobs for the area’s growing population,” Mr Latchford said.