Wotif's Big Thing search could mean a surge to Dubbo tourism

NEXT BIG THING: Could Dubbo soon be home to the 'Big Rhino' following an online competition? Note: photo has been digitally altered.
NEXT BIG THING: Could Dubbo soon be home to the 'Big Rhino' following an online competition? Note: photo has been digitally altered.

There are only four more days for residents to enter their ideas for Dubbo in the national search for the ‘Next Big Thing’.

Tourism booking company Wotif pledge to build the statue in the town of the winning suggestion, which could boost tourism to the area. Wotif research showed 90 per cent of Australians have visited a ‘Big Thing’ in their lifetime and 39 per cent of Australians travel out of their way to visit one.

Wotif said the tourist attraction would join the ranks of over 150 ‘Big Things’ including the Big Pineapple and Big Banana.

In response to a Daily Liberal poll, residents suggested a statue of a big rhino for the city, as Dubbo is known for its iconic rhino statues. 

Other ideas included a big farmer, kangaroo, giraffe, big white pointer shark, big grape vine or a brown snake.

On a Daily Liberal Facebook post Darren Forbes said, “Gugaa/Goanna out of respect for the Wiradjuri Nation.” 

Ian Burns said, “I think Darren’s Goanna [is] an awesome idea - country and authentic, but I do like the idea of a big Rhino!”. 

Dubbo Regional Council Mayor Ben Shields said the big statues across Australia have proved extremely successful to attract tourists. 

“Places like Coffs Harbour are known for their Big Banana, Goulburn for its Big Ram and the Sunshine Coast for its Big Pineapple.

“These landmarks often become synonymous with their home town so I could see the benefit for Dubbo of having something similar. Within our own region, Nyngan has experienced marketing and tourism success with its Big Bogan so it can work.

Cr Shields said one “obvious option” would be an animal from the Taronga Western Plains Zoo because the zoo is “Dubbo’s biggest attraction”.  

“We already have our rhino trail that has been highly successful at increasing brand awareness so I think any giant item for Dubbo would have to be a zoo animal.

Cr Shields said the zoo was not only a major tourist attraction, a world leader in conservation, but also had a role in winning Dubbo the right to host Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

To submit your idea for Dubbo fill out the form here. Entries close on September 18.

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