This oval piece of magnificance below, my friends and lovers of the strange, is The Big Potato. And, before you start sniggering at the back, I won’t hear anything negative said about it.
I’ve heard it all. Multiple words for poop have been bandied around with The Big in front of them.
Underwhelming was also used. I even had a few ‘WTF is that’s’ but, do I care? I do not. I have been trying to see the Big Potato in the (potentially mashable) flesh for at least three years and nothing was going to rain on my joy parade when it happened, thank you very much.
So, if it fills you with glee as well, here’s what you need to know to make your own potato-pilgramage…
Where is the Big Potato?
It’s a town called Robertson in the Southern Highlands, NSW.
This is about a 2 hours drive south of Sydney in an area renowned for pretty countryside, cute little towns, lots of waterfalls and wineries. So basically the perfect weekend break destination.
The full address is The Big Potato, Illawarra Hwy, Robertson NSW 2577 – and yes, you can just pop it in the satnav!
Why Build a Big Potato?
Same reason there are random big things dotted all over Australia – attention!
Robertson is actually known for growing mighty fine spuds and so, when they were looking for something to bring more tourists to the town, they decided a giant replica of their main product was as good as plan as any other.
Okay, so, it’s likely that, possibly, none of these people had much background in design when they thought a potato might have aesthetic appeal when blown up to 10 metres long and 4 metres wide, and painted brown – but again, as far as I’m concerned (and in the words of Harry Styles) that’s what makes it beautiful.
Also, I’ll have you know that this is a million dollar potato – well, near enough.
Back in Feb 2020, the Big Potato went on the market with an asking price of AU$920,000 – that’s about half a million pounds for those of you not used to Aussie exchange rates.
I mean that might have been the price of the piece of land it says on, and the potato just comes along for the ride, I can’t really say.
Admittedly, this rather high price tag is also why I’m not the proud owner of a giant fibreglass spud in the middle of the countryside!
At the time of the sale, the local real estate agent said in an interview “I wouldn’t say people wake up in any part of the country to say ‘we’re going to go to Robertson today to visit the Big Potato’,”.
You can tell he’s never met me as that was EXACTLY what I’ve said more than once over the last few years – but, unfortunately, there’s no easy public transport route to the Big Potato which meant I was reliant on Mr Differentville to take me there – and, he wasn’t quite as enamoured with the idea of a spud-themed day trip as I was.
However, a recent short break to Mittagong in the Southern Highlands, NSW, coincided with my birthday – and on my birthday I’m allowed to go wherever I demand, no matter how many times he’s said no before!
And, I soon realised while looking at the map that the Big Potato was just a short 30-minute drive from our hotel.
Birthday card played with full effect
The first day of our trip – after my trip to meet the adorable dingoes at the Bargo Dingo Sanctuary we jumped in the Differentville wagon and I finally got to the visit the potato.
It didn’t take long – it is after all, just an oval brown shape in a field (the days when you could go inside it are long gone after it turned into an unofficial toilet), but for me, it was the highlight of the trip!
Did the Big Potato Sell?
I know you’re wondering – and yes it has.
It sold in September 2022 for an undisclosed sum to an investor.
Whether it’s going to remain on the land isn’t known as yet, but the past owner hopes that if the new owner does want to develop the land, the potato might be moved to somewhere else in town.
After all, Nicole Kidman recently filmed outside the giant spud for her episode in the series Roar. It’s practically due it’s own star on the Walk of Fame.
Those original owners are actually the supermarket next to the site, so, if you find the potato as appeeling (sorry) as I do, you might want to nip in and support their business.
You can stock up on all sorts of Big Potato accessories like pens, t-shirts and stubby holders – and even buy some Big Potato themed potatoes which is all a bit too meta for my head.
The village also embrace their potato links in March when, they hold potato races as part of the annual Robertson Show. This have been a hotbed of controversary in recent years because the prize money for the men’s race was higher than the women’s. That’s now been equalised so, feel free to go along and cheer for your tater carrier of choice.
The actual date varies, but you’ll find it listed here.
What Else is There to Do in Robertson?
We were on a one-stop tuber-only tour, but apparently it’s a great place to stop for lunch.
The Robertson pub is supposed to do a really good meal – and the Robertson Pie Shop is one of the famous stops on the Southern Highlands Pie Trail.
We had already made such a stop that day for the famous Samuel Gee’s Cornish Pasty – which was so good we bought a load to bring home – so we didn’t get to visit the Robertson Pie Shop too!
There’s also a good cheese shop.
Robertson is also famous as the place where the movie Babe, yes, the one about the cute pig, was filmed, but the fliming locations were specially created for the film and so there’s not a lot of Babe-tourism opportunities on offer (sorry anyone who came on here thinking that phrase would bring up something else).
There’s Also a Big Pie, Apple and Corkscrew Nearby!
Yes, you can have a vertible over-sized dinner in the Southern Highlands!
The Big Pie is handily located just outside the Southern Highland tourist information office in Mittagong, about a 30-minute drive from The Big Potato.
As I alluded to above, The Southern Highlands is known for a host of bakeries making amazing pies and, if you head into said tourist information office and you’ll get a map showing you all the stops.
Hence the pie!
Mittagong was actually our base for our weekend away – and the fact that our hotel the Grand Country Lodge Mittagong was the closest one to The Big Pie was purely coincidental.
Hostess Betty was absolutely lovely and the room was large, clean and quiet – which is pretty much everything we need from a hotel. And they also deliver a great breakfast to your room.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Mittagong, I’d definitely suggest checking them out.
Have a look at rates and availability for the Grand Country Lodge here.
The Big Apple is a bit trickier to get up close to, or even to get a photo of, as it’s on the Old Hume Highway, the main road into Mittagong – and I’d already played the Big Potato card, so I couldn’t get Mr Differentville to risk his car coming to a screeching halt on the highway!
Sadly the Orchard it was attached to has closed down, which also makes it a bit harder to get up close.
But, if you want to find it, it’s at 242 Old Hume Highway near Yerrinbool.
The Big Corkscrew is, not surprisingly, at one of the many wineries that you find in the Southern Highlands.
Specifically it’s at the Bendooley Estate Winery in nearby Berrima.
Personally, I don’t know what else you want from a weekend – really good actual pies, lots of wine, beautiful scenery – and potentially four big things to visit. Not to mention a trip to the dingoes on the way there or back… it sounds like the perfect Differentville weekend to me!
What to Read Next
If you’re driving through the Southern Highlands on your way to Canberra you might want to take a look at our post on Marulan, which is the perfect place to stop for a rest on the drive – and a pretty cool town to boot.
You’ll also want to check out our guide to fun and unusual things to do once you get to Canberra.
If you’re planning your trip quite far in advance, you might also want to see if they’re taking visitors at the incredible Sleepy Burrows Wombat Sanctuary which is also between the Southern Highlands and Canberra. See more about it – and some gorgeous wombat pictures – in our Sleepy Burrows post.
Who Writes Differentville?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a journalist and author living in Sydney.
My travel articles have been published in titles include The Australian, Body & Soul at the Sunday Telegraph, RAC Horizons, Jetstar magazine and more.
I like the weird, the wonderful and anything that makes me jump and down with glee like I’m about three. That’s what you’ll find here.