Australian Tourist Attractions That Started Out As A Joke

Apr 26, 2019 Kayode Oseh

Australians are well-known for their sense of humor when it comes to tourist attraction. Some of their quirkiest tourist attractions actually started out as a bit of a joke.

From teddy bears and garden gnomes planted in fun, which have turned into thriving colonies, to a submarine in an inland park.

Submarine In An Inland Park

A rural Australian park is the last place you would expect to find a submarine. Yet the HMAS Otway is a major tourist attraction in the New South Wales town of Holbrook. The town was renamed in 1915 after their resident war hero, Lieutenant Norman Holbrook, who was the first submariner to receive the Victoria Cross (VC) during World War I.

Mad Max 2 Museum

We all have our favorite movies. Some of us can even become a little over-passionate, collecting memorabilia and watching reruns. However, one man’s passion saw him move halfway around the world to open a museum in the most unlikely place.

Scenes from the earlier Mad Max movies were shot in the remote New South Wales outback near the sparsely populated town of Silverton. (The 2016 Australian census showed that the town had a population of just 50.)

Utes In The Paddock

The Holden Ute is a true Australian icon. The work vehicle can be found all over rural Australia. The outback town of Condobolin has a unique outdoor art gallery depicting well-known Australian icons, all using the Holden Ute as its medium.

A number of years ago, a local landholder decided to turn a rusty old Ute into an artwork. Artists were then invited to repurpose rusty car bodies into art forms, which attract many tourists to the district each year. Twenty cars are upended or suspended at precarious angles to depict the life and characters of the Australian bush.

Here, you will see Australian identities such as Clancy of the Overflow and Dame Edna Everage sitting on a traditional Australian “dunny.” Aussie icons represented include a larger-than-life bottle of Bundaberg Rum and a mammoth jar of vegemite.

The display was originally installed on a remote property 30 kilometers (19 mi) from Condobolin but has since been moved to the outskirts of the town, where it is more accessible to tourists.


A cheeky community protest over proposed council roadworks has snowballed into a quirky tourist attraction for the West Australian town of Wellington Mill.

When the council announced controversial plans to construct a roundabout in 1995, a couple of cheeky residents “claimed the plot” by placing a couple of garden gnomes on the proposed site as a bit of a joke. The joke soon spread, and the gnomes quickly multiplied. Today, there are an estimated 5,000 gnomes residing in “Gnomesville,” which has become an unlikely tourist attraction.

Here, you will find gnomes enjoying just about every recreational activity, from fishing to music to sporting matches. Visitors are invited to add their own gnome to the growing collection, as long it is marked with where it came from.

There’s A Bear In There!

A bend in the long, winding highway linking inland New South Wales with the South Coast is perhaps the last place you would expect to find a children’s tourist attraction.
Like many of Australia’s quirkier attractions, Pooh Bear’s Corner was established through one individual’s imagination and eventually took off.

A local family from Crookwell spotted a disused cave halfway down Clyde Mountain on their frequent trips to the coast in the early 1970s. The parents concocted the story that the cave was, in fact, home to A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh for the amusement of their children.

They soon began leaving stuffed bears and handwritten signs at the spot on their journey down the mountain. The idea soon caught on, and others began leaving bears at the site, which became known as Pooh Bear’s Corner. Eventually, the local council caught onto the idea, erecting a permanent sign at the attraction.

Children and kids at heart still look out for the teddy bears congregating in Pooh’s cave on their way down Clyde Mountain today.

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