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In the Adelaide Hills of southern Australia, near a place called Gumeracha (Gumma-rakka), there is a very strange sight to behold. Off what many consider to be the beaten track, let's just say a little left of Whoop-Whoop, is the largest rocking horse in the world. Strange place for it, granted, but definitely worth a visit if given the chance:
The best man-made, over-sized attraction in Australia.
Standing about 18.3 metres high, the Big Rocking Horse is painted glossy white, with a huge grin upon its face. It rests upon brilliant red rockers, and steps from the ground rise up through its body to viewing platforms on its back, and, for braver souls, to the top of the horse's head. The rocking horse is static though; don't expect it to teeter backwards and forwards in the wind!
The views out over the Adelaide Hills from the top of the horse are breathtaking, and well worth the effort of the climb; plus once you return to terra firma you will receive a Certificate of Congratulations for reaching the peak. Also worth visiting at the site, especially for children, are the Toy Factory and Animal Park.
The Toy Factory
The Toy Factory was established in 1971, and the family-run business manufactures all manner of wooden toys from pull-along trains to mobiles and of course, rocking horses. The Big Rocking Horse was built not only to prove it could be, because there wasn't much else to do in the Adelaide Hills, but also to promote the Toy Factory and give people more of a reason to visit.
The Animal Park
Around the Big Rocking Horse is about seven acres of bush with picnic benches, ponds, shaded areas and playgrounds spotted about. Within the area though are an amazing array of Australian native animals, including kangaroos, wallabies, emus and bettongs1, not to mention the birds.
Well, best to mention the birds because they enjoy landing on you to take titbits. In fact, the majority of the animals are very tame and placid, so will tolerate being petted whilst nibbling on some fruit or other tasty morsels. Watch the emus though, they can be a bit temperamental.
The Big Rocking Horse and Toy Factory is located north-east of Adelaide and takes about 45 minutes by car, and all you need do is follow the signposts to Gumeracha and the Big Rocking Horse to reach it. The Toy Factory is actually just down Main Road, Gumeracha, and there's good parking available.
The site is open every day of the year apart from Christmas Day, from 9am until 5pm. Entry to the Rocking Horse, Toy Factory and Animal Farm is free, and there's good disabled access plus a decent little café that is licensed to sell beer, wine and spirits - something you might need after climbing up and back down the horse!