Large signs at the entrance to Funfields today warned potential visitors that their water slide was closed... due to water damage. I couldn't help but giggle very slightly as I handed over my admission fee. On a side note, this is the country that had a serious fire on a log flume some years ago. Go figure.
My interest in the park today was an eight hundred metre alpine slide, one of the longest in Australia. Today it was being operated in a really clever fashion, with a staff member standing at the midpoint with a walkie-talkie. If anyone was going down the ride slowly the operators temporarily stopped dispatches so that nobody would be held up on the course. Many other parks could learn from this one! I also tried out the go-karts, though despite me keeping foot to the floor throughout I was overtaken by a number of younger patrons, my adult weight proving a distinct handicap given the low capacity engines.
2nd January 2010
It took me quite a while to find Gumbuya Park, as the location in my satnav was incorrect by almost ten kilometers. Those not relying on a computer need only follow Princes Highway east from Melbourne, as the park is rather well signposted. If all else fails, it would be pretty hard to miss the dramatic statue at the park entrance.
The park felt in many ways like a spread-out version of Funfields. Guests are able to drive around much of the facility, something I've never seen before, with lots of small parking areas in different places. The fact that this is allowed in a park where children might be roaming free shows how careful the average Australian is, and it seems to work; in a few minutes of people watching I didn't see any vehicles moving above walking pace.
The Toboggan Run features two independent tracks, though they share a single station and lift mechanism, the latter coming at the end of the ride. The really interesting feature here was the construction material, namely heavy duty concrete. The only portion made of metal was the lift, which was raised a few feet above the ground, presumably to avoid moisture gathering within. The ride experience was exactly as expected, the only slight surprise being the sheer amount of speed it was possible to build up on the course; it would have been quite easy to go over the side.
The only other ride I tried was the rather nice Twister Carts, though the experience would have been considerably more fun if there wasn't a flat out ban on overtaking. This would have necessitated a somewhat wider track, but, well, needs must!