Gumbuya World

11th February 2023

My weekend began with a 6:00am alarm clock, half an hour on a train, an hour and change on a fine Boeing product, and the same again in a rental car – all in pursuit of what is (for the moment at least) the newest roller coaster in Australia.

It was just before noon when I arrived at Gumbuya World. It was immediately clear that I’d chosen a busy day; the substantial main parking lot was completely full, so I found myself heading for “Event Parking”, an overflow space to the northwest. This was also rammed, though I was able to claim one of the last available paved spaces. When I returned for my car a few hours later I saw a few hundred vehicles lined up in an adjacent field. I was braced for crazy queues, but I need not have worried; the vast majority of guests were in the water park.


The park has recently premiered two roller coasters. Ordinarily I’d have begun my day with the one that I hadn’t ridden before, but I’d been warned ahead of time that Project Zero could shut down in the middle of the day for safety checks, and given that I figured it’d be no harm to get a lap in while it was operating. The ride is a Maurer SkyLoop relocated from Dreamworld, though its second-hand status its invisible even to the seasoned observer; it now sports bright green track and a sparse but effective space theme, and the lap bars on the twelve seat train have been upgraded with additional padding that greatly increases overall comfort.

The ride experience today was absolutely fine. My trip report from its previous home notes a side-to-side shuffle that was completely absent today. The tracking was smooth, the airtime solid, and indeed the inversion at the apex was fun – not least because it was augmented by a string of heartfelt colourful metaphors from the row behind me. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better ride on a SkyLoop, and while I appreciate that constitutes faint praise I seriously considered going back for a second round.

Before I could do that, however, I needed to pay my respects to what was always going to be the main attraction of the day. TNT (#3059) is the only example of a 453m Vekoma SFC in the southern hemisphere – albeit not for long, as a clone has been ordered for the new Wizard of Oz area at Warner Bros Movie World in 2024. The ride has an elaborate theme package including a painted station building, a brick-lined trench below ground, and lots of imitation dynamite. Some of the latter is loose and available for guests to play with in the queue, which is certainly a novel idea, if not one that I’d advocate given that the teenager group in front of me were using two pieces of it to hit each other. I rather suspect the various elements will be glued in place at some stage, though time will tell.

The ride is exactly as expected for the type; a superb coaster that skates the line between thrilling and family friendly, and I’d happily have ridden multiple times. I had every intention of doing that, but sadly it didn’t work out that way; I was close to the front of the queue for a second lap when the ride broke down, and a few minutes later the operators decided to clear the queue. The words “half an hour” were thrown around, but when there was no sign of activity ninety minutes later I decided it was best to cut my losses. It could have been worse; I'd have been raging if I'd missed it entirely.

I’d not planned to ride the Mining Racer Coaster, but it was walk-on and I figured it would be rude not to do a token cycle on my way to the exit. The programme in use today was three laps, and while I wouldn’t describe the experience as smooth it was better than expected for the type.



Luna Park Melbourne

11th February 2023

I'd made a point of reserving the smallest possible rental car for today in the knowledge that I'd be driving it around the center of Melbourne. On landing however I found that I’d been “upgraded” to a full size Hyundai SUV with the manoeuvrability and turning circle of a barge. This was far from optimal as I sought out a parking space in the general vicinity of Luna Park Melbourne, but after circling for half an hour I finally found somewhere large enough in a lot off Belford Street. Readers retracing my steps should seriously consider getting to the park by tram.

I began my visit with a ride on Speedy Beetle (#3060), currently the only “two loop” SBF spinning coaster in Australia. This was everything I hoped it would be, and much more besides. The highlight, if such it be, was the train – where each car had a different design. The only one I could immediately identify was the spotted ladybird pattern on car two, though it seems likely that the other three are also standard options from the manufacturer’s catalogue.

Stop two was at the Ghost Train, a Pretzel creation from 1934. Today the experience was a mixed bag; the effects were generally good, though at least a few of them were not working; there was somewhere of the order of twenty seconds of complete blackness early into the ride.

I next made my way over to the Scenic Railway, a classic wood coaster that had been in fairly shocking condition on my visits in 2010 and 2015. I’d probably have skipped it today were it not for recent positive reports from the European Coaster Club. The queue took the usual multiple of forever due to lackadaisical one train operation, but I was eventually able to take the rear of the front car. From that location the overall experience was remarkably good; a minor shuffle on the third drop was the only blemish to what was a superb classic coaster, and one that I'd have happily sat on all afternoon. I seriously thought about going back for a second and even a third lap, but decided that I couldn't be sure of getting through the queue in time for my flight back to Europe later in the week.


There were two other rides on my hit list, both of which were walk-on. First up was Supernova, a thirty metre high SBF swing tower and a sister of the ride I experienced last weekend. This unit had two person benches rather than three, and was far more lively at full height – lending considerably weight to the theory that the version in Surfers Paradise has had its top speed turned down. With that done I wrapped my visit with the classic Carousel. The barrel organ wasn’t working today, which was a huge shame; I hope this to be a temporary aberration rather than a permanent change, as cheesy slightly out of tune music is a huge part of the experience and joy of these rides.