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.