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Luna Park Melbourne & Adventure Park Geelong - Trip Report - March 2024

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I recently got to visit both Luna Park Melbourne & Adventure Park Geelong for the first time. Like the other Victoria parks that I visited late last year, I didn't know much about these parks. All I knew was Luna Park had one of the oldest coasters in the world and Adventure Park had some very colourful slides.


Luna Park Melbourne

Located in St Kilda along the beach, this is defintiley the easiest park in Victoria to get to and is probably why it's one of the more popular parks (particularly for toursits). However (spoiler alert), it’s pretty disappointing. I haven’t been to Luna Park Sydney as a comparison, but Luna Park Melbourne needs a lot of work done and a real vision for what it could really be. I didn’t have high expectations before visiting, but to be honest, it was actually worse than my low expectations.

Before going into my issues with the park and how I think it can improve, here’s the positives. There is a lot of history for this park and the entrance is certainly impressive. If you arrive my tram, it’s the first thing you see leading up to the park and with its architectural style and the coaster looping around the park, it’s unlike any other park I’ve been too. Watching the coaster go past over the entrance was very cool to watch, particularly as it’s relatively slow moving along the straights. 

If you haven’t ever been to Luna Park Melbourne, essentially The Great Scenic Railway surrounds the entire perimeter of the park, with all of the other rides spread throughout the park, with a couple of food options and stores. There’s quite a lot of the park that is heritage listed, so there is a lot of traditional and ‘unique’ buildings within the park. The Luna Palace building is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, so a large portion of the park felt like a construction site. But when complete next year, it will increase the footprint of this area of the land and allow for more rides and event spaces.

So the first ride of the day was of course The Great Scenic Railway. This was honestly the main reason for wanting to visit the park and it was genuinely a lot of fun. Because it’s unlike anything else in the country (and really the world because of its age), it is so unique and is definitely something that got to be ridden. The station building is actually beautiful and it looked like it recently received a repaint because the colours were very vibrant. The cars were very tight and did cause a few bruises in a couple of moments throughout the ride, but that’s all part of the fun right? Having a human operating the brakes on board was so strange to witness and I feel like it’s something that won’t be around for much longer. The layout itself provided great views of the Melbourne landscape and it did pick up a bit of speed on the drops (maybe even the smallest bit of airtime), but otherwise it’s a pretty slow ride, but that gives it one of the longest ride times for any coaster in the country. 

Some of the other rides we did were Supernova (similar to SWs Trident, but it actually operates), the carousel, ghost train and speedy beetle (SBF Visa spinning coaster). All of these were fine, nothing to brag about, and most of the other rides were either something you found at a carnival or something I wasn’t interested in riding. 

So now onto my issues with this park. There is a lot of concrete. In fact, the entire park was just one big slab of concrete that became pretty hot, considering we visited on a cooler day. There was no landscaping (and if there was, so little that it went unnoticed); it needs some greenery to bring some life to the park. There was almost no shade, very little seating and the park felt old. Yes, it is a very old park, but that doesn’t mean it should feel old and dirty. I mentioned earlier the Scenic Railways station was beautiful (I actually loved looking at it), but it was mostly hidden by food trucks and a couple umbrellas. They should be showcasing this history, not hiding it behind stuff. 

With the major construction project that’s happening definitely isn’t helping the park, so I’ll have to visit it again when that’s all complete, but the way the park was laid out felt awkward and crowded. I know a lot of the rides aren’t permanently fixed to the ground so they can rearrange things as they feel necessary. But the park feels like it needs a master plan to work out what it’s trying to achieve. There are a few rides I’d say just get ride of (providing they aren’t heritage listed) and that allows for new and more exciting things to take their place. There was a kids train that was driving through the park, but on a busy day it just gets in the way. It’s honking at everyone because people aren’t moving because there’s such little space to move. 

I can see this park has so much potential and I hope the recently management can turn it around to take advantage of its location, history and what it could be. I wasn’t expecting great rides, but I did hope to feel the charm and history and such an iconic park. And for me I just didn’t feel it. I didn’t expect it to be like the Gold Coast parks, or even Funfields/Gumbuya that I got to visit last year, but I left the park disappointed. Maybe I’m being too critical of Luna Park Melbourne (so I’m interested to hear others thoughts), but I do hope post this major development of Luna Palace, the park begins to transform into what it could be.


Adventure Park Geelong

Located just over an hour south of Melbourne (20 minutes east from Geelong), I also didn’t know much about Adventure Park Geelong and its offerings. All I knew about were the colourful tornado style slides that opened in recent years. This park has a good range of both water slides and dry rides spread across the park, but what makes this place special is the massive lake in the middle that has endless boardwalks and green spaces surrounding it. For the most part, it is a very pretty park (I’ll get into this more later). At the front of the park are all the dry rides (and a couple old slides) and then across the lake is all the newer water slides with the pro-slides, lazy river, racer and kids play/splash zones. 

Our group had a treetop cabana during our visit, which provided a good view of the pro-slide attractions and was a good location to store all our belongings. As there’s no wave pool, there’s no ‘central’ location to keep your stuff like you would at a normal water park. There are some loungers and grass areas around the lazy river, but if you’re visiting a cabana might be a good idea on a busier day. 

We started with the Tornado and Tsunami. These are comparable to Green Room and Triole Vortex at WhiteWater World… but better. The Tornado (while a smaller model compared to the GC versions) has a great build up to the drop and certainly has a great pace. And Tsunami is a lot better than Triple Vortex (I just used it as a comparison because it has three funnels), as you ride in the standard clover rafts and the slide gets some really good speed and you actually drop into each of the funnels. The last funnel is fully enclosed and does slow you down, but it picks up speed again into the final splashdown.

On the left side of the park is the other area of the water park, which features a large lazy river, with the kids zones and aqua racer in the middle. The Aqua Racer is a clone of the one that used to be at WnW, so it gives quite a bit of airtime on the last few drops. The lazy river has one main entry/exit point and something WnW should take note of, a queue line. To the side of the entrance is a queue line that is used on the parks busier days to help organise the chaos of waiting for a raft. There is also a wave machine at one point of the river, but unfortunately it was not operating during our visit (Gumbuya World had one operating and it makes the lazy river become river rapids, which is always good fun). There are some cabanas behind the river and they actually have their own private access to the river, seperate from the main entrance point.

And the final water attractions are at the front of the park, which are two more traditional double raft slides that are (almost) pitch black and throw you around and get some good speed towards the end. 

The parks food offerings are for the most part your standard theme park items, but they were surprisingly cheap compared to most other parks I’ve been too. Burgers were around $12 and then a regular combo was $8, which included chips and a drink. And it was good quality too!

Now it was time for the dry rides and there’s quite a good selection of them too. There was most of your normal expected flat rides, but there was also a wave swinger, large Ferris wheel, traditional carousel and SBF Visa spinning coaster. All of these were well presented and they were laid out very well across the front of the park. They also had two mini golf courses and paddle boats (on the lake) that were included with your general admission ticket. 

Overall the park was very clean, looked after, nicely presented and had a solid variety of attractions that easily fills your day. All of the staff were great and reasonably efficient. However there were a couple of negatives/areas to improve.

Firstly, the entrance was very underwhelming. There was a large lawn area, with some shade sails and then the ticket booths. There was no big park sign and nothing to welcome you. It was very strange to not see a park sign at the entrance to the park. 

Secondly, the park has a massive winter night event and Christmas night event that apparently pulls massive crowds for both events. However, they don’t take any of the decorations down when the events aren’t on. That means, throughout the entire park are mesh animals, Christmas decorations and Christmas lights. And I mean everywhere. From every point in the park, you could these decorations and a lot of them aren’t in good condition either. I’d imagine this event has run for a few years now because a lot of it was looking pretty tired (probably because it’s left out all year round). It’s a shame they don’t pack it all away when the events aren’t running because I can see how pretty the park is, but you’ve got all the stuff everywhere. I can appreciate why they wouldn’t because there is so much of it and it would take a long time to remove and setup, but also, they would need a massive shed to store it all as well.

Also, this park has a lot of land. There were (essentially) fields of land within the parks fences for so much potential expansion. The park could definitely benefit from even more water slides and maybe even a wave pool. I haven’t checked, but I’d guess you could even fit a DC Rivals on the land they’ve got (they wouldn’t have the budget for it, but just to put it in perspective). This park is already very solid and definitely worth a visit and I’m keen to see what they do in the future.


Final Score

My final score based off my first visit to both parks would be a 3/10 for Luna Park Melbourne and a 7/10 for Adventure Park Geelong.

Edited by themagician
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1 hour ago, themagician said:

I can see this park has so much potential and I hope the recently management can turn it around to take advantage of its location, history and what it could be. I wasn’t expecting great rides, but I did hope to feel the charm and history and such an iconic park. And for me I just didn’t feel it. I didn’t expect it to be like the Gold Coast parks, or even Funfields/Gumbuya that I got to visit last year, but I left the park disappointed. Maybe I’m being too critical of Luna Park Melbourne (so I’m interested to hear others thoughts), but I do hope post this major development of Luna Palace, the park begins to transform into what it could be.

I went there last year and it was pretty, lets say mid.

The operations were horrible, with 10 minute dispatches for multiple ride even know the park was booked out. Another thing relating to the operations is the weight balancing thing, even on a booked out day if there were single riders they would make them go by themselves, lets say on the Pharohs Curse if there were 10 single riders who could fit in a carriage of 20, then there would be 10 on the other carriage and the others would have to wait.

Also the park seemed tired, it feels like they are using the "classic theme park" thing as an excuse to not add anything or clean up the park. Some of the queues especially the Ghost Train felt cramped in measurement, if you needed to get past people for whatever reason it was very hard to get through.

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