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Richard

East Coast Trip

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I was down for the Australian Open in Melbourne, so I figured I'd make the most of it. Taking the long, slow, windy coast road all the way to Melbourne sure ain't the quickest way, but I found it was the most fun on the way. Coffs Harbour on the first afternoon. Since I was there last, the place looks a heck of a lot tackier and two-bit. Tough since then, they've installed a Toboggan. Not the best I've ridden. It was much too short considering the height and land they had to work with. It doesn't pick up much speed, nor are there any great fast turns, or decent slops or dropping curves. The next day started in Sydney. The (saddening) Luna Park site needed a visit. The Wild Mouse has disappeared, but there are about three flat rides still there (Ferris Wheel, Enterprise among others). I also took a walk up to the top end of the park above the cliffs. I took some photos from the carpark of the building where Alibrandi's father lived in the great Aussie film from 2000. It is nothing less than an outrage that someone let developers put units so close to a place that was traditionally and historically noisy. Footers from Big Dipper are still very much in place. I also spun into Wonderland Sydney. They've put a new banner on the Bush Beast that announces their new Marvel deal. I didn't go in because I didn't have the time, nor had I organised anything. Instead, it was up the Highway to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Katoomba is of course home to the great Scenic World, home of the Scenic Railway - worlds steepest railway at just over 52º. They've also got their 'Scenic Skyway' (notice a pattern with the names?), and most recently the Sceniscender which is Swiss engineering at its best - and for once that doesn't mean Intamin or B&M. :) Orphan Rocker is still sitting there, nice and quiet. When I was there six months ago, the place was just closing up, so I couldn't take any of the rides down to get a good view of the coaster. This time however, I got a much better idea of the ride's layout. From the bottom of the valley, it is amazing to see high up at the top of the cliffs, the track so close to the cliff edge. The next day, for a few hours was Merimbula's Magic Mountain. I was expecting just an ordinary park with a traveling Pinfari coaster as the centerpiece. I was quite wrong, to some extent. It is a pay-per-entry park, for about $28 all day I think. A bit steep, but it would be easy to spend a day there. To me, the highlight attraction was their toboggan. I didn't rate the Big Banana one too highly earlier on, but boy was this one great! It is about three times as long as the one at the Big Banana, and nearly double the length of the one at Thredbo. This one was great! It had a great mixture of curves all very well placed, and some very steep curving drops. The two last curves are just perfect. There is easily 120km/hr probably more, if you do the entire ride without the brake stick. It took me about five rides to finally get to know the course well enough to try it, and that is one of the most intense rides I've done. Unlike most models, this one has the lift at the end, not the beginning, so you're expected to slow to 'walking speed' before the curve into the lift. Needless to say, on my brakeless run, I was going at Maurice Green speed all the way in, pulling back on the stick like crazy. After a few days at the tennis, I headed out to Luna Park. The place was reasonable packed, probably not overly great numbers, but considering the size, it felt pretty crowded. This was my first time on the Scenic Railway (last time I was down that way the place was closed), so I had something to look forward to. Tell you what - for a ride that is only like 15m tall, and has drops that are about 12m, this thing is rough. I was sort of hoping for some big cushy seats like those on the Coney Island Cyclone. All I got was this hard, worn-down padded wooden seat. Towards the back, this ride was just painful. It can't be going more than 30km/hr, yet it felt worse than the Bush Beast, which is 3x the speed. The front is alright, though if you're not in the very front of either carriages, it'll take some time to get used to the lack of legroom, hold on for the first few rides, for that reason alone. Nothing else special at the park, except the chips, and the temporary freak show. The chips were the best I've had in an Aussie park, considering they don't have any special salt or seasoning made them particularly great. The freak show was cool. It was done by a group known as the Happy Sideshow. With the very cool Shep Huntly MC'ing the show, it wasn't so much grose, as it was cool. Admittedly, my favorite, which wasn't actually part of the freak show, but just a warm up, was 'Captain Frodo' and 'the Space Cowboy' doing very cool tricks with bowler hats. The trip ended with the flight back up the Brissie this morning. I don't have a digital camera at the moment, so I had to take the old SLR, which is in all respects a heaps better camera. I just have to get the (dozens) of films processed, and I'll have hopefully around 5 new galleries up soon (as well as Aussie World and Movie World which are coming).

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Yeah, I heard of that place a few years ago somewhere down south (out Cooma/Jindabyne way I guess, because that's the only place I ever am down in that area). There are high hopes for their ski resort plans to go ahead (get the beginners away from the good resorts!!). From the photos on their website, it looks as though it is a damn fine ride, in a very nice area (Big Banana's was terrible - on a cleared grass hill). I'm down that way (optimistically) every year skiing, so I'll bung that on the list for next year. Cheers!

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Hello from burning Canberra. Just thought i'd mention this but last nite Corin Forest burnt down in the fires. (we're still on high alert here in the south) It was one hell of a fire! They aren't expecting to reopen until easter. The good luck is that they recieved insurance just 12 hours before it happened.

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44 degress in Victoria the other day and I sepnt all that day working in a kitchen with a broken air con! It's been raining up in Queensland hasn't it? Down here I have herd plenty of stories of people flying of the tabogoan track on the last sharp turn before the lift hill at Gumbia Park :). The Gumbia Park tabogon is actualy on a concrete track. i rember when i was there once seeing someone coming up the lift hill with scrathches all over them from where they had fallen off the tobogan. ouch! I can't see how you could fall off though? You don't want to buy a tabogan track do you? Kingcuna country who just shut down can't sell their's. One more thing. One of my friends at school just got back from the gold coast and can't stop talking about the scobby doo coaster. I am so gealous :) Have fun Shaun

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Well, we seem to have caught up with the southern states. We got a tiny (a minute of light sprinking at the most) amount of rain the other day. It's getting pretty dead here. It has been pretty humid though. Thankfully not that dry heat (that you're probably used to down there :)). Where is this 'Kingcuna Country'? I passed a toboggan down, just near of Lakes Entrance, and the place was shut down (would have been nice to get another one into the count). Where to put a toboggan would be the first question, then where is the money coming from, but other than that, I'd buy it in a hurry. The steel troughed ones aren't fixed to the ground (designed to be able to be moved for the ski season in Europe etc.), so moving would be a breeze. The concrete ones, from what I've seen are not as good. Older ones are made from aspestos... and were largely responsible for the findings that aspestos is actually toxic. They are common in America (who don't have any of the steel ones). To fall off, it isn't too hard I guess. People who force themselves to go faster than their ability permits, tend to do this. The faster you get, the more you'll go up the banked curves. To make this a good transition, you have to really lean hard into the curves. Even when leaning well into the turns, the radius of the curves is simply too much for your body to take suddenly. The most I've ever gotten is a few wobbles (which get the adrenalin pumpin') in awkward curves, I've never fallen. Long story short: going to fast, and not having the experience and familiarity with the particular ride is resonsible for stacks on these rides.

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Lol your exactly right! It's in Lakes. How did you know that :). I don't know if the spelling for Kingcona is right or not but it's something like that? It doesn't look right? 'King''Coon''A' ;) Kingcona Country ;) was another victim of the public liability insurance. When it found it's insurance had jumped from $15,000 to $85,000 a year it just wasn't profitable anymore. I was disapointed too because I was all looking forward to going there this year. I was probaly in Lakes about the same time you past through! :D You would of driven through Sale too then and that's where i live. Was there much smoke around when you drove through? You really went the long way to melbourne then if you drove all the way down through Lakes. :) Do you like the humid weather! I hate it when it's humid, it's all sticky and feels horible :x I can't stand it! Anyway Shaun

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Incidently, when I noticed the place was shut as I went past, I said that it was probably because of insurance. A real shame too. The place didn't look like it had much, but it's always a shame to loose a park, especially with a nice looking toboggan. We did go through Sale, wouldn't for the life of me remember what it looked like (other than dry), just I know it was somewhere near the turnoff to Heyfield (where Wil Anderson of Triple J/ABC TV fame grew up). It wasn't too smokey when I went through the area, it was a bit hazy. Driving down the coastal road - it took twice as long as it should have ( 9-8 driving days including maybe 4 hours in total seeing stuff), at three days. But it was greener than a central road would be, and some great scenery. We did it almost purely to go to Merimbula's Magic Mountain, I wish I had actually seen what was down along the road in the way of recreation parks, because I missed about two toboggans. As for humidity. I prefer the hot and humid weather we get here to the dry hot stuff that I certainly felt down there in the tennis (as did my wallet - having to buy mineral water several times because I didn't bring a bottle or anything). I don't like extreme humidity (such as on cloudy days when its still hot). Ideally, I like out winters - cold and dry. Let's not go too far off topic now. :D

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