Lots of fun along the Mitta Mitta

One of the longest sections on our journey through Australia was the one between the cities Melbourne and Sydney. Where others would simply take the train or board a plane, we decided to hit the road for two consecutive days and have some fun along the way.

After enjoying a small rafting adventure on the river Iller in the South of Germany in September it was pretty clear that we should do something similar in Australia. We decided to book a day trip on the Mitta Mitta River provided by Rafting Australia, which was comfortably located on our journey towards Sydney.

We therefore booked a night at the Snug as a bug Motel in Omeo, which I can recommend. The offer in Omeo is quite small and during our visit not much was available. After a small snack, we then went on a small hike for the Oriental Claims following the path of the Livingstone Creek. The oriental claims are a former gold mining operation (claim) by the Oriental company from 1876 to 1904, hence the name. It is a nice and interesting walk.

The next day, we headed off for our rafting adventure. As the river hold a lot of water at this time of the year, we were told to have the most exciting route in front of us. Yet first we had to get the boat down to the river, which was already pretty exhausting and an adventure in its own right. After being instructed on a wider part of the river, our adventure could finally start.

For hours we now enjoyed the rapids as well as the quitter passages of the river all embedded in a beautiful landscape. We had a great spirit in the small team and some great talks along the way. At one point we got a small lunch break and enjoyed a particularly nice pumpkin soup. Back to full strength we then continued on the last stage of our river adventure which featured some pretty impressive rapids. We had a blast!

After our rafting experience, our adventure was by far not yet over. In order to get to our next hotel, we were being told a short cut, where we had to go a bit off-road. We did not have the right car for doing so, nor did we have good tires, yet we did it anyways. My friend was quite afraid when I was driving through the serpentines, and we started to slide a bit. The path was quite hilly, which doubled the fun or the fear – depending on which person you asked. After a while we then hit the normal roads again, which were a bit easier to drive on. After riding along Lake Hume for a bit, we then passed the Murray River and entered New South Wales.

I booked a night at the Holbrook Town Center Motor Inn. As we arrived late, I had to call in. While doing so, I wondered why I could not hear anything. After looking at my phone for quite a bit, I then realised that I was still connected to the Bluetooth of the car, and it was acting like a giant speaker. I then called again, and shortly thereafter we could get into our room. As the staff could not charge my credit card for whatever reason, we were waked up quite early and forced to pay. Apart of that, we had a good stay.

On the next day, we took the remaining 500km towards Sydney for Milsons Point. After passing the Harbour Bridge and finding a parking spot, I headed for the nearby Luna Park Sydney, while Aris enjoyed the surrounding area.


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Wild Mouse Galore

Luna Park Milsons Point is probably the theme park with the most breathtaking view of all. Located right next to the world-famous Harbour Bridge and within sight of the Sydney Opera House, the classic Tivoli amusement park offers some of the best entertainment in Australia.

History of the Luna Park Sydney

Interestingly, the history of the theme park begins in Adelaide. From 1930 to 1934, there was the Luna Park Glenelg. Due to political decisions in South Australia that made the operation of the park no longer profitable, the Philipps Brothers looked for a new location in Sydney. At the same time, the use of the former Dorman Long site for people’s amusements was put out to tender. The Phillips Brothers won the tender and moved the rides to the new site at Milsons Point shortly afterwards. One year later, Luna Park was opened.

In the 1950s, David Atkins and Ted Hopkins, among others, took over the park from the Philipps Brothers. In 1969, when Hopkins retired, the lease was taken over by the World Trade Centre Pty Ltd. As a first measure, the consortium closed many of the old rides and replaced them with new American thrill rides. A new operations schedule, a new slogan and even a mascot were introduced to make the park more popular – even though the lease expired in 1975. Although Luna Park was allowed to continue operating, its continued existence was not assured. After two incidents in 1979, the New South Wales government put the park out to tender again.

Australian Amusements Associates won the tender in September 1980 and took over management of the site in early June 1981. Luna Park continued to operate as Harbourside Amusement Park between 1982 and 1988. After two independent engineers determined that several rides in the park needed to be shut down for renovations and repairs, the park was closed on 10 April. In November, the lease was transferred to Luna Park Investments Pty Ltd – and the chaos took its course. After several applications to replace most or all of Luna Park with appartment blocks and hotels, and with no apparent interest in the amusement park, the New South Wales government gave the company an ultimatum to open Luna Park by 1 June 1990. Shortly after, rides were moved, repainted and renamed to give the appearance of preparing the site for operation. The directors kept making excuses to get a postponement, but shortly after the ultimatum, the lease was terminated and the Luna Park Reserve Trust was formed. Shortly afterwards, the National Heritage Trust added several buildings on the site to its list of protected structures.

From 1991 to 1995, the park received a major refurbishment, which led to the installation of the Big Dipper roller coaster by Arrow Dynamics. Due to noise complaints from the new ride, the park had to reduce the operating hours of the ride, which led to a decline in visitor numbers and eventually to the closure of the park in 1996. In June 1997, the New South Wales Government presented four development proposals to the public. In February 1998, the NSW Department of Public Works and Services called for proposals for the redevelopment of Luna Park. Metro Edgley Group won the tender. Their proposal called for most of the rides to remain, but requested that the Big Dipper be replaced with a multi-purpose concert hall and asked that the Crystal Palace be redeveloped as an events centre. During the long decision-making and approval process, Luna Park was allowed to operate in late 2000, early 2001 during the Olympic Games and the summer season.

The redevelopment and restoration of Luna Park was carried out over 14 months. Since 2004, the amusement park has been continuously operating again.

Tour of the Luna Park Sydney


If you enter the amusement park through the iconic entrance portal with its smiling face, you will immediately find one of the amusement park’s smash attractions to your right: a Rotor. The ride, patented by W. Ernst Hoffmeister, makes its passengers stick to the wooden wall just by the centrifugal force of the rotating cylinder and the friction between the passenger and the wall. A delightful fun ride, but one that can easily lead to dizziness.

Volare, Tango Train, Ferris Wheel and the Hair Raiser

The Volare wave swinger and the Tango Train musik express are less wild. The beautiful and quite new musik express offers two ride programmes: Mild and Wild. The wilder ride is especially recommended, as it takes place both forwards and backwards.

Directly opposite, you can enjoy the view on the Ferris Wheel or take a ride on the Hair Raiser. The small free-fall tower from Larson & ARM Rides is a real challenge due to its design, because thanks to the panels mounted above the passenger, you never know when you will reach the top of the tower and when you will fall straight down. The very short braking distance also makes for a very intense drop experience.

Dodgem City and Tumble Bug

Above the Dodgem City bumper car was once the station of the Big Dipper roller coaster and in the future the entrance to the New Big Dipper roller coaster – a single rail coaster by Intamin. At the time of my visit, nothing was known about this and so I only enjoyed a ride on the HUSS Troika Tumble Bug, which has since left the park.

Wild Mouse

On the other side of Main Street is the entrance to the Wild Mouse wooden roller coaster. Unfortunately, the wooden Wild Mouse belongs to a dying species and since the removal of the Wild Mouse from Blackpool Pleasure Beach in England, you can only experience this type of roller coaster here or in Indonesia. Yet wooden Wild Mice are one thing above all: bloody good roller coasters!

The ride on the Wild Mouse begins after a right turn with the ascent of the lift hill. Once at the top, we race through a series of tight hairpin bends before whizzing down a level in a wide curve. After two long straights, we then approach the first big shot and are immediately lifted off the seat. After coming back into contact with the seat in the valley, we immediately go over another hill accompanied by finest airtime. After a climb, we now cross the entrance area of the roller coaster, slightly pressed into the side wall of the car. After a crisp S-curve, we plunge to the ground once more. Here, too, we experience airtime par excellence. After a final hill and two fast straights, we approach the exit area of the ride.

The Wild Mouse is a blast of a roller coaster and I hope it stays at Luna Park for a long time. It is certainly one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world, making it one of the top sights in Sydney for any roller coaster fan.

Coney Island

Another sight for every theme park fan is the large Fun House Coney Island, which offers a variety of attractions. In addition to classic cake-walk elements, you will also find a devil’s wheel, a mirror maze, a variety of very steep slides and an extremely remarkable collection of old pinball machines.

Spider and the Moon Ranger

Directly behind the Fun House is a larger outdoor area, which, however, is less charming and offers a few rides. The Break Dance Spider and the Moon Ranger were located here. The latter was one of the reasons why I really wanted to visit Luna Park Sydney, because a HUSS Ranger is a fun machine that has unfortunately become very rare. Now the area has been redesigned and will soon have two new roller coasters: Little Nipper and Boomerang. There will also be a collection of new family rides from Zamperla, as well as the large Sledgehammer flat ride.

Pictures Luna Park Sydney

Conclusion Luna Park Sydney

I really enjoyed Luna Park Sydney. Unfortunately, I only had about 2 ½ hours in the park, but I loved every minute of it. The charm of the old amusement park, the breathtaking location and the extremely good selection of attractions characterise Luna Park like hardly any other park in Australia..


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Milsons Point and Darling Harbour

After my fantastic visit to Luna Park Sydney, Aris and I had enough time to explore the area a little bit before heading to our motel. We stayed at the Garden Lodge Sydney, which was a budget motel right next to a busy highway. Due to its location close to a light rail and a commuter train station it was an ideal starting point to explore the city.

Soon after we arrived at the motel, we took the light train towards Darling Harbour, where we visited the local Hard Rock Café for a delicious meal. By the time we stepped out of the restaurant, the sun had set, and Darling Harbour showed itself to us as a great nightlife location. We continued our first exploration tour of Sydney by crossing the heritage listed Pyrmont Bridge, before we admired the remains of the Metro Monorail – a failed mode of transport built in the 1980s, which became a tourist attraction towards the end of its life – with its modern looking stations; if you don’t know the story, you might think that they would built a new mode of transport very soon and already started with the stations.

We continued our walk towards the Westfield Centre, which is home to the Sydney Tower. While the Trippas White Group is operating the facilities bars and restaurants, Merlin Entertainments takes care of the operation deck Sydney Tower Eye. Unfortunately, we arrived a bit late to have a night-time view onto the city.

As it was quite a long day, we returned to the hotel shortly thereafter.

Pictures Sydney Milsons Point and Darling Harbour


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