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Luna Park

Whiten your knuckles at Sydney's amusement park which has been dishing out the thrills and spills since 1935.

Luna Park is a special kind of visitor attraction. One that only Sydney could actually get away with, while still keeping a straight face. Forget ideas of a slick, modern and sweetly-packaged Disneyland. Luna Park takes amusements back to their white-knuckled, quirky origins in the carney and travelling fun fairs. Today's revamped Luna Park is a conscious attempt to revive the thrills of the 1930s original. And it works.

Just one glance at the shock-haired, manically-happy and gruesomely-toothed face looming over the entrance – you literally walk through its open mouth – is enough to convince you this is no Disneyland. The 'Face' entrance is in fact the same design as that used in the original Luna Park, which first opened its toothy gateway in 1935.

And once you're inside the park, the retro-vibe doesn't stop. Coney Island harks back to the 1935 original, and is the only fun-house from that era still tickling the funny bones. It features a mirror maze, spinning barrels, walkways that shift and gyrate, and crazy slides. Many of the decorations and fittings are originals from Luna Park's designer, Arthur Barton. They were rescued in the 1980s, when the amusement park fell on hard-times.

Luna Park also has New South Wale's only permanent roller-coaster, the Wild Mouse. This is exactly the same roller coaster that thrilled punters in the 1960s, bought lovingly back to life. It is notorious for its tight twisting turns and sudden drops. There is also an eighteen-car dodgem track (Dodgem City) and a 35-metre high Ferris wheel (the Skylab Ferris Wheel) that scoops you up high over North Sydney. Not forgetting Commander Baldocks Galloping Horses and Racing Cockerels Carousel, a 19th-century carousel that brings a more measured appreciation of the thrills of a bygone era.

All told, you'll have all the fun of the fair – and then some – if you cross-over to Luna park. It lies on the north-side of the Harbour Bridge, and it is literally right next to the bridge itself. Just remember to bring the kids with you as well.


Guide to Exploring Luna Park


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Four Seasons Hotel Sydney NZ$264
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