PORT Macquarie has been without a family fun park since the closure of the famous Peppermint Park in 2003.
Stoney Aqua Park will change all of that when it officially opens a super-sized water adventure facility on Saturday, September 23.
It is an arena of obstacles, slides, trampolines, ladders and swings on top of the man-made lake at Telegraph Point.
The Port News was given exclusive access before the park’s opening.
We dragged our sore bodies from the water after many attempts at the blast bag, giant slides, trampolines and catapult swing.
I can say that although much harder than it looks, it is the most fun I have had since Peppermint Park and Fantasy Glades closed all those years ago.
Owner of Stoney Park, Jason Stone, said a lot of time and effort went into making the concept a reality.
“This has been a bit over six months. We ordered all the gear and had it shipped over in containers from China and America – a lot of it custom built,” he said.
“The idea came from friends on the Sunshine Coast with similar parks and they have been popular.
“We saw a niche in the market and wanted to branch out into broader water sports, and thought it would be great for the Port Macquarie area.”
The people of Port Macquarie and surrounds went into overdrive on social media when Mr Stone shared the first teaser video last month.
“The response has been fantastic. We’re hoping and expecting to see a good turn out over the summer period,” he said.
“People have been wanting something back in the area like this, since Peppermint Park closed, so everything lent itself to putting this in which is why we pushed ahead to do it.”
Mr Stone said it would be a boost for the local tourism economy and is hoping to see people travelling from afar to enjoy the facility.
Here’s a sneak peak at how the park looks in action:
“There was a bit of capital outlay for it, but we thought it was worth sacrificing one of our lakes from skiing,” he said.
“We hope it draws more people to the area, to Port Macquarie, which will be great for the economy of the town.”
The park is not age or weight restricted. It will be manned by up to eight bronze medallion certified lifeguards at a time, as well as some venturing around on stand up paddle boards.
“It is heavily scrutinised safety-wise. Everyone has to wear a life jacket and there are safety speeches and waiver forms to sign,” he said.
The park will open seven days a week in school holidays. It will remain open on weekends and some weekdays thereafter, with night sessions to run in the summer.
And if you want a laugh, check out a couple of bloopers: