First look: new Jamberoo Action Park ride

New rides will open at Jamberoo Action Park today, including a water slide touted as the "biggest of its kind".

The Funnel Web is a souped-up version of The Tornado water ride, which operates in 70 theme parks worldwide, including Wet 'n' Wild Water World on the Gold Coast.

In a standard model, the rider descends 18 metres from beginning to end but at Jamberoo the lay of the land has made a drop of 30 metres possible.

The ride, and neighbouring children's water play structure Banjo's Billabong, were slated to open at an official launch yesterday, but only a select few "test pilots" were allowed on because two of 15 necessary certifications were still pending.

The park said yesterday that the rides would open to the public today.

In the Funnel Web, riders travel in groups of four in a clover-shaped tube down a 270 metre course. It begins as an enclosed, winding tunnel with a tight doughnut, building speed before the tube is shot up the side of an open-mouthed funnel.

The tube oscillates, losing height, then disappears down the funnel's narrow end and into a second enclosed, speed-building doughnut.

Park owner Jim Eddy said the course was double the size of some other Tornadoes.

"It's the largest and the longest of its kind in the world," he said.

The rides represent the $14 million first stage in a four-stage, $60 million expansion, and are expected to attract at least another 100,000 visitors to the park annually.

Their opening comes three months after construction began on the $115 million Wet 'n' Wild Sydney, touted as a bigger, brasher version of its Gold Coast counterpart.

Mr Eddy said he welcomed the Prospect competitor, as two NSW offerings would win back tourism dollars lost to the state since 2003, when Australia's Wonderland closed and left Sydney without a major theme park.

'Mr Eddy praised his family for their efforts leading to yesterday's opening, but was critical of the planning process, which was prolonged by red tape and complaints by residents.

The Funnel Web water ride. Pictures: SYLVIA LIBER

The Funnel Web water ride. Pictures: SYLVIA LIBER

The development received contributions from state and federal governments, and $2 million from the federal government's Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund.


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