Aquatics and Commercial

Big Banana turns 50 with new water park

March 11, 2015
The $1.6m Coffs Harbour Water Park is planned to be completed by September 2015.

Swimplex Aquatics will be installing four Polin waterslides and a splash pad at the new $1.6m Big Banana Water Park at Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales Mid North Coast.

The Big Banana is a national icon – being the first “big” thing constructed, way back in 1965. It has since won many tourism awards and has been voted the most popular family attraction in Australia.

The new park will be built on the famously sloping site, taking advantage of the hill to create elevation for the slides. Tousist numbers are expected to reach new heights following the completion of the new park.

Plans for the landmark million development have now been released, following years of work behind the scenes.

Big Banana general manager Michael Lockman says the project is the ideal way to mark the Big Banana’s 50th anniversary.

“This is a key strategic move in converting the iconic tourist attraction into a major theme and fun park,” he says.

Construction is due to commence in May by Coffs Harbour based company Swimplex Aquatics.

Project manager Daniel Leaver says the highlights of the water park will include a 14 metre platform height that will launch four exhilarating rides and an AquaTower interactive splash pad.

“This project is a landmark development for the people of Coffs Harbour and we are very pleased to have been chosen to deliver this water park,”he says. “It is another feather in our cap of delivering turn-key water slides and splash pads throughout Australia. We are looking forward to not only building this park locally but also being able to share it with our families and kids!”

Rides include a 96 metre open body slide, a 119 metre raft ride and a “heart stopping” kamikaze slide.

“After the first hump, the kamikaze slide is a 45 degree plummet that gets riders to the bottom in 38 heart stopping metres,” says Leaver. “It’s the quickest way to the bottom short of bungee jumping.”

The fourth slide is an exhilarating 90 metre tube body slide with “black hole” and “light effects” features for even greater excitement.

The project was announced by Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight and MP Andrew Fraser at the Big Banana’s 50th anniversary cocktail party on Saturday night.
A video message on the night by Prime Minster Tony Abbott highlighted the wide-spread appreciation of the iconic “traffic-stopper.”

“Although there are more than 150 ‘big things’ across our land… there is none more iconic than Australia’s very first big thing – the Big Banana,” he said on the night.

The four Coffs Harbour Water Park slides will use the hill elevation to advantage

Lockman says further developments could follow the success of the first stage.

“We have experienced a considerable uplift in visitation since the laser tag and mini golf course was built,” he says. “We believe that this major water park will take visitation to the park and Coffs Harbour to record highs.”

An extensive marketing plan is scheduled for the opening of the water park and a “Stay & Play” style package will be developed with accommodation providers in the region to drive tourism and visitation.

Other major elements of this project include an AquaTower complete with tipping bucket, interactive water toys, an additional 3 kids sized water slides and an Interactive Water Jet Zone.

Work is expected to be completed by September 2015.

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