Adventure Park Geelong is Victoria's biggest theme park, combining an awesome water park and ‘dry rides' in one huge site in Wallington. It's an easy day trip from Melbourne and only 15 minutes from Geelong.
For a whole day of fun, it's reasonably priced too – $52.50 for those whose height is 120cm and over, and $42.50 for those who are 90cm-120cm (compare it to some of the Gold Coast theme parks at around $90 per ticket).
For many Melbourne and Geelong families, an unlimited season pass is the way to go – go 2 or 3 times and you make your money back!
We are invited to visit Adventure Park and have a fantastic time. I particularly like the combination of water play with mini-golf and other carnival rides and different rides catering to different age groups. Adventure Park is a whole-day affair and because it’s all about being out in the sun, in the water and being active it can be quite exhausting.
So here are my Top 8 tips for making the most of your visit to Adventure Park.
1. Buy your ticket online
Buying tickets online saves time on entry, and if you get the Small Ideas membership voucher, you can save money too.
You might also be able to score discount tickets via RACV (or equivalent) membership, discount coupon sites like Scoopon or Groupon occasionally.
2. How to get to Adventure Park
There is no public transport to Adventure Park Geelong and parking is free first come first serve, unless you have a VIP pass. If you arrive early there's no need to pay extra for a VIP pass in my view.
You can catch a train to Geelong and then a taxi/uber to Adventure Park or there is a coach/bus hire service. See transport options here.
3. Things to bring
Bring or wear your bathers, thongs/flip flops for the hot ground, a swim hat with a brim for water playgrounds and other places that aren’t rides, a towel and LOTS of sunscreen.
You cannot wear goggles on the slides.
It’s a good idea to bring a book or magazine so that you can take a break from the activity.
4. Get there early
Adventure Park opens at 10 am and unless you've booked a sunbed or private cabana it’s important to get there early because you need to set up a home base in the shade for all your towels and gear.
There are a number of shaded locations with picnic benches and tables as well as plastic lounge chairs dotted around. If you're with kids I think the best location is facing the water playground – it's where all the family cabanas are and in a central location.
We are provided with a sunbed ($49) which is a shaded pair of wooden lounge chairs overlooking the pool and tornado ride. While the sunbeds are comfy and the view is great, the location is a bit removed from the main action (plus up the slope on the pebbly ground) so I don't think it's the best set-up for families.
Arriving early also means avoiding some of the long queues, particularly for the Tornado ride. On a school holiday weekend, it is a 45-minute wait by lunchtime.
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5. Get a locker or book a cabana
I think it’s best to have a 1:1 adult to child ratio so that you can split up on the rides. We have two extra adults so someone is available to ‘guard’ the home base while the others play.
If you don’t have an extra adult you can still ‘claim’ a spot by draping your towels and other non-valuable gear over a table and then securing your valuables in a locker ($12).
Even better is a private cabana ($109 – $159) – you can spread your gear out and use it as a place to eat and rest. If you do book a cabana make sure you do it as far in advance as possible – we try to book two days before and they are sold out.
Setting up a home base means that there is a spot for everyone to return to (a) for lunch/snacks (b) to have a sit-down rest (c) if kids get lost. The downtime in the shade is important to keep everyone’s energy and mood on an even keel.
6. BYO food and a full refillable water bottle
Adventure Park allows you to bring your own food and drinks – just no glass or alcohol. As barbecue facilities are not available and are not permitted to be brought into the park, I recommend bringing picnic-style food instead so you can set it up anywhere. If you're low on time, you can also purchase a delicious picnic box or picnic hamper that you can have delivered to your home or picked up on the way there.
Bringing your own food means that you can save money, avoid queues and provide healthy, nutritious fare. I bring a hot roast chicken, whole-grain bread rolls and salad ingredients so everyone can make their own chicken and salad rolls. For snacks, we have fruit, crackers, and cheese.
Make sure you bring LOTS of food, everyone will be active and hungry.
The only food we buy is the ice cream (as a lure to leave).
Also, bring refillable water bottles already filled with cold water. While there are water taps they are sparse and hard to find and whenever we ask the staff they don't seem to know where they are.
7. Slide first, play later
As you'd expect weekends, public holidays and school holidays are the most popular times at Adventure Park. In peak times some of the more popular rides can take up to 45 minutes in line.
As such, I recommend going on the slides first when the queues are shorter earlier in the day, then playing in the areas that do not have queues such as the splash pads, water playgrounds and mini-golf. There's even archery!
This year, Adventure Park is releasing two new rides! First is the classic family Tea Cups ride that is super popular around the world, and second is the Air Balloons ride which sees riders soar 18m into the sky for an epic view of the park before floating back down to earth!
The Wild West Canyon and Gold Rush Rapids have shorter lines because they're towards the front of the park, where the dry rides are ie separated from the rest of the water slides.
Note that the water is not heated!
8. Where to go with under younger kids
At Adventure Park there are lots of things to do with under 5s and younger kids!
In the water play area, there are three splash pad areas dotted around the park, as well as the Tiny Tots splash zone, the main water playground Bonito's Bay, Lazy River floating tubes and the pool next to the Tornado. Aqua Racer water slides are suitable for kids 110cm+.
In the dry play area, there are two 18 hole mini golf courses, the mini race cars on Little Buggy Speedway, Red Baron plane rides, Crazy Coaster, carousel, and the Ferris wheel.
If you're at Adventure Park with older kids then they will love the supersonic water slides such as Victoria's biggest and longest waterslide, the Tsunami! The monster slide is 7.5 storeys high and 172 metres in length, with four guests per raft taken up the slide through three mega funnels. The other big slide is the Tornado, which plunges you down a massive 7.5 storeys after you take a raft through 360-degree twists and turns.
Click here for my review of other major theme parks around the world – Luna Park Melbourne, Legoland Melbourne, Universal Studios Hollywood, Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park Hong Kong, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disneysea.
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