Perth. It really is a brilliant place. For one thing, the weather over there is just brilliant compared to the humid, sweatbox I call home (cheers, Brisbane.) As for everything else, it’s got the beaches, babes, beers, neat things to do (Perth’s Bell Tower & Hay Street come to mind). Almost everything you could ever want. Almost.
You see, us on the east coast, particularly up in South-East Queensland, have been rather spoilt rotten. Despite our relatively diluted local population, we’ve had an ever-growing lineup of both one-hit wonders and world-class thrill rides that’d knock your socks and slacks off. In fact, it’s one of the big things us cityslicking, high-rolling west-coast urbanites have been able to throw in Perth’s face for nearly 30 years, until now.
Introducing Abyss. Post financial doom and gloom, Adventure World has been spending big on some really neats additions to Perth’s only true theme park. For the two years prior, they’ve been putting some money into getting families back into the park. The little kids have seen new WhiteWater West water playzones, waterslides and even an updated kids area (with some really great theming and landscaping, too.) This year however has marked a big shake-up not just for the park but the national industry at large. Here, a relatively minor player has drawn their line in the sand and have said “here you go Gold Coast boys, beat this.”
Fortunately, Abyss has lived up to the hype and will likely to go on to smash all previous records for the park this holidays. Made by Gerstlauer, Abyss is a gigantic, Eurofighter-type rollercoaster that’s an elongated version of Thorpe Park’s Saw Coaster. For what it’s worth, the touches the park have added to this ride really compliment the coaster’s crazy 90 second experience. And what an experience. Shout-out to Dreamworld, this is what Buzzsaw should’ve been. Instead of letting your Eureka Mine Ride left to rot and build a gigantic yet underwhelming loop in your carpark, you should’ve built this. Not only were you guys beat by the players across the road with Green Lantern, but now Adventure World, those out-of-town guys who weren’t even a real threat, has really rubbed it in. If this wasn’t a wake-up call to that park, I don’t know what it is.
Ahem, but I digress. Abyss is actually crazy good. Fantastic, even.
Seriously, bang for buck wise, you literally couldn’t have spent a better twelve million big ones. The worst part about this ride is that it’s a five hour flight from home. It’s really that neat. While it might not stack up against the hordes of massive American Bolliger & Mabillard coasters out there, it still offers world-class G-force, brief intense pops of airtime and all the wow-factor that sells a ride like this to a new generation of park-goers. A beyond vertical drop. Barrel rolls in near pitch darkness. Inversions that take you by surprise. It’s all there.
As for atmosphere, the park has done it right. Sure, the queue line is certainly a little sparse (something the park is aware of and plans to continue to build on in the future, much to my surprise and delight) but for the budget they’ve had, they’ve focussed on the right things. Rather then wasting money and time on things that’ll probably break in a week when the shine wears off (something our Gold Coast parks are notorious for) they’ve instead gone for the kinda touches that’ll count year in, year out. Think boomy voices welcoming you to “The Abyss” as you plummet into sheer darkness, or the way the eerie, faceless statues greet you around the ride (they’re bolted to the ground a certain way so that in the breeze, they rock back and forth. Yep, freaky yet awesome touch right?) And yes, there’s plenty of smoke effects when you leave the station’s barrel roll, not that you’ll notice it mind you, you’ve only got a few seconds to adjust to the outside world before you’re going up one side of the lift hill only to well and truly leave your seat on the other side.
I’m sure i’ll do some more writing on Adventure World itself soon, but in the meantime, if you have an excuse to get over to Perth, be it family, work, cheap tickets, or hey, let’s be straight to the point, if you just want to fly over there for Abyss, do it, and do it now, the park is only seasonal, afterall. Speaking of the park, make sure you bring your togs, the park is easily a full day event now thanks to their commitment to continually offer something new, be it a wet or dry attraction (in fact, you’ll find most park-goers in bikinis or bordies). From go-karts to a decent assortment of waterslides, Abyss and even a few great flats, it’s well worth the admission ticket, and it’s surprising they’re still so cheap compared to our local park’s tickets. For the price, you get the kind of park experience that our parks sorely lack – full of charm, genuine old school fun and new generation, action packed thrills.
Checkout the full Abyss & Adventure World photostream on Flickr.