Luna Park – Australia’s Oldest Amusement Park

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Family Travel Blog - Travellng with Kids

I’ve lived in Melbourne most of my life and I remember visiting Luna Park as a child. Luna Park is a favourite of a lot of Melbournians with it’s distinctive ‘Mr Moon face’ entrance in one of the most prominent locations, beach front at our famous inner city suburb St Kilda.

St Kilda has a dubious history, not so long ago it was famous for drugs and ladies of the night, these things can still be found in St Kilda, along with a freak or two but it has very much cleaned up it’s act and now it is also known for great food and expensive property. It’s close proximity to the CBD and location right on the bay makes it a very sought after area regardless of a few small issues.

Pin post Luna Park

Getting there

It’s very easy to get to Luna Park by public transport. The closest train station is Balaclava on the Sandringham line and there is also a tram stop directly outside the complex. Tram routes 16 and 96 stop here, both originating in the CBD , one from Flinders Street Station and the other from Southern Cross Station.

There’s street parking available along Cavell St and across the road just down from the Palais Theatre on Jacka Boulevard, these are $5.10 per hour or $12.30 for the day. There is also metered Council parking behind the park in Shakespeare Grove, this costs $12.30 a day also.  My advice is to get there early if you are considering getting a street park as it’s a pretty busy area, especially on a Sunday  morning when the St Kilda market is on until lunch time.

Luna Park entrance

Luna Park entrance with part of the scenic railway

The History of Luna Park

Luna Park has been a constant feature of the St Kilda foreshore since 1912 when a couple of Americans from Coney Island came over to design the amusement park. The scenic railway is the original roller coaster that has been attracting visitors for 105 years! The park was upgraded in the 1950’s but as you can see from the photos below, that much of it is still the same as when it was built. Thanks to the Luna Park team for providing these fabulous photos for me.

Historic Luna Park

Photo dated October 1912, this is the entrance under construction.

Historic St kilda

Believed to have been taken in the 1920’s. the Palais Theatre is also still standing

Unfortunately the scenic railway was closed for maintenance on our visit but we were told we could return when it’s back in operation, likely at the end of August or start of September. This happens each winter to ensure that the ride is at its optimal best all year round. Winter is their quietest time of year so it makes sense to do the maintenance work then.

Historic Luna Park

This is the St Kilda foreshore, date unknown, that’s the scenic railway in the background

 Luna Park Melbourne

A picture capturing the original inside of Luna Park, Melbourne, looks to have been captured in 1918.

Luna Park now!

There are 18 rides at Luna Park with varying degrees of braveness required! There’s something for all age groups from the little ones through to the teenagers (and husband’s of course! Insert eye rolling emoji here).

Little kids will love Binky the Train that will take them for a ride around the park, the Silly Serpent roller coaster which is enough for them to get  a taste of what’s to come when they are older. They would also be able to ride the Street Legal Dodgems with their parents unless they are over 110cms. The Arabian Merry Go Round and the Coney Island Top Drop is also perfect for the little ones. This of course didn’t stop my girls aged 10 and 12 years having a ride on the little kids rides!

Luna Park Melbourne

Nothing like a Binky Train ride!

Luna Park, Melbourne

Who doesn’t love a roller coaster! That’s the century old scenic roller coaster track in the background.

Luna Park Melbourne

The Arabian merry go round, suitable for all ages.

For the older kids there is also enough to keep them squealing with delight! The first ride upon entry is the Twin Dragon which is similar to the Private Ship from the Royal Melbourne Show days! Now we are moving on to the rides that spin and twirl upside down, my kids have inherited their father’s genes so are able to have a go at rides like this.

Luna park Melbourne

The Twin Dragon still gets the kids screaming!

Luna Park Melbourne

The Spider spins and goes in circles!

The Circus of Screams and the Ghost Train is recommended for kids over 13 years and the kids loved it, although they were a little pale when they came out! Nothing like a good scare to get the blood pumping! I was really surprised when they decided to ride the Power Surge, the Enterprise and Pharaoh’s Curse one after the other as these were serious heavy duty spinning upside down rides, the type that makes me throw up just watching them! Craig normally loves this kind of ride too but he even come out looking a bit green at one stage!!

Luna Park Melbourne

The kids come out a little pale from this ride!

Luna Park Melbourne

Keira & Marley from Wyld Family Travel after the Ghost Train

Luna Park Melbourne

Yep they’re upside down! You would have a great view of the beach from up there.

Luna Park runs activities over the school holidays for the kids and as we visited in the July school holidays they were celebrating Christmas in July with great activities for the little kids. They even had a snow machine which was very exciting. There was also the Luna rink to really get into the wintery theme! They were running time slots on the rink so that it didn’t get too crowded for the little ones which was great.

Luna Park Melbourne

Christmas in July, who doesn’t love a bit of festivity!

Luna park Melbourne

The ice rink!

The park still has the carnival games, the obligatory clowns were you drop the ball in the mouths and win a stuffed toy. Amazing how kids just love that stuff! Luna Park has a cafe just inside the entry with good coffee (so Craig said) and a food van up the other end of the park consisting mainly of fried food and cold drinks.

Luna park Melbourne

These never get old! A real crowd pleaser!

Cost

Entry to the park is free, you pay separate for the rides and there are a few options. You can purchase unlimited rides for the whole day or you can buy tickets per ride if you aren’t planning on staying long. You can even buy unlimited rides for the kids and the adults don’t have to ride as at all.

Click here for up to date pricing options.

Things to do around Luna Park

As I said the St Kilda area is a happening place to be. Acland St on the door step is famous for it’s cake shops so if you are feeling peckish head down there for a sweet treat. There is a McDonalds located right across the road and if it’s a nice day you can head across to the beach to check out the St Kilda foreshore and watch the sun set over the bay.

Sunset, St Kilda

Can it get any prettier? I don’t think so!

The St Kilda Salt Baths have a variety of different restaurants and just up the road or a short tram ride is Fitzroy St which also has a variety of restaurants to suit all budgets. We visited Radio Mexican after our visit and I can highly recommend the food there.

Verdict

We had a great day at Luna Park (click the link to read the history of Luna Park), it was exactly how I remembered it from when I was a little kid. It was lovely to take my kids there and see then enjoy it just as much as I did. It’s funny how you remember things as I thought Luna Park was enormous but the reality is that it is quite a small amusement park. I think allowing a few hours or a maximum of half a day to complete your visit and go on every ride.

Luna Park Melbourne

These trams would have been in service then Luna Park was first built, the Y class tram!

We have a Japanese student coming to stay with us soon and I’m hoping to fit in a visit with her. It’s iconically Melbourne and a landmark that has stood the test of time, having been there for 105 years, I hope it’s there for the next 105 years. If you are looking for other things to do in Melbourne, here’s my Top 7 Free Things to Do in Melbourne.

Luna Park Melbourne

Nothing beats the iconic landmark all lit up at night!

Have you been to Luna Park in Melbourne or Sydney? What did you think?

Happy travels,

Sal & Co.

Disclaimer: We were guests of Luna Park but as always our opinion is our own.

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