Gumbuya World is located about an hour from Melbourne’s CBD, consisting of four totally different themed areas there’s something at Gumbuya World to suit every age group including the big kids…. husband’s that is.
Gumbuya World, originally Gumbuya Park, started as a pheasant farm then wildlife park in 1978. The wildlife park focussed mostly on native Australian animals. Anyone from Victoria who has been out that way will remember the giant pheasant that used to greet you at the Gumbuya Park entrance.
The park was bought by a couple of iconic Victorian businessmen in 2016, with master plans to create the ‘Disneyland of Victoria’, Gumbuya Park closed for 6 months and undertook a massive $50 million redevelopment.
Reopening in December 2017 the new Gumbuya World had changed significantly with four distinct worlds, Oasis Springs water park, Oz Adventure amusement park, Outback Explorers an amusement park for the little ones and Aussie Wildlife Park with new and improved enclosures for all the native wildlife and the inclusion of Wildlife Encounters for a small extra fee.
These animal encounters are particularly popular with international tourists who love to get up close and personal with our iconic Aussie creatures including koalas, wombats, pythons and dingoes. You can also have an animal encounter with a majestic macaw, a large South American parrot.
I was going to leave this until last but to be honest when it comes to big ticket items, Oasis Springs has got it all! Its the first thing the kids see from the car park and to say they were itching to get in there was an understatement!
Oasis Springs is the best water park east of Melbourne, when we were there only the Boomarango and the Taipan waterslides where open and it was the first hot day of the season in Melbourne so the park was extremely busy and the queues for the slides were huge.
These giant slides are focused at older kids and teenagers with dual riding tubes and near vertical drops every thrill seeking teenagers dream and the big kids of course… the dads! The younger kids were able to ride on these slides so long as they were accompanied by an adult and were over 1.2 metres tall.
The good news is there is plenty of other great water activities to keep the kids entertained. Typhoon Park in an aquatic jungle playground with a giant bucket that tips over and drenches anyone on the jungle playground! Kids go mad and just love it. Good thing is the playground is perfect for all ages.
Also prefect for all ages is the lazy river, at 300 metres long you take a leisurely float around Oasis Springs finishing at the rock pools. Floating rings are supplied and the water is a safe level for most age groups. I would however keep a close eye on any younger kids in the lazy river as the older ones can get a bit rough. There are a good amount of life guards monitoring all water activities so I was pleased to see that.
The rock pools are heated and shallow, a safe place for little kids to splash and play. The gardens surrounding the pools are beautifully kept and manicured, just like an island paradise with palm trees swinging in the breeze!
There are a number of sun lounges scattered around the pools however if you do want to secure some shade for a hot day you can pre-book one of the many cabanas. These are an extra charge but would definitely be worth it on a very hot day. The cabanas seat 6 people around a comfortable lounge with table for drinks and lunch snacks or bring your own picnic, perfect for a full day of water park fun.
Feel like a surf but can’t be bothered driving to the beach? Gumbuya World has you covered at Surf’s Up! Not only will you get the perfect wave served up every time but you’ll master the fast flow rider skills in no time. Kids love it , make sure you pre-book.
oasis springs - stage 2
We noticed on our visit that there was a bit of work still going on at the waterpark and there was a number of slide parts in one of the car parks.
Well stage 2 is now finished and opened this weekend, 9th November 2019. The Red Belly Racer will be popular this summer with four slides to race against your friends. The Tiger Snake Tango will offer up another 2 twisting and turning waterslides making that 4 slides which will make waiting your turn a lot quicker during busy periods like weekends and school holidays.
Another new addition is The Break, a family inclusive wave pool! Guaranteed to be a big hit this summer when the 40 degree days set in! With shaded areas and sun lounges surrounding the wave pool, I could happily park myself there on a hot day and let the kids go crazy!
Need a break from the crazy water park! Well that’s the best thing about Gumbuya World when you’ve had enough you can just head over to one of the other parts of the park! Oz Adventures is definitely aimed at teens and above, as the rides are a little more intense.
My kids headed straight to the Mining Race Coaster, the parks only roller coaster. This ride is definitely suitable for younger kids as well. Its not a huge roller coaster but enough for the kids to enjoy.
Then they headed over to the Rebel ride, by far the scariest ride in the park. There was lots of watching and talking and then the usual questions such as ‘but you wouldn’t let us go on that one would you mum’. This is the usual comments when they want to do but they just aren’t brave enough and want me to give them the excuse to back out!
They were very relieved when they went up only to find out Keira was too short for the minimum height allowance. Strangely they all decided they wouldn’t go on and leave Keira behind. Trust me, that’s code for I didn’t want to do it anyway! Kids are funny!
The tree swing is the next big ride in the amusement park. The swing spins at 60km per hour and slowly rises to a decent height above the ground. Legend has it that you can almost see Melbourne when in full swing at its maximum height!
This area of the park is definitely focused for the little kiddies. That’s not to say that mine didn’t give it a good work out!
Desert Derby dodgem cars are fun for everyone! Kids over 1.3m can drive unaccompanied and kids over 1m can go as passenger with an adult driver. The dodgem cars were a flash back to Melbourne Show when I was a kid, it was just like I remembered.
The other fair rides are really for little kids, Outback Pirate is a miniature pirate ship type swing. The Berry Twirl is an Aussie take on the Tea Cups ride. Every little boy will love their chance to get behind their very own big-rig in Gerry’s Roadhouse ride.
Ray’s Express train ride will give you a tour of the park while you relax in your carriage. Perfect for tired little legs to recoup before hitting the kids playground for a little more fun. I love that the playground is covered by shade sails, to keep the sun off the little ones.
Right near the kids playground is the Gumbuya Cafe, grab yourself a coffee and relax while the kids are having a ball. Or when the kids are all exhausted they might grab an ice cream before heading home.
AUSSIE WILDLIFE TRAIL
Having undertaken a significant refurb, the wildlife trail is fresh, new and the enclosures are huge and purpose built.
You can explore the Critter Cave which is never my favourite place as reptiles make me squirm. The day we were there the reptiles were very active, adding to my insecurities about them. I think I’m the only mum who hides behind their kids and is very jumpy until we leave!
I do love the aviary though, Australia has some of the most amazing parrots. There are cockatoos, corrella parrots, rainbow lorikeets, cockatiels, budgies and rosellas. They also have a few macaws, giant majestic parrots from South American Amazon region. These are also my favourite birds so I was pretty happy to see them.
At the entrance you’ll first come across a kids petting zoo containing farm animals such as chickens, goats, lambs and a calf. My kids used to love a petting zoo when they were younger and they weren’t about to give this a miss. Although the novelty wears off pretty quickly these days. Who doesn’t love a cuddle with a baby lamb! If you arrive at the right time, you might get the opportunity to help feed the babies.
The wallaby enclosure is interactive with the wallabies free to approach you, there were a number of rare albino wallabyies that would not survive out in the wild and the wildlife park provides them with a save place away from predators. They are very tame and you are able to purchase some food to feed them from the office.
The Dingo, Wallaby, Tasmanian Devil and Emu enclosures were also purpose built and huge allowing plenty of room for them to explore and hide away in the shade during the heat of the day. It was lovely to see a wildlife with an abundance of room and best of all behind the enclosures is all natural habitat, no urban sprawl creeping up on there, loads of room for expansion later on.
Cost of visiting Gumbuya world
Gumbuya World is effectively 4 attractions in one big park at the price of one! There is no other park in Victoria that is offering the same experience for a similar cost. You could easily spend all day at Gumbuya World and the kids still wouldn’t want to go home.
There are annual park passes for people that live locally or for anyone really. It’s a great gift idea for Christmas for the kids or for the person who’s hard to buy for but loves a good day out.
What did the kids think of Gumbuya World?
We all know my opinion doesn’t really matter much, its all about the kids and what did the kids think? Gumbuya World got the big thumbs up!
We were there on the first really warm day of the summer and it was during the school holidays so the crowd was really huge. The kids wanted to check it all out however the Oasis Springs was were it was at. They loved it, just a shame it was so busy but hey that’s the luck of the draw. It would be so much better now with all the new slides open and the wave pool.
We will definitely go back during the summer, its a great way to spend the day, just get there early and reserve you sun lounge and if you can I do recommend getting a cabana for shade during the hot summer days. My kids are old enough that now that I can take a book, settle in and let them run free to their hearts content. They’ll be back when they’re hungry!
Have you been to Gumbuya World recently?
Sal, Craig & Our3kids.