Chapter 6--Return of the Son from Beyond the Valley of Creepy Guy: Luna Park Melbourne
We made a wet exit from Surfers Paradise. (It was raining. Get your mind out of the gutter.) But the weather was good in Melbourne, if a bit chilly after dark, for our evening at Luna Park. This was Australia's first Luna Park, and it's been open since 1912. It's also home to what may be the oldest operating roller coaster in the world: the Scenic Railway. This is one of few remaining coasters that requires a brakeman, and this alone makes the park worth visiting.
Like its younger cousin in Sydney, Luna Park Melbourne still has that old-fashioned vibe, thanks to its Moorish architecture and old carousel (a beautifully maintained Philadelpha Toboggan Company model from 1913). They pack quite a few flats into a small place, too, along with an old-school Ghost Train, which has a bit of a "cult following," according to the park. (Director Tim Burton rode this Ghost Train a few years back and said it was very "Ed Wood.")
There's a funky restaurant and shopping district just a block away from the park, as well.
Here's a look--but first, it's time for one of those TPR classic "bonus credits"!
Surfers Paradise bid us a wet, sloppy goodbye.
Yay! Time for credit whoring--Aussie style!
Hmm--Aussie-style credit whoring looks a lot like American- or European-style credit whoring.
Wacky Worm status confimred. Engage "whoring sequence."
Whoring sequence engaged.
Here we see the credit whores in their native habitat, performing an arcane ritual that only they understand.
"Hey, I can ride a Wacky Worm and eat Fairy Floss at the same time! Australia is a magic place!"
"I'm so dirty! Oh so dirty!"
Wacky Worm credit, free Fairy Floss, and cake! What more could one want?
Hmm--looks like there's a bit of a wait for the big wheel.
"I am the son of Creepy Guy! Come and taste my vengeance! Well, that is, if I have to be vengeful about something. I actually feel pretty good today."
But first, dinner at Grill'd. This joint was next door. I snagged one of those pecan tarts later that evening--good stuff!
Sheesh! Grill'd has a lot of rules.
This is sort of "Five Guys Meets Subway." I had the "Kung Fu Fighter" burger, with slivered carrots and satay sauce. Pretty good--excellent fries, too. Aussies also like sliced beets on their burgers.
Well, so much for my plans to go out on a drunken rampage that night.
"YOUR SOULS ARE MINE!"
This cool old theatre across the street was built by the same poeple who developed the park.
Aw, nuts! We're gonna miss Uriah Heep by one day!
I'm having Sydney flashbacks! Get out of my head!
Perfect for those who function uniquely.
They park gave us a tour and some ERT before they opened to the public.
This has the potential to be disturbing.
Time for a little look at the Scenic Railway--behind the scenes.
It's a little known fact, but Peeps are essential to the proper operations of a Scenic Railway. This gooey, yellow snack treat has just the right consistency for properly greasing the cable. This is why the Scenic Railway can only run during Eastertime, when it's easy to obtain yellow Peeps. (OK, anyone who believes that, raise your hands. I now have some swampland in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.)
Big wheel. Make coaster go up.
Without this cage, the big wheel would attack and eat you!
Here's one for all you maintenance bay fans.
Behold the Dragon car! He does Creepy Guy's bidding!
OK, time to walk the track like a bunch of hobos.
The brakeman is in position--time for ERT and filming.
But first, please note the rules. So much for my plans to talk to the brakeman while smoking a cigar.
Off they go!
Ding! Just wait right there, pal!
Car go up, so big wheel turn! All is well!
I like the Moorish architecture--an unusual choice for a coaster.
OK, it can get pretty bumpy here--especially in the second car. I rode it again that night, and had back spasms for about 15 minutes afterward!
The bunny hills are fun.
Almost there . . . you can do it . . .
Success! They made it around the bend!
Australian Muslins can bow toward this station to pray. Well, that is, if Mecca is in this general direction. More to come.
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