Big Splash Waterpark is located in Macquarie, just 15 minutes north west of Canberra's CBD. It is Canberra's only large waterpark and it is open in the Summer months between November and March. The highlight for kids and adults are the high speed waterslides - two of which were purchased from "Wet'n'Wild" on the Gold Coast and now attract thousands of locals and visitors every day.
Our family have been tempted to visit Big Splash Waterpark on hot days in the past, however the thought of school holiday crowds has kept us away. This year, after three 35 degree days in a row, we lathered ourselves up in suncream and we were out the door. When we arrived at 10am opening time, we were happy to see the pool area was quite spacious with large shady areas and it wasn't as busy as we expected. We easily found a shady patch of grass and had a quiet splash in the toddler pool with our five year old daughter, before the waterslides opened at 11am. On the dot of 11am however, as if the kids of Canberra were united as one, the serene and quiet waterpark was pierced by the sounds of excited squeals, as the crowds started to roll in...
There are three main waterslides at Big Splash Waterpark and it costs adults and children (over 110 cm tall) $27 a day to ride them, as many times as they can fit in between 11am and 5pm. The family slides (above) have a constant stream of people splashing into the pool, however it is the two speed coasters, Speed Coaster and Twister, which attract the most people in line. Speed Coaster is a two-person tube ride, with two tubes stuck together and one person sitting at the front and one at the back, as they slide down at great speed. At the end of the hair-raising ride, the slide slopes upwards to slow them down and then slides back down to the bottom to get off.
The minimum height requirement of this slide is just over the height of our five year old daughter - who was keen to watch, but not to slide. Other kids her age and slightly taller were excitedly lining up with a parent waiting for their turn, so I can see that I will have to bring my courage next year and be one of those Mums, silently freaking out in line.
The other popular waterslide at Big Splash Waterpark is the Twister, where kids and adults race each other inside the twisting dual waterslides to see who gets to the bottom first. The slide comes to an abrupt stop as sliders come out into the daylight. On our visit there were a few wardrobe malfunctions at the end as people stood up, so you may want to wear your most tightest swimming costume if riding on this one!
Smaller kids also don't miss out on the fun with an area called Splash Island, which opens at 11am with the larger waterslides. This area is for children under 110cm and costs $12 for kids to play in as much as they like between 11am and 5pm. This area has a small slide into water, circles of water jets to walk through, buckets of water filling up and splashing down and two small waterslides. To get to the top of the waterslides, kids enter through a little cave called the Croc Den and behind a waterfall, before walking up several stairs to the top. We discovered, along with other rookie Big Splash Waterpark parents at the bottom of the slide, that the water is surprisingly deep for a toddler slide as they come off. If you ride in tandem with your child, then you will both go completely under the water at the end - as we learnt the hard way!
A lot of fun, packed into a small area at Splash Island
Nearby is also a popular toddler pool with colourful animals, small slide, waterfall umbrellas and much warmer water. The slide, in particular, was the main attraction for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers alike, as they slid down into shallow water with a squeal, mimicking the more serious squeals from the waterslides behind. As if all this isn't enough, there is also a shallow pool for young kids to swim in, as well as a 50 metre lap pool. On certain days, Big Splash Waterpark also inflate an obstacle course in this pool for some extra holiday fun for the kids. There are also shady areas to sit around this pool and relax on the deck chairs provided.
Top to Bottom: Toddler pool, shallow pool and relaxing by the lap pool
Our family left after a few hours exhausted, but with a sense of exhilaration at trying out this Canberra icon - and loving it. Many locals often compare its pros and cons in relation to other waterparks across the border (Jamberoo and Sydney Wet'n'Wild), however if you arrive with an open mind, then it is the best place in Canberra to spend your Summer. Others may be bigger, but why travel so far when all this is right here, just minutes from home? We will now be looking forward to our next visit to Big Splash Waterpark in a years time - which gives me 12 months to summon up my courage to go on the larger slides. As our daughter gets one year older and centimetres taller, the slides she will want to go on will upgrade from...
Cost:See website. Unlimited rides for anyone over 110cm = $27. Afternoon rate (between 3pm - 5pm) = $24. Children under 110cm for Splash Park = $12. Adults (entry only) = $8. During the weekday, during school terms, there is also a swim only rate for kids