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Published January 21st 2020
Weekends are for waterslides
There's no better place in Melbourne on a sunny summer day than Funfields theme park in Whittlesea in Melbourne's north. It's 40 kilometres from the CBD and an easy drive from anywhere in the northern suburbs.
Try 'The Drop' on the Gravity Wave
High pitched squeals ring out over the park as the Voodoo ride swings high in the air. I sit on Volcano Beach on Day Bed #3, the wave pool intermittently doing its thing as families splash and jump like it's the best place on earth. This place is Melbourne's Disneyland.
We visit on a Saturday, the first one after the fires. The place has been quiet, says Liz Verga, owner/manager of the park. But today, the smoke has cleared, the sun is out, skies are blue and it's 28 degrees- the perfect conditions for a day of water slides and rides.
Set up your picnic spot under a tree on the main lawn to give the kids a base to return to when they tire of sprinting between the rides. You can bring your own snacks and drinks or take advantage of the extensive food options that Funfields offers, at a pretty reasonable price. There's an ice cream shop, a cafe selling burgers, chips, and hot food and near the wave pool, you'll find coffee, slushies, healthy wraps and salads, pizzas, and bags of chips.
The delightful daybeds- worth every dollar!
An extra $179 gets you a VIP guest hut, which offers total shade all day as well as lounges, side tables and a drinks fridge. I'm happy on my $90 day bed, a little respite from the crowds of the park. Upbeat music is piped throughout the park, adding to the fun vibe and I can almost imagine
The Voodoo is a thrilling ride. It's the only ride that goes upside down in the park and the kids are all busting to get on it. Afterwards, they were a little green around the gills and need a relaxing bob in the wave pool. Jumping waves is fun, but bodysurfing is better. The kids practice their skills for hours, weaving in and out of the crowd. The waves are on a ten minute rotation so that everyone has a chance to enjoy the pool.
The wave pool is awesome
The Gravity Wave is the best waterslide. I must admit that when I got to the top of the staircase I was nervous and had second thoughts. When the ride started I was lulled into a false sense of security for a moment until I rememberedů. The Drop! My limbs were shaking but once you're on, there's only one way off the ride and that's out of the pool at the bottom. I closed my eyes and in seconds I was through it. Adrenaline pumped through my veins. Kids everywhere were squealing and I was joining in. Of course, my crew were begging to go again so I let them line up for a second turn while I retired to my daybed in the quiet VIP area.
In the VIP area, BYO food and drinks are not permitted. I order margarita pizzas and ice cold slushies in various flavours for the kids, but choose a healthy falafel wrap with salad for myself.
The rest of the day after lunch is spent on repeat for the kids. They try the old fashioned toboggans that have been an essential part of the park since I was a child in the 1980s. They line up for the go-karts and they generally zoom between rides and the wave pool.
Mini golf course at Funfields
As we head for the exit, we stop in for the quintessential theme park experience - ice cream. The shop is filled with every other family with the same idea but the long wait is worth it. We pile into the car, sun drenched, happy and tired. This, my friends, is how the school holidays should be.
Sidenote: There are no mirrors in change rooms and this is by far my favourite discovery of the day. This place is about FUN, not fashion.
Large lockers $15
Medium lockers $12 credit card or cash machine makes paying easy.