Incredible new rides planned for Coast theme parks
THE Gold Coast's newest roller coaster will open in time for the winter school holidays in 2021.
Sea World's $20 million Leviathan will be the first new wooden rollercoaster built in Australia since the 1980s and has already made its presence felt in the city's skyline.
The first major peak of the attraction can already been seen soaring above the theme park, with construction only just passing the 25 per cent mark.
Village Roadshow theme parks chief operating officer Bikash Randhawa said the new ride would be a "game changer" for the city.
"We did our research and spoke to a lot of people and what we found was that every park which had a wooden roller coaster saw their attendance go up and this it is great point of difference for us because nobody has done a ride like this in decades," he said.
"It is an impressive structure and we believe it will feature in almost every future marketing campaign for the city, because it will be the first wooden coaster in the world to also have backwards-facing seats.
"A lot of engineering has gone into this and let me say, you don't buy a $20 million ride just because you like it, it has to hit the mark (for bringing in new patrons)".
The Leviathan is the centrepiece of Sea World's $50 million, 1.5ha New Atlantis precinct which is expected to be completed in mid-late 2021.
It will stand at 32m tall and its carriages will hit speeds of up to 80 km/h along its 1km track.
Village Roadshow had initially planned to open it for Christmas 2020 but construction was delayed because of the COVID-19 shutdown of theme parks.
A "supercharged" Village Roadshow will open three new rides at Sea World in the next year and says it is already planning a raft of new attractions at other parks in an ambitious bid to revitalise the city's tourism stocks.
Ardent Leisure is pushing ahead with its own revitalisation of Dreamworld, with work beginning on its new $32 million flagship ride, the park's biggest-ever.
Tourism bosses argue that new attractions and products are needed to entice visitors to holiday on the Gold Coast and stay longer.
Village Roadshow theme parks chief operating officer Bikash Randhawa said the new rides would help build anticipation for tourists to take another Gold Coast holiday.
"COVID has been a significant dampener for everything and tourism suffered the most but now we are committed to playing our part and leading the recovery effort," he said.
"This is going to be one of our biggest summer line-ups ever with Christmas coming up but the key to the long-term recovery will be our $50 million investment in Atlantis and beyond.
"We also have plans for attractions at Wet'n'Wild and we are looking at things at Movie World too.
"We have come so far and the Gold Coast is better placed than many other places to drive forward with this recovery."
The first new ride to launch will be the Vortex in December at Sea World's new Atlantis precinct.
The Leviathan rollercoaster will be ready by mid-2021, followed months later by the Trident.
The Trident, first announced in mid-2019, will soar 52 metres off the ground, spinning guests at 38km/h.
Its visual design will reflect its name, resembling a three-pronged spear.
Dreamworld's new rollercoaster, which will feature the world's first separate "spinning gondola", begins construction this week and is on track to open for Christmas 2021.
Dreamworld chief executive John Osborne said it was "full steam ahead" for the project and anticipated it would draw in new visitors.
The Gold Coast's theme parks were forced to close in mid-March as a result of the mass shutdown of businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It took more than six months for all to re-open but visitor numbers remain below that of pre-COVID times because of a lack of international tourists.
The tourism industry itself, the city's biggest sector, was worth more than $6 billion prior to the pandemic, and is expected to have lost more than $4 billion this year alone.
Visitor numbers are not expected to bounce back in a significant way until international borders reopen, something not tipped to occur until late 2021 at the earliest.
In late October, park operators made a last-ditch effort to unseat the State Government by imploring voters to back the Opposition over the Palaszczuk Government's ongoing closed borders.
With Labor re-elected for a new four-year term, Mr Randhawa said the dispute was in the past and the focus was on delivering infrastructure and bringing tourists back.
He said it was critical for the Gold Coast to have an edge over other locations once significant travel was able to resume.
"This year has been really challenging and we have worked really hard to get construction of the Atlantis precinct back on track," he said.
"Having new attractions will supercharge our attendance but tourism and hospitality is a race and it is critical we maintain our very high standards.
"We feel chuffed and proud in many ways to play such a significant role in rebranding tourism on the Gold Coast and we hope everyone will enjoy this investment for years to come."
Originally published as Incredible new rides planned for Coast theme parks