The Martin Sharp designed, toothy gates of Luna Park are only the beginning of your Instagram-worthy day at Sydney's oldest amusement park. We've saved you heaps of time navigating the internet to give you the ultimate how-to guide for a trip to the historical fun land. Luna Park opened in 1935 and has been operating on and off since, now it's a beloved destination for locals and travellers alike. Grab a tickly fairy floss, buckle-in, and ride on through to Sydney's harbourfront fun park .
Getting There If you're driving there's on-site parking but, as with most of inner-Sydney, that can be quite expensive. Your best option is to get the train or bus to Circular Quay and scoot over the water on a ferry. It’s undoubtedly cheaper, and you also get that excitement-building view of the famous Luna Park grin as your boat pulls in.
Tickets Unlike most theme parks, entry to Luna park is totally free. If you just want to have a stickybeak and grab an ice cream, you totally can. But if you’re after some ride action you’re best bet is to buy unlimited ride passes online before you get to the park. Booking tickets online saves you a few bucks but do a bit of sniffing around the website before you choose which day and time. Proud owners of exxy unlimited passes often find that your ride options are, in fact, quite limited for children due to maintenance works or height and age restrictions. Your height will be checked when you go to collect your tickets too, so don’t try to Little Rascals your way into the big kids' lines.
Rides Luna Park is an old treasure, so it’s small in terms of ride selections but big on vintage charm. Before you set-off, a hot tip is to check out the online park map for any maintenance, because of the limited options you’ll want to make sure all the best thrills are in action. Each ride’s height limitations can also be researched online, so you can gauge how many will be suitable for you and your big or little entourage. The rambunctiousness of the rides has been a point of contention for surrounding residents, and in most recent news approvals for new attractions have been blocked due to noise concerns. Luna Park ploughs on though with a variety of temporary and permanent rides. Here are a few of the classic highlights that don’t seem to be going anywhere fast:
The Ferris Wheel is a huge drawcard, all heights and most ages can be spun (slowly) around at 40 metres above the harbour. Impressive day or night, the wheel has both classic charm and hi-tech light additions for the discerning aesthetes and Instagrammers out there.
Wild Mouse is the lil rollercoaster that could. You’re rattled around the harbour front and beyond in a miniature buggy that only seats four on a wild and winding wooden track. Wild Mouse is actually designed to make you feel like the cart will fall off, so if you like your rollercoasters with a side of tangible doom this is the rickety choice for you.
Coney Island is a highlight for many visitors to Luna Park. It’s a huge indoor wonderland of spinning and undulating weirdness and is presented in a beautifully preserved condition, retaining much of the same attractions as when the park first opened in the 1930s. You can also pay to enter Coney Island, which is seperate to the rest of the park, and spend as much time as you want on the wobbling Turkey Trot, steep slippery dips, or softly challenging Joy Wheel.
Mystery Manor is a haunted house but with the added element of live, gorified actors jumping out to scare you at regular intervals. Think walkable ghost train but with bleeding people chasing you. Understandably, you must be over 12 to enter the horrifying “fun”.
Games Sideshow alley has all the knock 'em down, shoot ‘em up action you could want from a truncated carnival games experience. The prizes are slicker than your average regional fair, with legit movie franchise plushies and covetable character toys. There are the classic open-mouthed clowns to force feed, as well as some grotesque ‘Crazy Crooners’ whose open gobs beckon you to try your luck. Smaller participants can have a go at the gentler fishing game or ‘Freckle’s Pull a String’ for guaranteed reward or tinder dates can crystallise their chemistry with a robust throwing game or the omnipresent striking-weight game.
Food and drink There’s quite a few dining options at Luna Park and most of them are exactly as you’d expect – hot dogs, burgers, fairy floss, and other deep fried delights. You can book in for a more upmarket experience at the Deck, a Mod-Oz restaurant with bang-on-the-water views of the bridge and Opera House. They also offer high tea and fine dining options on the Ferris wheel if you fancy a posh meal in an elevated cage. The park also has the Hungry Horse, a carousel themed diner that serves up sticky pork ribs, fried chicken, tacos and more classic Americana options. If you prefer your lunch on a stick, pluto pups can be procured from Helter Skelter, the resident retro kiosk. Or, just skip real meals altogether and get a cone laden with a spectrum of colourful scoops.
Also... It's worth planning your visit around certain seasons; there's a pop-up ice skating rink during the winter school holidays, for example. On Mondays and Sundays Luna Park often has special deals on offer. If you visit during Halloween or Vivid Sydney the park really goes all out with light projections. And, if you're travelling from afar or want to experience the view from home anytime of the year, the Luna Park website has this cute webcam you can have a peek at.