Big 4 Whitsunday making a big splash
THE buzz and impending thrills surrounding the final stages of Big4 Adventure Whitsunday's brand new water park are rapidly reaching hair-raising heights.
More than 3000 comments expressing bucket loads of anticipation have inundated the holiday park's Facebook page over the past week.
Park Owner Greg McKinnon, who employs 36 people and loves creating a "wow" factor, said the 13 water slides would add to the existing two slides and pool area and would be ready to ride in the first week of August.
"The excitement is not only killing the locals, but the staff can't wait to get into it as well," he said.
"It's a waterslide bonanza. It's something the kids have never seen in this area."
The new slides, of varying speeds, heights and lengths, will make the fun park's water zone the largest waterslide playground in an Australian holiday park. The overall area of the park will be equivalent to an Olympic swimming pool and will include mini slides, tipping buckets, water features, a splash pool for toddlers and a total of 200 metres in waterslides.
Mr McKinnon said while adults and older children would be welcome on the slides, they would be mostly suitable for children aged from three to 12. Slides will be connected by bridges and the colours of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef have been used as inspiration during construction.
"The kids will never, ever be bored. And if the children are happy then it's good for the parents too. And you've got the beautiful Whitsundays as a backdrop," Mr McKinnon said.
Mr McKinnon said the new slides were part of a $2.5 million post-Cyclone Debbie project that also included general upgrades and new cabins.
"The biggest thing is that we're trying to add to our community in what we can offer," he said.
Mr McKinnon said he aimed to employ additional local youth during the holiday season and wanted to ensure his business continued to contribute to the local economy; when the park is full, it accommodates 800 people "which creates a great income for the whole town including local businesses and restaurants".
Mr McKinnon, who's operated the multiple-award-winning park for 24 years, said the park was also a seasonal home to many regular holiday-makers and caravaners who had been coming from all around Australia for up to 20 years.
"They've watched each other's young kids grow and they feel welcome, they feel part of our family. They bring birthday presents, send Christmas cards, help rake and do the gardens," he said.
Mr McKinnon said his own parents who were in their 80s had made friends with many of the annual guests and "are like surrogate grandparents to some".
"It's a beautiful feel and it's part of the whole atmosphere. For some guests, it's like coming back to your other house," he said.
Mr McKinnon said the new water park would not be open for day trips, but would be available to anyone who had a booking for a camp site or any other accommodation.