What’s going on behind Aussie World’s gates may surprise you
Our vision is to become the number one rated tourism, events and entertainment destination in Queensland.
WHEN was the last time you switched off from the mayhem of life and just genuinely had some fun? Not “sitting on the couch” type switching off, we’re talking belly laughs and genuine smiles so big that everyday life stresses fade into the clouds.
It’s not a dream, this kind of fun is possible… and it’s just around the corner at Palmview.
The Downunder Drive precinct is affectionately referred to as the gateway to the Sunshine Coast. While 110,000 cars drive past the Aussie World theme park, the iconic pub, shopping village and The Shed daily, what’s happening behind the scenes may surprise you.
The Aussie World team gave Life&Style Weekend magazine a sneak-peak look at how the Coast’s only theme park operates before the gates open to the public each day.
A standard day in the world of fun starts off with safety first. Aussie World ride engineering manager Alex Casarotto said the team of ride engineers start at 5.45am to do the daily inspections and safety checks.
“We want everyone who comes to Aussie World to have fun, and it is our job to ensure they have a fantastic, safe time,” Alex said. “Safety is our priority.”
The maintenance team also start bright and early to ensure the presentation of the grounds are spotless.
At 8.30am, the hospitality and café team prepare the food, while the guest experience operators prepare the park before the gates open at 10am.
There are more than 200 employees across the precinct and Downunder Drive chief operating officer Aaron Flanagan said the successful execution of their master plan would result in a further 250 new jobs being created.
“More than $150 million is anticipated in economic impact from the construction phase and an ongoing economic impact of more than $160 million annually for the local economy,” Aaron said.
The Aussie World theme park has installed four new rides and attractions during the past 12 months, with more planned for installation in the near future.
Aussie World is in the process of expanding from its current six hectares (15 acres) to making full use of the 22ha (55-acre) footprint with new thrill rides (the first of their kind in Australia), attractions, amenities and a green space to play host to a variety of events.
“A number of rides have been decommissioned to introduce new rides and attractions. We are committed to growing and enhancing our offer to ensure we operate one of the leading theme parks in Australia,” Aaron said.
“We will also continue to invest in events such as our Halloween FestEvil, Australia Day and Ride the Night series which is becoming increasingly popular with the teenage market as we have live DJs and bands and the park has a completely different atmosphere at night time,” he added. While the kids and teenagers are well looked after, the broader community will be pleased to hear the iconic pub, formally known as the Ettamogah Pub, is in the midst of a major refurbishment and set to officially re-open in the latter half of next year.
“The pub is such an important asset for our precinct so it was important in creating our vision for the pub that we developed something that the community would be proud of, something that is going to be family-friendly, iconic and inspired from the Coast’s people and environment,” Aaron said.
The new pub will more than double its footprint for socialising and dining and Aaron believes it will be completely transformed in line with the expectations of a modern hotel but still with that unmistakable quintessential Australian, quirky feel.
Then there is The Shed. Built in 1992, this space has come to life in the past two years after a multi-million-dollar refurbishment in 2015 transformed the unique and dynamic space into mecca for live music and licenced functions and events.
“We’ve showcased some exciting local and international talent including a capacity sold-out show for 1100 people recently for the Violent Femmes and our future events calendar is looking epic,” Aaron said.
“We’ve also hosted charity breakfasts and corporate lunches and dinners where attendees have also been able to enjoy the theme park’s rides and attractions as part of their event at The Shed.
“We’re currently gearing up for the Christmas function season and are genuinely excited about the future of our functions and events business; the opportunities are endless and we are keen to grow this side of the business. Our tagline for The Shed is Always Original and the feedback to suggests we’re delivering on that promise.”
Put simply, there have been some major advancements at Downunder Drive but Aaron says it’s just the beginning.
“We’re a family-owned operation with passionate long term owners committed to investing in and supporting the growth of the Sunshine Coast region,” he said.
“Our vision is to become the number one rated tourism, events and entertainment destination in Queensland.”
While Aaron admits this goal is massive, he says the dedication and passion of the ownership, the leadership team
and all the staff is second-to-none making a vision this large possible.
From ride technicians and operators to gardeners, hospitality team and everyone in between, it is the friendly faces inherent in the motto Fun’s our Thing which separates a good day out to a great experience. That’s the Aussie World experience.
The Mayhem Maze.
Jake and Tilly with park visitors.