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A much-loved South Coast fun park that has been a staple summer holiday destination for Canberrans, Victorians and the odd Sydneysider for more than 30 years is on the market for the first time.
Magic Mountain, in the South Coast town of Merimbula, has come a long way from the vacant patch of crown land that part owner Murray Beveridge surveyed in the 1980s.
The Diamond Python rollercoaster was installed in 1992. Photo: Supplied
A focal point of the region, Magic Mountain – set to turn 34 in November – may have never existed had a brochure for a toboggan not caught Mr Beveridge’s eye when he moved to the area from a nearby town.
“A bloke I knew had a contact in Germany, and he made an appointment to see me. He showed me a brochure for the toboggan run. I looked at this brochure and didn’t think much of it,” Mr Beveridge said.
But after staring out at a hill near his property one day, he “looked again and thought, “what if?”
From there it was a matter of convincing the local council and state government to allow usage of the crown land, including building a model of the proposed park and “carting it up to Sydney”, and then getting partners on board to help fund and manage the project.
Magic Mountain has been going ever since – the 18.9 hectares of land at 134 Sapphire Coast Drive was subsequently converted to freehold and sold to Mr Beveridge and the other owners. They are now selling the park, with its 12 exhibits, through Ray Larkin of Manenti Quinlan and Associates for $3.25 million.
The toboggan system may have triggered the idea, but it was the waterslide and old Melbourne tram – fitted out as a cafe – that were installed first.
And Mr Beveridge and the two other partners haven’t stopped there, adding their most recent ride – the Tube Rider – last year.
“It’s two rides of 100 metres. It’s a dry slide and it’s fast, and that only went in last spring,” said Mr Beveridge, adding that there was potential to expand the park’s offerings with paintball or even accommodation.
This former Melbourne tram-turned-cafe was one of the first things to be installed when the park opened 33 years ago. Photo: Supplied
The dry slide joins other additions including the Diamond Python Roller Coaster, 18-car grand prix dodgem cars, jumping castle, magic carpet slide, Triassic Park Walk and a high ropes course.
You’d think managing a fun park would be a tough gig, but Mr Beveridge said it was actually a lot of fun. All rides were inspected daily and regularly certified.
“No, it’s not stressful. It’s the reverse. A lot of people who work for us, love working there. They absolutely love it because it’s a fun place to work. We have a lot of young staff, we have some uni students, we have high school students. It’s not high pressure,” he said.
“You’d be amazed. People have this hangup, ‘Oh I couldn’t do that’. From an old farmer from Bombala, I could.”
The business is structured in a way that an outside investor could purchase it without having to become involved in its operation, although Mr Beveridge said that it was ideally suited to a family looking for a sea change.
“If someone wanted to come in and work it but not necessarily be the manager they can do that. They can keep our manager. We have an excellent management team in place.
“We’re sort of family people ourselves, it can be an investment but we feel that it’s ideal for a family to come in and pay themselves a wage.”
On a busy summer day the park attracts up to 800 day passes, which allows unlimited rides, although entry to the park itself is free – meaning overall attendance figures are significantly higher.
“It gets busy and it gets very quiet,” Mr Beveridge said, adding that the park had a yearly shutdown period following the winter school holidays.
“We get quite a few Canberrans. Victoria is our main influence, people come from the Riverina, the La Trobe Valley and Melbourne, and of course Wollongong and Sydney, and we do know that a lot of people come to the area because Magic Mountain is there.”
Mr Beveridge said part of the reason for the park’s success were the broad number of rides and activities that catered to all ages. He has offered to stay on temporarily to show the new owner the ropes.
“It’s not a hell-raising place. The rollercoaster, for example, is user friendly. We’ve got entertainment for everyone.”
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