Luna Park. A throwback to a bygone era, perched on Sydney’s northern harbor. This amusement park, first opened in 1935, is located in Milsons Point, under the shadow of Sydney’s Harbor Bridge.
Unlike most other amusement parks, Luna Park is free to enter and walk around. Tickets can be purchased for the rides, but otherwise it’s open to the public to stroll around. It also makes a beautiful spot for photography, offering harbor views, pops of color, and interesting perspectives and lines, created by the art-deco architecture. I spent a morning recently wandering around, still getting used to my Sony a5000, the latest addition to my photography arsenal. It was great to experiment more with shooting in manual, trying out various settings, and getting a feel for the camera.
Luna Park, as seen through photos, is an intriguing place to explore, and easy to access, even if you’re only in Sydney for a short time. The park is protected, and several buildings are heritage listing, making it a special part of Sydney’s history.
The park is heavily inspired by American turn-of-the-century amusement parks, especially Coney Island. The park’s attractions have changed over the years, but the Ferris Wheel is definitely the best, as it offers stunning views and a relaxed feel as you sail over the city. From the famous entrance to the art-deco architecture, stepping into the park feels a bit like stepping back in time.
According to the NSW Department of Environment & Heritage:
“Luna Park is a great and rare surviving example of an amusement park and fantasy architecture in the art-deco idiom of the 1930s. It is a major harbour icon, whose ‘urban frivolity’ is juxtaposed with the more serious forms of the adjacent Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.”
A Dark Past
In 1979, a fire broke out inside the park’s Ghost Train ride. This sadly resulted in the deaths of six children and one adult. An inquest determined that the park was negligent in failing to provide an adequate duty of care to their guests. An exact cause of the fire has never been determined, although several causes have been put forward over the years, from electrical fires to gang activity. The park was closed for a time after the incident. After this, most of the park was rebuilt and brought to more modern standards.
How to Get There
Luna Park is about a 5 minute walk from Milsons Point train station (although the walk back up is fairly steep). You can also catch the ferry to Milsons Point wharf from Circular Quay. You can also walk across the Harbor Bridge, which is an amazing thing to do, and a great alternative to the Bridge Climb, and then end you walk on the northern side, very close to Luna Park. There is some parking available, but it is charged.
For more information on Lavender Bay, and the beautiful suburbs around Luna Park, check out ‘Lavender Bay and Surrounds: A Day Walk in a Sydney Suburb‘, by fellow travel blogger Travels with Joanne.
Lavender Bay and Surrounds: A day walk in a Sydney Suburb
For more information on public transport options, check out NSW Transport’s Trip Planner.
Have you been to Luna Park? Would love to hear your thoughts below.