FIRST LOOK: Huge new roller coaster at centre of $50m Sea World revamp
VILLAGE Roadshow will today announce a $50 million revamp of Sea World, with new thrill rides to include an innovative new roller coaster.
The centrepiece of the 1.5 hectare addition to its Main Beach site will be a one kilometre wooden roller coaster - with a pair of backwards seats - that travels at 80km per hour.
Village will roll out the first of the rides - an 18-metre giant pendulum swing similar to Dreamworld's recently retired Wipeout attraction - by December.
It will be followed by a 52-metre high ride that spins guests at 36km per hour high above The Spit in April, 2020. The new roller coaster will be operational by December, 2020.
They are the key features of what Village Roadshow is calling The New Atlantis, a "utopian precinct".
It will also promote Sea World's extensive marine conservation work.
Village Roadshow Theme Parks CEO Clark Kirby, speaking exclusively to the Bulletin, said the investment had been two years in the planning and would revitalise one of the country's favourite theme parks.
Mr Kirby, who will officially unveil the development this morning alongside Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk at Sea World, said: "The New Atlantis will be a game-changer for Sea World and become a destination in its own right where our guests can experience the myths, mysteries, quests and challenges located within this new multimillion-dollar utopian precinct.
"The New Atlantis has been designed as a fully immersive precinct with the rides complimented by sleek, eye-catching and architecturally aesthetic theming including waterfalls, fountains, statues and hanging gardens to take guests on the ultimate Atlantean adventure."
It is Village Roadshow's first big outlay since it launched Movie World's new $30m DC Rivals HyperCoaster in Oxenford, the longest and fastest in the southern hemisphere.
Mr Kirby said it had been encouraging to see Queensland's Government investment in The Spit Masterplan which was key for Village to green light The New Atlantis.
"We pushed the button on this because The Spit masterplanning - which we are actively involved with and working with Government on - was one of the catalysts.
"Sea World is a beloved property here on the Gold Coast and across Australia.
"But there was some ageing infrastructure that needed to be reborn. What we have come up with is true to what Sea World is all about - in terms of conservation, having fun and something really dramatic that will stand the test of time."
The new wooden coaster had a life span of 100 years and Mr Kirby said extra additions to the precinct would also be revealed when under construction.
Village Roadshow Theme Parks chief operating officer Bikash Randhawa said The New Atlantis would be visible from Southport's Broadwater and become a skyline icon.
"I can see every promotion of the Gold Coast which features the Q1 tower now also featuring this. What we have here is world-class," Mr Randhawa said.
The New Atlantis will also draw more attention to Village Roadshow's conservation work carried out by the Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation.
It will feature an amphitheatre for shows, presentations and activities to educate guests on how they can help protect and conserve the ocean environment.
Mr Kirby said it was time Village made a bigger deal of the marine conservation work which includes rescues of 60 sea turtles and relocation of a humpback whale.
The foundation has also donated millions towards marine vertebrate research.
Sea World staff are also on call 24 hours a day, every day of the year for marine animal rescues.
On top of its Sea World revamp, Village Roadshow will also boost blockbuster theming at Movie World later this year.
In November, Warner Bros. Movie World will host set pieces, props and costumes from big-budget films The Great Gatsby, Mad Max, Wonder Woman, Shazam and Suicide Squad.
Cat and mouse duo Tom and Jerry will also be added to Movie World's life-size character line-up from September.
Gold Coast leaders across council, tourism and business have been crying out for new attractions to reinvigorate the city tourism profile since last year.
Mr Kirby said Village Roadshow were happy to oblige with its megabucks Sea World investment.
"We can see there is so much potential for the Gold Coast and it is wonderful to have such strong leaders at all levels of tourism," he said.
"Destination Gold Coast is doing a fantastic job of promoting the Gold Coast and we are giving them further tools to do their job.
"The Gold Coast is world-class now with incredible restaurants, incredible shopping while beaches and theme parks are still synonymous with the Gold Coast and that is what drives tourism."