The 7 Attractions You Can’t Miss at Ocean Park Water World
Here’s a sneak peek at the best rides at Hong Kong’s newest amusement park which opens this autumn
Since the old Water World closed in 1999, Hong Kong water babies have been eagerly awaiting its rebirth; fast-forward 20-odd years, and Ocean Park Water World is set to open on September 21, coinciding with Mid-Autumn Festival. Being touted as Asia’s first all-weather, year-round water park, it covers almost 700,000 square feet in Tai Shue Wan and offers 27 indoor and outdoor attractions across five themed zones for different ages. As the Tatler team discovered at the preview, some are not for the faint-hearted. Here are seven attractions we recommend you try—if you dare.
Start with the water park equivalent of a warm-up. The Torrential River zone has four slides that involve a lot twisting and turning, but nothing too terrifying. The Vortex! (the punctuation is theirs) is the orange and blue one which you experience on a raft alongside up to three friends with a large funnel where you can take a raft with up to three other adventurers. Take in the panoramic views of Sham Wan and the surrounding shimmering waters and lush green islands before your craft is spun around then sucked into the ride’s pitch-black namesake. After speeding through, you’re spat out against a half-pipe wall. But if you think that’s the end, think again and take a deep breath, because there’s another dark, twisting tunnel to come before you’re done.
Also in the Torrential River zone is Rainbow Rush, a classic ride that was popular at the old Water World. One for the competitive-natured, the new version has eight lanes instead of the original five, and timers to record how long each person takes to slide down. To start, lie face down on your racer mat, wait for the green light, and off you go, headfirst down the 107-metre-long slide! You’ll twist your way through an enclosed tunnel before emerging into the open, just in time to see what lies ahead – a massive drop. Here’s a tip: if you’re scared of the dark, pick the yellow tunnel, as sunlight shines through the casing. Another tip: maybe avoid this one if you’re scared of heights, as you have to climb 17 metres to get to the starting point.
Daredevil Drop, Thunder Loop and Bravery Cliffs
This trio of rides in Thrill Valley might be the climatic event for adrenaline junkies. For the Daredevil Drop, take a deep breath as the Perspex barrier closes around you, and the floor opens beneath you, sending you plummeting down a near-vertical slide in what feels like a free-fall drop. Keep your head as close to the slide as possible, and your arms and legs crossed, and be warned: water will gush up your nose as you whoosh down.
There is also the Thunder Loop, where you’ll bullet through a twisting 58 metres of seethrough tunnels, and Bravery Cliffs, which, as the name suggests, is a test of courage. With nobody to initiate the ride or a mechanism to start you off, you sit on the edge of the slide and summon the guts to launch yourself down the open tube slide. Keep your eyes open and enjoy the view—if you dare.
If the thought of riding alone terrifies you but you’re looking for a rush, check out Skyhigh Falls in the Thrill Valley zone. Each raft takes three to six riders, and takes you looping around a serpentine tube, then down a steep slope so quickly that your raft will seem to take flight; in fact, at one point, you enjoy literal “hang time” as you ride up a half-pipe, before plunging down through more twists and turns. Watch out: if you sit facing backwards when you get on board, chances are you’ll be unlucky enough to travel backwards for the whole ride. Good luck.
If you’re with kids, or just want a relaxing day out, head to the Lazy Cruise in the Hidden Village zone. The gentle river will carry you from gushing fountains in a rainforest setting, through waterfalls to the “glacial” zone—it’s not actually cold but the power of suggestion can be strong. You can take a two-person inflatable ring for this ride, but we recommend going solo and challenging your Water World buddies to a race.
Big Wave Bay
Bask in the afternoon sun at Big Wave Bay in Adventure Coast, while enjoying views over the South China Sea and Ocean Park’s iconic Mine Train ride on the hilltop in the south. Take a dip in the 2,320 sq m pool, lazily float around on an inflatable ring, or enjoy the eight varieties of artificial waves, a different one generated every 10 minutes.
The city’s first indoor surfing simulator in the Hidden Village zone puts your core strength to the test. Don’t let the gentle-looking slope fool you. It takes excellent balance if you want to command the rapid waves, although if you get the hang of it, the lack of breakers ensure a good, long ride. (And if things go south, there are trainers on hand to help you out. Surf’s up!)