The latest addition to Sydney’s only theme park will be the highest and largest Wave Swinger in Australia.
Volare, meaning “to fly” in Italian, is a 64-seat flying carousel which swings out over Luna Park, and includes views of the water and the Sydney Harbour Bridge as it spins at speeds of up to 65 kilometres per hour.
It’s Sydney’s first new permanent ride since the opening of Wet’n’Wild in 2013 and Luna Park’s first new permanent ride since the opening of the Hair Raiser five years ago.
The new addition comes after NSW Planning and Environment planning controls have been updated to make approving new rides easier.
The process for approving new rides or updating existing ones has been streamlined to ensure the heritage amusement park’s operators can add new attractions more simply than previously, as long as they remain within safety, visual impacts, noise, lighting and heritage limits.
NSW Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts said that under the changes, Luna Park will be able to introduce new, low impact rides and amusements through a simpler planning pathway.
The policy rewrite was triggered by a NSW Land and Environment Court ruling in July that found the planning regulations governing Luna Park were no longer valid due to a “drafting error”.
This led to “uncertainty” about the viability of the park, with the operator fearing they’d be subjected to expensive development applications that could take up to 12 months to process whenever they wanted to add or modify a ride.
At the time, Luna Park Managing Director Peter Hearne said that the decision placed “a big question mark over the long-term viability of one of Sydney's best-known and most-loved destinations”.
Luckily for Luna, and Sydney ride enthusiasts, proposed amendments to the state planning policy were put to the community, with over 1400 submissions made in response, of which 90 per cent favoured the streamlined policy.
Some members of the community raised concerns over the future of Lavender Green, the grassy area at the northern end of the park.
Lavender Green has been removed from the policy, and rides and amusements will not be allowed to be installed there through exempt or complying development.
“Luna Park is an iconic part of Sydney Harbour and thousands of Australians and tourists have enjoyed a fun day out with friends and family here,” Roberts said.
“The community is at the heart of everything we do.”
Volare is the first of three new rides to be installed under policy changes, and the only permanent new attraction.
Other expected temporary additions include the Powersurge and Rock’n’Tug.
Volare was created by world-class Italian ride manufacturers Preston & Barbieri, who operate out of Reggio Emilia, Italy.
The name recalls that most wonderful of Italian love songs, Volare by Domenico Modugno, which was released in 1958 to international acclaim.
Volare was the first foreign-language single to top the American singles charts in the rock era.
In it, Modugno sings:
Volare oh, oh
Cantare oh, oh
Nel blu dipinto di blu
Felice di stare lassù
E volavo, volavo felice più in alto del sole
Ed ancora più su
Mentre il mondo pian piano spariva lontano laggiù
Una musica dolce suonava soltanto per me
To fly, oh oh
To sing oh oh
Into the blue [sky] painted with blue
Happy to stay up there
I was flying, I was flying, happy to be higher than the sun
And even higher
While the world slowly disappeared far below
And sweet music played just for me.
The new ride will include an effervescent display of over 3500 LED lights, which is expected to enhance the Sydney skyline.