Water park to make a splash in Nelson Bay for summer 2017-2018

BIRDS EYE VIEW: A mock up of what the Splash Waterpark will look like in Nelson Bay once it is installed on Friday. The water park will be located off Nelson Bay Beach, near the public wharf.
BIRDS EYE VIEW: A mock up of what the Splash Waterpark will look like in Nelson Bay once it is installed on Friday. The water park will be located off Nelson Bay Beach, near the public wharf.

Splash Waterpark will be up and operating in Nelson Bay on Saturday.

Anthony Kelly, owner of the modular and inflatable water park, said the equipment will be installed off Nelson Bay Beach on Friday for a Saturday opening.

“If all goes well on Friday we could have a few hours in the afternoon where we will be open,” Mr Kelly said.

The inflatable, modular water park will be set up near Nelson Bay’s public wharf, to the right of the Dolphin Watch Cafe.

It will be open weekends and public holidays, and each day of the school holidays from 9am to 6pm.

Mr Kelly said the water park may be opened during the week, too, depending on bookings.

LOOKS FUN: Splash Waterpark will be up and operating in Nelson Bay on Saturday, owner Anthony Kelly said. Picture: Supplied

LOOKS FUN: Splash Waterpark will be up and operating in Nelson Bay on Saturday, owner Anthony Kelly said. Picture: Supplied

Splash Waterpark is suitable for all ages above 6 years old.

The cost is $15 per person, per hour. Sessions are on the hour between 9am and 6pm.

Each person is fitted with a life jacket and receives a safety briefing before they are able to swim out to the inflated water park, which can be altered each day.

Water park attractions include a 5 metre-tall rock climbing tower which patrons can jump off, trampolines, monkey bars, swings, “wiggle discs” which are like lily pads that people can run across and balance beams.

From September 21, 2017:

READY: Rhiley Kelly, 16, and Anthony Kelly at Nelson Bay Beach where Splash Waterpark will be set up and operating throughout summer. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

READY: Rhiley Kelly, 16, and Anthony Kelly at Nelson Bay Beach where Splash Waterpark will be set up and operating throughout summer. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Nelson Bay is set to receive a cool new water attraction in time for the hot months ahead.

The mobile and inflatable Splash Waterpark, owned and operated by a Port Stephens family, will be set up on the water off Nelson Bay Beach beginning in October – date to be announced – until Easter 2018.

“We’ve been working for three years to try and get it in here,” Splash Waterpark owner Anthony Kelly said.

“It’s been a three year battle to make sure every stakeholder is happy.

“It’s a relief we’re finally at this stage.”

The inflatable, modular water park will be set up near Nelson Bay’s public wharf, to the right of the Dolphin Watch Cafe.

It will be open weekends and public holidays, and each day of the school holidays from 9am to 6pm.

Mr Kelly said the water park may be opened during the week, too, depending on bookings.

Splash Waterpark’s arrival in Nelson Bay comes four years after it was first established in Japan by Mr Kelly and wife Tammy.

The pair, who have called Port Stephens home for 30 years, ran the Tomaree and Tilligerry Aquatic Centres before the tender changed hands.

Mr Kelly became a partner with Lifeguarding Services Australia and provided lifeguard services along the beaches of the North Coast and major events in Sydney.

Through LSA he had the opportunity to travel to Japan to train the country’s lifeguards.

It was in Japan that Mr Kelly had the idea for an inflatable water park.

“One of the local communities where we were based at asked us to help with tourism,” Mr Kelly said.

“They had seen a decline in people going to the beach, but that was right across Japan because of the tsunami they had in 2011.

“We put the water park in at Yumigahama Beach in Minamiizu and it was a huge success.

“Not only for the town, but also nationally. We got a lot of coverage because it was the first of its kind in Japan. 

“They were getting about 80,000 to the beach in a given summer period, which is about two to three months.

“After we put the water park in, statistical figures showed they were getting about 250,000 people to the same beach.

“The influx hasn’t been just good for us, but for every business in the [Japanese] community. Shops, restaurants, hotels, the car parks. Everyone has done really well out of it.”

After establishing the water park and expanding to Zushi Beach in Kanagawa the following year, and seeing its success, Mr Kelly began working on bringing Splash Waterpark to his home of Nelson Bay.

He has been working with Port Stephens Council, Roads and Maritime Services and the Department of Primary Industries, which looks after the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park, among other groups to achieve his goal.

Mr Kelly said Nelson Bay Beach was chosen as the location as it was more sheltered from the elements than Shoal Bay, which they were also considering.

He said Shoal Bay’s nor’easterly wind and shore dump made the site hazardous.

“From a lifeguarding and safety point of view we thought Shoal Bay would be too difficult,” Mr Kelly said.

“The only issue we had here [Nelson Bay] was protection of the seagrass, which we've overcome with the Seagrass Friendly Moorings.”

Mr Kelly employed Williamtown businessman Des Maslen, who operates On Water Marine Services, to install his Seagrass Friendly Moorings system.

Des Maslen installing the Seagrass Friendly Moorings system at the location of Splash Waterpark on Wednesday. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Des Maslen installing the Seagrass Friendly Moorings system at the location of Splash Waterpark on Wednesday. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Mr Maslen, with the help from Mr Kelly’s 16-year-old son Rhiley Kelly, hit the water on Wednesday to install the moorings.

Splash Waterpark is suitable for all ages above 6 years old.

The cost is $15 per person, per hour.

Each person is fitted with a life jacket and receives a safety briefing before they are able to swim out to the inflated water park, which can be altered each day.

For safety, lifeguards are employed by the Kellys to watch patrons using the water park’s inflated attractions.

Water park attractions include a 5 metre-tall rock climbing tower which patrons can jump off, trampolines, monkey bars, swings, “wiggle discs” which are like lily pads that people can run across and balance beams.

“From a fitness perspective, we find most people who jump on find it difficult in the first 15 minutes,” Mr Kelly said.

“It’s physically demanding, but it’s also a laugh.

“There is a lifeguard challenge. If you beat it, you get free pass to come back next time but it’s more about going out with family and friends, socialising and having fun.”

Rhiley Kelly, 16, out on the water on Wednesday helping to install Splash Waterpark off Nelson Bay Beach. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Rhiley Kelly, 16, out on the water on Wednesday helping to install Splash Waterpark off Nelson Bay Beach. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Marquees will be set up on the grass area near the water park where people pay and receive the safety briefing.

Sessions run every hour on the hour.

People are encouraged to head down to the marquee at least 15 minutes before the time slot they wish to head out so they can be fitted with a life jacket.

Time slots can also be reserved.

Updates on opening times and closures will be made on the Splash Waterpark Facebook page.

This story Water park to make a splash in Nelson Bay | photos, video first appeared on Port Stephens Examiner.