Victoria didn’t have a Dreamworld or a Wet n’ Wild. When you saw that giant pheasant’s eyes staring at you as you approached Gumbuya Park, you knew you were in for a day of slow paddleboats, mini golf and watching your dad squeeze into a toboggan.
Caravan manufacturing tycoon and investor Gerry Ryan and carsales.com.au founder Wal Pisciotta are part of a syndicate that has acquired the 166-hectare amusement and wildlife park in Tynong North, near Pakenham, for $4.65 million.
Ryan tells the Australian Financial Review: “It just needs fresh investment, some new ideas and some new marketing. We are still working through the budget, but will be spending several millions on redevelopment.”
These revitalisation plans include offering accommodation, new rides and expanding the zoo, which currently houses more than 300 native animals.
The former pheasant farm (hence the giant pheasant sculpture guarding the gates) was founded by builder Ron Rado in 1978.
Gumbuya Park was in the news in 2011 when a 23-year-old man from Poowong was arrested for blowing off the rear end of the pheasant statue with explosives, causing $50,000 worth of damage to the bird.