A MAZE’N Things is, well, just amazing!
It generates millions of dollars for the Phillip Island economy each year, not just inside the colourful fence that divides the fun theme park from the main road, but right across the Island.
On those holiday days especially, when the windswept beach isn’t the best option, A Maze’N Things is a great foil, sitting perfectly between the Island’s fantastic natural attractions and its major events, café culture and other activities.
But, comes a time, after a life of loving and developing A Maze’N Things, to move on and after 30 years, that time has come for operators Geoff Moed and his partner Sandy Bell.
“When we first came across here, we only planned to stay for five years, developing the same style of maze and mini golf we operated on the Bellarine, but one thing led to another, and it went so well that we stayed,” said Geoff this week.
“But the important thing to stress is, whatever happens, the park will stay open.
“We’ve put it up for expressions for expressions of interest, with Greg Price at Alex Scott in Cowes and Castran Real Estate and that has prompted some to suggest that we might be closing but that’s not going to happen.
“We’d like to sell it but if not, we’ll put in a manager and keep it going.
“But we’re not going anywhere. It’s just that we’ve got grandkids now, and we just want to take a step back and not have to deal with everything that goes with running a theme park day-to-day. We’ve grown so much more than what we ever expected. In reality, it’s just the two of us that are running it, and we have a family life that we want to develop outside as well.
“This Christmas would have been our 30th year. We were looking at selling prior to the pandemic. And then when the pandemic came, we decided that we didn’t want to sell during the pandemic because there’s still a lot of growth left in the industry on Phillip Island and on the site.
“We’re doing expressions of interest at the moment and there’s been quite a range of people, in different levels of the tourism and accommodation industry take an interest, so it’s been mixed.
“There’s been some interest from areas we weren’t expecting but probably the strongest ones have been for people in the industry itself.”
Asked what his favourite memory from developing the park, Mr Moed said it’s magic.
“Every four or five years we would add something new. So, you go through a whole process of developing and building and opening up. So, it’s always a highlight when something new opens up and when you do open something new, then the numbers increase, and you get people coming back and get good feedback.
“So, probably our biggest extension was when we introduced ‘Magic Manor’ in 2016, and that took a tourism standards on Phillip Island to a whole new level.
“I remember we had a journalist coming through and his comment was, well, Disney would have been proud of that.
“There’s a whole range of interactive-based around magic, which is a form of optical illusions with theatre.
“And the response to that has been fantastic.”
Geoff’s all-time favourite ride would have to be the vertical slide.
“The vertical slider has been there since 2004 and we’ve probably had a couple of million people go down that. There’s a lot of screaming, and a lot of ugly faces when we take photos. And a lot of people holding their chest thinking that they were lucky to be alive at the end.
“It’s all a mental thing, because we’ve dropped down a bag of eggs, and they just slide to nice stop, they don’t break or anything.
“But it’s a fear in people’s mind. And sometimes people, that have parachuted or bungee jumped, get onto it and I say ‘no I can’t do this’. I can’t comprehend why they can’t but that’s just their perception.”
Typically Amaze’N Things has 130,000 paid visitors-a-year and lots more just enjoying the barbecues and playground for free.
The most popular time is when the day is overcast but with no rain and the temperature is in the 20s.
But one thing Geoff hopes to retain, is the tax deduction status he enjoys when visiting other theme parks around the world “for research”.
“I wouldn’t like to haver to stop visiting theme parks, that’s for sure.”
Over the years, Amaze’N Things has won many local, regional and state business and tourism awards.
Buyers: For further details call Greg Price at Alex Scott and Staff, 113A Thompson Avenue, Cowes. Phone (03) 59522633 or Greg’s mobile on 0419337441. Or website: https://alexscott.com.au/offices/phillip-island/