Park with adrenalin activities
25 March, 2018, 12:00 am
KULA WILD Adventure Park’s name has a strong ring to it with its wild adrenalin outdoor activities being the centre of holiday attraction for thrill seekers from around the world.
The park has outstanding adventure activities that have been recognised throughout the country, in the region and even across the world, particularly its new Kula Splash Mountain Jungle Water Slide which is 110 metres long and the Kula Canopy Flier Roller Coaster Zip Rail which is over 300 metres long that runs high through the thick park forest.
The water slide starts on a hillside winding down the slope over the elevated walkways crossing the river, ending up in a large pool of water at the bottom. The water used on the slide is pumped at the rate of 30 litres a second and it was officially opened to the public in May, 2017.
The Kula Canopy Flier Roller Coaster Zip Rail is the only one found in Fiji and Fiji is only the third country in the world to have such a facility. The new zip-rail was opened in March, 2017 and the new investment cost about $3 million.
Most popular attraction at the park are the Splash Mountain Jungle Water Slide and the Kiddies Splash Pool.
Park director and co-owner Ramesh Chand said the park displayed native Fijian fauna and some unique reptile species which were not found anywhere else in the world.
“Kula is the only place where tourists, locals including schoolchildren and university students can see, research and appreciate Fijian wildlife,” Mr Chand said.
“We had been operating as a wildlife park for about 18 years until it was decided that we should diversify and include activities for a wider range of visitors. In 2015, we decided to add high adrenalin adventure activities to broaden our customer base and now we have something for everybody.
“We display various soft and hard corals and tropical fish in our four salt water aquarium tanks. Each tank is over 3,500 litres and we use the most modern technology for the aquarium. We make our own salt water and the system is fully automatic.
“We also have a freshwater aquarium with different varieties of freshwater fish and eel and we have a very large reef pool.
“The reef pool display includes hawksbill sea turtles, tropical fish, sting ray and various marine critters and our visitors are allowed to help hand feed the turtles at 11am, 1pm and 3.30 pm daily.”
He said after the addition of new high adrenalin activities, the park had noticed the number of locals visiting the park had increased over threefold.
“The tourist number has also increased substantially. Most of the visitors are from Australia, followed by New Zealand, USA, UK and China,” Mr Chand said.
The peak season for the park is from mid-May to September and there are 46 staff members employed at the park.
“All our staff trainings are done on the job and training is conducted in guiding, animal husbandry, zip and water slide operations and maintenance plus safety procedures and other park activity,” Mr Chand said.
“The park is very much involved in species conservation. We are the world’s biggest breeding centre of Fiji crested iguanas. We are in the final stages of breeding for a release program for Monuriki crested iguanas.
“Over 100 crested iguanas have been released back on to Monuriki Island so far as part of our captive breeding for release program in partnership with the National Trust for Fiji, the chiefs and people of Yanuya (traditional owners of Monuriki Island).
“Every visitor to the park gets to hold an iguana or a snake. Our conservation and education programs are explained to them. Locals get discounted entry to the park and the park charges a very minimal rate for schoolchildren, teachers and parents coming in school groups coming for education and awareness programs.”
The park is licensed through the Ministry of Environment and works under a memorandum of understanding with the National Trust for Fiji.
“We also work closely with Mareqeti Viti/Nature Fiji and other non-governmental organisations, Dr Peter Harlow and Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia, Parks Board of New South Wales, San Diego Zoo, Robert Fisher of US Geology and Survey and many other overseas establishments,”Mr Chand said.
“Kula provides Free Hands-On Environmental Education Program to Fiji’s school children. This program is free to all primary schools in Fiji. For years 6 and Year 7, schools can book with us for a day education program and we can only take one class in a day and the park provides special discount for locals to visit the park.”
Well known for its displays of native Fiji fauna, the park now has more activities for all members of the family and it has wheelchair friendly walkways, two licensed cafes that serve various meal options, beverages, including wine and beer and it also has a toddlers’ tree house.
The park was bought by Philip Felstead in January 1997and was named Kula Eco Park and Ramesh Chand joined the company as director and co-owner in December 1997.
Kula Eco Park has been in operation for over 20 years now and it was later renamed Kula WILD Adventure Park at the beginning of 2017 after major upgrades and addition of adventure-based activities.
The park was built in 1997 and it took over a year to build. The building and improvements has continued over the years.
Major upgrades and addition of new adventure-based activities was done from last quarter of 2015 to 2017.