While Stoney Park will host the prestigious Australian Titles in April, operation managers, Anissa and Jason explain that they designed the park not only for competing athletes, but for families and kids too. Read how the park came to be developed and the type of recreational water sports that can be enjoyed at this purpose built facility.
> How and when did the idea for a man-made water ski holiday park come about?
Stoney Park is the concept/dream of the Stone family (hence the name).
Parents Dennis and Joan funded the operation via their coal mining business in Wollongong, while son and daughter Jason and Anissa (Stoney Park business partners) run the park.
Jason and Anissa moved to Port Macquarie in 1999 to build the park, commence business operations and provide something different to the region and its guests. Jason had just returned home from spending 8 years abroad, coaching, competing and skiing. Anissa moved up from working in the family mining company business to join forces to build their family dream. And so Stoney Park was born!
> How has the park grown since its opening?
The park was originally purchased as a dairy farm with no business operating. Once the property passed a full environmental impact study via Hastings Council, we then had to excavate the lakes, build housing mounds, put in all the infrastructure and cabins.
It took two years to build the lakes and another year to build the caravan park. Stoney Park is continually evolving with new infrastructure and is becoming busier and busier with patrons. We believe the park has been embraced by the people of the Hastings and its tourists!
> Tell us about some of the great packages you have available for locals and visitors.
Stoney Park has a variety of packages available, from beginners to advanced. All our packages are with the coach and driver and include all equipment. A very popular package that Stoney Park offers is our group lake hire, as it is for a selected period of time on the water and you can have a group come out … for example Christmas parties, birthday parties, school groups or a family outing and do a combination of waterskiing, wake boarding, tube riding and kneeboarding.
The group can go in the boat while some of the group are behind the boat being coached … and it caters for all ages. You can tie this in with using the facilities of the gazebo to have a BBQ, which makes for a great day out! We encourage everyone in the area to come and see what we are all about!
> You are holding the prestigious Australian Titles at Stoney Park in April, among other events?
Stoney Park has hosted 2003, 2005 and is now about to host the 2009 Australian Water Ski titles.
We have hosted the Barefoot Championships, Australian Water Ski Pro Am, 2009 Wakeboard Pro tours and 2009 Aussie/Kiwi Water Ski Challenge. Stoney Park also plays host to a Malibu series.
We love being chosen to host these events – and it’s always so much fun to come out to watch with friends and family and make a full day of it!
> Can anyone come along?
Yes! The park is open to everyone and anyone, and no one is excluded. We have small children from 2.5 years old to people in their 70s. We teach from beginners to advanced in water skiing, wakeboarding, bare footing or just some fun behind the boat in the tube or on the kneeboard.
> What are the ways that people can make the most of their visit?
Stoney Park is a fantastic fun way for the family to have a great day out together. Whether all beginners or rusty old timers, Stoney Park has something for everyone! What better way to enjoy a day than skiing or wakeboarding in the morning, BBQ lunch overlooking the lakes, then finish the day off with more skiing and wakeboarding!
It keeps you fit, and you have fun!
Even if some people don’t ski or wakeboard, they can certainly come along and watch their friends and family enjoy the fun.
> Who are some of the star competitors participating in the titles this year? Any stand out locals?
Stoney Park part time resident, Karina Nowlan is the current co-holder of the Women’s World Slalom record – a record which she equalled in September 2008 in the United States.
Karina is a former recipient of the Mayor’s Sporting Fund Award and Hastings Sports Person of the year – and we are proud to have her competing at the park this year.
Keep your eye out for her outstanding sportsmanship and skiing skill.
> Is Stoney Park just for elite water skiers?
Not by any means at all! Stoney Park looks after skiers and wakeboarders of all ages and abilities. The youngest students are anywhere from 2.5 years old – ranging through to older skiers in their 70s!
While the park is set up as a perfect environment for elite level skiers, it is also just as a much a perfect venue for beginners and intermediate skiers and boarders alike.
The man-made lakes provide a safe environment for parents to bring their children to be taught the basics of skiing and wake-boarding, without the hassles of other boats and the ever present dangers of sharks etc.
> What do you love most about running the park?
The lifestyle! At Stoney Park, we are always on holidays! People come to the park to have fun and bring with them a happy and fun attitude and are always keen to socialise and interact with our guests. Living at the park – there is no need to ever leave – as the social life comes to us!
> What do you hope to see for the future of Stoney Park?
Growth, good weather, continual rain fall to top up the lakes, more cabins, more events and a continually growing local customer base.
> Thank you Jason and Anissa.