There’s something mysteriously magical and even a little creepy about a fairground at night. The bright moving lights of rides against the black of night, hiding any scenery outside. The screams of joy and fear from riders mixed in with the rattles of rollercoaster cars as the run around the track and the music of a carousel. The clown faces, mouths agape, at the sideshow, inviting you to try your luck.
I wanted to experience and try to capture that atmosphere in pictures at Sydney’s Luna Park, which is open late on Friday and Saturday nights. Alex also wanted to visit, so we met B in the city for a night out.
The Chinese New Year festival had just opened at Belmore Park outside of Central Station, so we first stopped there for a dinner of snacks purchased from stalls. Juice Uyghur lamb kebabs, ayam percik and yellow rice, pork buns, eaten standing while light showers sprinkled down. Alex also had a preparatory fly on one of the fairground rides set up at the entrance to the park.
Then a train up to Milsons Point and a walk down to Luna Park on the foreshore. The Sydney Harbour Bridge looms so magnificently over the scene. As we trotted down the steps a businessman suggested we hurry to see a huge cruise liner depart from Circular Quay, then we entered through the huge mouth of Luna Park.
The passes are not cheap, so we limited ourselves to two rides each. B and Alex clattered around the Wild Mouse rollercoaster, or the closest thing the park has to a rollercoaster since the local residents complained.
I’ve always wanted to try dodgem cars and tonight I had the chance to do so. Quite fun bumping around the track. Alex has ridden carousels across the world and he still can’t go past one. Is there a more perfect ride at night, the bright lights and mirrors, the horses slowly bobbing up and down?
Finally I took a sedate spin on the ferris wheel, which offered great views of Luna Park at nights and the beautiful colours of the CBD across the harbour.
We rode home in the dark on a trip too close to that of a normal work day, when we are all on holidays.
I don’t think my photos captured the mystery of the night, but I certainly felt it.