SA’s Puzzle Park at Murray Bridge set to be razed following latest sale

Puzzle Park

Puzzle Park at Murray Bridge has sold 14 years after it closed. Pic Tait Schmaal.

It was one of South Australia’s most popular tourism destinations for more than two decades.

Now the deteriorating site once known as Puzzle Park, which is covered in overgrown weeds and scattered with rusted play equipment, is set to be razed following its latest sale.

The former Murray Bridge amusement park changed hands in a $1.265 million deal late last month, CoreLogic records reveal.

While it closed in 2007 and was bought by Rivergum Homes Group shortly after, the 4.57ha site was left untouched then put on the market in December 2019.

Raine & Horne Murraylands principal John DeMichele, who sold the property, said when it was listed that the community hoped a buyer would develop the site into a new tourist attraction.

Puzzle Park

Raine & Horne Murraylands’ John DeMichele sold the site at 398 Jervois Road. Pic: Tait Schmaal.

Puzzle Park

It’s been left untouched since it closed in 2007. Pic: Tait Schmaal.

Puzzle Park

The buyer plans to transform it into a commercial agricultural business. Pic: Tait Schmaal.

But once the pandemic hit, he said the owners were forced to change their tactic.

“Our initial campaign was trying to continue what the current use was,” Mr DeMichele said.

“When COVID-19 hit, we were in the middle of the campaign. The owners had to kind of widen their scope … so we basically did an advertising campaign to cover all aspects of investors.

“It was one of those things, at the end of the day the owners had no choice.”

A year on, Mr DeMichele said the buyer planned to transform it into a commercial agricultural site after successfully lobbying Murry Bridge council to change its zoning.

“It’s ideal for the region because we are a major food hub,” he said.

“A new chapter awaits.”

As a $5 million to $6 million investment that would create 30 to 40 jobs, Mr DeMichele said it was a good result for the region.

People riding go-karts at Puzzle Park at Murray Bridge. Date unknown.

It was once one of the state’s most popular tourist destinations.

Maze at Puzzle Park in Murray Bridge 11 Oct 1990. (Pic by staff photographer Lisa Jacka)

It had a maze, waterslides and dry slides, and paddle boats. Pic: Lisa Jacka, October 11, 1990.

Go-karts at Puzzle Park at Murray Bridge.  SA
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The go-karts were also a popular attraction.

Puzzle Park opened in 1985 and for more than two decades was one of the state’s most-loved family attractions.

People flooded the park in its first year of operation, with a go-kart track, dry slides and waterslides, a giant maze, paddleboats and a giant rocking horse among its standout attractions.

But by 2004 crowds had dwindled, and after a number of sales and public liability issues, the embattled park was forced to close its doors in 2007.

According to CoreLogic, Rivergum Homes Group purchased the 398 Jervois Road property for $3.19 million in late 2007.

The intent was to construct a retirement home, however, the initiative never took off despite overwhelming council support.