The pros and cons of Canberra's iceless ice rink

The future is here - and it's not all drones, Big Brother style CCTV coverage and tiny microwaveable meals.

It's called 'ice skating without the ice'.

Madison Hooper, Chloe Carpenter, Jessica Element and Riley Element try Australia's first synthetic ice rink, iSkate Park. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Madison Hooper, Chloe Carpenter, Jessica Element and Riley Element try Australia's first synthetic ice rink, iSkate Park. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

As someone who feels the cold deeply, I was beside myself when I found out there is now a synthetic ice rink in Canberra (okay it opened in February, but I was busy having my portrait painted and finding Canberra's best potato scallop).

It looks and feels exactly like ice

The synthetic surface - which was shipped to Canberra all the way from Swiss company Glice - is actually self-lubricating plastic. 'No water or electricity required to run your rink,' the Glice website says.

But it's so close to ice it's scary. Like it even has that dirty area where people enter and exit the rink.

At approximately 300sqm, iSkate Park is less than a quarter of the size of a traditional ice rink, so for those kids whose version of ice skating looks like laps clinging to the barriers surrounding the ice, it just means gliding past mum and dad more often.

The boots don't smell like dirty old feet (or have shoelaces that snap off)

No more laces: the Glice skating boots. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

No more laces: the Glice skating boots. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Viewing the rack upon rack of brand new, identical, grey Glice boots is just so satisfying. The boots don't smell and they have no laces. So kids can put them on by themselves.

An 80s soundtrack to die for

Arriving at iSkate Park is like stepping back to the 1980s roller - or ice - rink of your dreams. (For me it was the Blue Light Roller Disco at the Queanbeyan YMCA.) Think neon, a giant disco ball, dimmed lighting and a soundtrack starring Toto, Madonna and Queen.

iSkate Park is basically the kids' version of my favourite 80s bar, 88mph. BIG TICK.

No need to rug up

I was there at night and it was cool but definitely not 'I can see my own breath' cold. The kids wore T-shirts and jeans. As a spectator, I didn't have to put on eight million layers and a beanie. iSkate is a winter wonderland, without the winter part.

It hurts way less when you fall

Madison Hooper, Riley Element, Jessica Element and Chloe Carpenter mid-skate. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Madison Hooper, Riley Element, Jessica Element and Chloe Carpenter mid-skate. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

CONS

The boot blades are still razor sharp

When the kids pick up their boots, they're still given the 'fall with your fists closed' safety talk. I honestly thought the boots would be entirely plastic. Not so.

So many exciting distractions

Let's be real - if you're at a venue offering not one but three awesome activities under one roof, your kids will spend approximately 50 per cent of the time at the first activity begging to do the other two activities. Also, as soon as a go-kart race kicks off, they stand at the edge of the rink and stare longingly. Which leads me to ...

The sound of the karts

I jumped a mile high when my stunning rendition of Electric Dreams was interrupted by the squeal of six power karts starting a race. But hey, the name of the activity is literally iSkate Park at Power Kart Raceway so I probably could have tried harder to manage my expectations.

The verdict: A great treat for the kids and definitely novel. Make sure you take extra cash as they're guaranteed to want to do glow-in-the-dark Jungle Golf or race the power karts afterwards.

Details: iSkate Park at Power Kart Raceway, 125 Canberra Avenue, Griffith, ACT. $11 for 30 minutes, $15 for 60 minutes or $18 for 90 minutes, plus $3 skate hire. Bookings not required. Further information at www.powerkarts.com.au

Bree Winchester's children and their friends were guests of iSkate Park.