Now is the perfect time to book a trip to the Gold Coast’s famous theme parks
Blessed with sun, surf and sand, the Gold Coast is Australia’s most popular family holiday playground. But it’s not only the region’s beaches that attract visitors, with its abundance of theme parks also playing a significant role. Whether you want to hit the rides and rollercoasters of Dreamworld, meet friendly marine life at Sea World or be transported into rural Australia at the Outback Spectacular, here are 7 Gold Coast theme parks to add to your itinerary.
1. Sea World
Encompassing an impressive array of rides, shows and animal encounters, Sea World immerses you in our marine environment. It’s home to Antarctic penguins, polar bears and seals, as well as the world’s largest man-made shark lagoon. You can learn about the park’s conservation and breeding programs at the Dolphin Nursery Pool and Seabird Rehabilitation Aviary, then see its talented mammals in action during live shows. The Nickelodeon character meet and greets will appeal to younger kids, while older ones will be in awe watching the Thunder Lake stunt show. While most attractions are included in the entrance fee, you can pay extra for ‘Animal Adventures’, that range from reef snorkelling to a Marine Rescue Ranger Program.
As Australia’s biggest theme park, Dreamworld is the first port of call for many families visiting the Gold Coast. It’s designed around several themed lands that include Tiger Island, the Ocean Parade and Gold Rush Country. You can brave the thrilling inversion of the Buzzsaw rollercoaster or enjoy a ride on the gentler Dreamworld Express before getting up close to Australian wildlife at Corroboree. Dreamworld is also home to ABC Kids World, where young visitors can meet some of their favourite TV characters and enjoy rides inspired by The Wiggles, Giggle and Hoot and Bananas in Pyjamas.
3. Whitewater World
Just next to Dreamworld you’ll find Whitewater World, which celebrates Australia’s enviable beach culture at its 10 themed attractions. Kids of all ages will love the Cave of Waves, where the gentle swell is accompanied by the guttural groans of Huey the Surf God, while young punters can get active at the water-themed fort of Pipeline Plunge. There are plenty of waterslides that will appeal to all adrenalin levels, ranging from the Little Rippers to Fully 6 and the Green Room funnel. All the beaches and pools are patrolled by lifeguards and there are luxury cabanas dotted throughout the park where you can kick back for the day. While the Park is closed during the cooler months, it reopens in time for the September school holidays.
4. Warner Bros. Movie World
Inspired by Universal Studios Hollywood, Warner Bros. Movie World is located beside the Village Roadshow Studios and is the only film-related theme park in Australia. While there are thrill rides such as the DC Rivals Hypercoaster, the Batwing Spaceshot and the Wild West Falls flume, the experience here is more about live shows featuring some of your favourite movie characters. Watch as Catwoman sneaks precious jewellery out of a department store, go behind-the-scenes with a stunt driver, then dance along as the Looney Tunes characters make their way down Main Street. Avid film fans shouldn’t miss a visit to the WB Studio Showcase, where you’ll find the largest exhibition of Warner Bros’ costumes, cars and props in the Southern Hemisphere.
5. Australian Outback Spectacular
In this technologically impressive show, journey into Australia’s heartland to experience the life of struggling farmers, Reg and Marge. The Australian Outback Spectacular takes place in a large arena where you’ll meet some of Australia’s most endearing animals and unlikely characters as you discover the evocative, yet often unforgiving, nature of life on the land. Accompanied by a three-course meal that supports local farmers, it’s a fascinating glimpse into rural life for city-dwelling families, showcasing the courage, bravery and generosity of outback communities. There are also plenty of great photo ops available before and after the show, from the rustic cattle station to pics with the show dogs.
6. Paradise Country
Set on a sprawling Australian homestead, Paradise Country brings together wildlife encounters and farm-themed demonstrations, with a bit of Shaun the Sheep thrown in. Jump aboard Shaun’s Tractor for a scenic ride around the property and let loose in the interactive Pig’s Playground before discovering the crazy contraptions of the Scraps & Taps water play area. Kids can try their hand at opal mining and gold panning, or see what it takes to shear a sheep and herd a flock. There’s a Farmyard Play Paddock and Nursery where you can get hands-on with domesticated animals, as well as exhibits featuring Tasmanian devils and marmosets.
If you’ve got keen golfers in the family, then you won’t want to miss a visit to this golfing playground. That being said, it’s ideal for novices and naysayers too, with live music and a chef-inspired menu to accompany your game of golf. From your private bay, the idea is to hit micro-chipped golf balls into giant outfield targets, with greater accuracy and distance earning you more points. When it’s not your turn, you can feast on American-inspired dishes, such as buffalo wings and burgers. Want to develop your golf skills with a certified pro? Topgolf is also staffed by coaches who can work with everyone, from absolute beginners to seasoned players.