Love your theme parks? Hit the Gold Coast!
Known for its endless sunshine, beautiful beaches and 24-7 party atmosphere, the Gold Coast certainly hits the spot when it comes to entertainment value. But there’s a whole lot more to getting cheap thrills than just hitting the clubs or catching a face-planting wave. With four of the best theme parks in Australia along the one strip of freeway, the GC is where you can discover a whole new meaning to the term ‘adrenaline junky’.
Probably the tamest of the lot in terms of thrill seeking, but Sea World still packs a decent punch in terms of wildlife experiences.
Polar Bear Shores is the only exhibit in Australia where you can see the world’s largest land carnivore up close (watching them swim underwater is also way cool), Seal Harbour will give you playful glimpses of these blatant attention seekers, Dolphin Beach hosts daily circus-trick-type presentations and Penguin Encounter showcases a range of these lively birds in action, including the largest species in the world, the King Penguin.
Check out Shark Bay lagoon (the largest man-made system in the world) for glimpses of a range of toothy predators and get up close and personal with one of the ocean’s most misunderstood creatures at the Ray Reef.
Rides? Yes, there are few including the Storm Coaster with its splashdown elements, Jet Rescue, a jet-ski roller coaster that surprises with several fast directional changes, and Castaway Bay’s Sky Climb where you test your balance twelve metres above the ground. Sounds lame, but try negotiating it with a bunch of screaming ten year olds.
Warner Bros. Movie World
Although a little kid-biased as well, Movie World is still trippy fun with its roving super heroes and cartoon characters, and it does have a few decent rides. The Arkham Asylum rollercoaster hits speeds of up to 85k’s an hour and its five stomach-churning inversions will have you pulling 4.2G’s along the way.
The Superman Escape gives a satisfying rush with its acceleration from 0 to 100k’s an hour in two seconds, and the Batwing Spaceshot will have you reaching a height of 61 metres as you shoot upwards at around 64 kilometres an hour.
The monstrously looping 21-metre-high Doomsday Destroyer (and its giant mechanical arms) gives a 2.4G hit and the Green Lantern is a terrifying treat for rollercoaster fiends. Characterised by its tight circuit featuring a beyond-vertical drop, it’s the steepest you’ll find in the Southern hemisphere (and it’s also the second steepest in the world).
Wet’N’Wild Gold Coast
If you’re after a little H20 with your adrenalin high, then Wet’N’Wild more than satisfies with a bunch of rides that will enable you to mask those little-bit-of-wee moments throughout the day. Attempt the Aqua Loop and you’ll start the experience by standing in a capsule above a trap door. After a (too) quick countdown, you’ll free fall for 12 metres feet first before fully looping at around 60k’s an hour.
From the outside the Black Hole looks like a pre-schooler’s paradise, however the level of pitch darkness and a top speed of an out-of-control 40k’s is the thing that makes this one uber-fun. Prepare for an insight into what it feels like to be a blind, drowned rat.
The Tornado with its giant funnel is a blast if only for the fact that you can share the joy with your closest comrades and enjoying seeing their caught-on-camera faces at the end. Scared? As if.
And for some more two-person action, check out the Kamikaze where you can shake it up with a little zero gravity action. Plunging down a near-vertical 11-metre drop at a steep 70 degree angle will have you reaching speeds of up to 50k’s, while holding onto the person next to you for dear life. Perfect for the romantics out there.
And finally, one of the park’s newest additions is the SkyCoaster. You’re strapped in a harness attached to a massive cable, you get winched to the top of a 53-metre-high tower and then you’re expected to pull your own ripcord in order to plummet face first (at 60k’s an hour) towards the ground.
Besides its Supercar racing simulators, WhiteWater World’s waterslides and the pretend-you’re-a-real-surfer Flowride, Dreamworld also has a great assortment of undie-soiling rides.
The BuzzSaw, the highest inversion ride in the Southern Hemisphere, begins with a 46-metre ascent before flipping you upside down at around 15 storeys, free-falling through a 360 degree turn and plummeting you down a final vertical drop at speeds of up to 105k’s an hour.
Or try the most powerful pendulum on the planet, The Claw, where you’ll travel nine storeys into the air while swinging at up to 75k’s an hour (and spinning 350 degrees). Gravity is certainly not your friend with this one.
The Giant Drop, at 39 storeys tall, is the highest free-falling ride in the world. Prepare to be winched slowly to the top and after an excruciating wait, plummet to the ground at around 135 kilometres an hour – before a (thankfully) sophisticated magnetic braking system stops the ride.
And finally, the Tower of Terror. One of the most technologically advanced rides in the world, you’ll experience a teeth-grating few seconds of eerie silence, before you’re blasted backwards out of a 206 metre tunnel at around 161k’s an hour. You’ll then soar 100 metres into the atmosphere for a few seconds before experiencing a stomach-churning weightlessness as you come back to earth – face first. Awes.
Breakdowns can certainly up the adrenaline, but not in a good way. But we’ve gotU. Just pay as you go … as you need it!*