We’ve been writing a lot lately about vacation options for families and, while there are several great places to explore across Australia and overseas with your children in tow, we keep coming back to the Gold Coast. As the theme park capital of Australia, it’s a must-see for all families, at least once! If you are lucky enough to live near the Gold Coast then you’ve probably been a couple times already; if you are not, then it is worth the penny pinching all year to save up for a trip to this area – you won’t be disappointed!
Growing up in Canada, Disneyland was the be-all-end-all for family holidays; however, since moving to Australia and experiencing the Theme Park Capital, I must admit that the theme park capital is definitely my favourite family holiday destination – and I think my two kids would agree! Make sure you check out our top ten attractions when visiting the theme park capital. You don’t want to miss any of these great rides, events and performances!
1. White Christmas at Movie World – okay, maybe it’s the whole “Canadian” sentiment talking but if you have ever experienced a real white Christmas, then you know how magical and beautiful it can be. Movie World captures this feeling to perfection. It was incredible to give my kids the white Christmas experience that I grew up on without having to travel thousands of kilometers (and face the cold and jet lag) to see snow. During the school holidays the park is transformed into an enchanting winter wonderland complete with millions of Christmas lights, drizzling snow and Christmas carols. All that was needed was Michael Buble crooning in the corner….
2. Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster at Movie World– one of the reasons why I loved this one so much was because it is suitable for younger kids but still offers enough ‘thrill’ for the older ones as well. However, the ride can be a little terrifying, especially when the creatures pop out at you so be prepared!
3. The Tiger Island Show at Dreamworld – these tigers are full of character – my kids literally wanted to jump in there with the trainers and it’s easy to see why. Baru & Ravi are spunky and hilarious, especially when they take on Cub College. Be prepared for some cheeky laughter with this great show.
4. Zombie Evilution – the Battle of Kevin Hill at Dreamworld – another great new attraction to consider at Dreamworld is Zombie Evilution- the Battle of Kevin Hill which is perfect for families with older kids. This is laser combat at the extreme and even if you are not usually into warfare, this is one game that everyone should try. My stomach was literally in my chest the entire time.
5. Henry the Polar Bear at Sea World– if you could take one souvenir home with you, it would be Henry. This little polar bear has some serious attitude that will leave everyone oohing and aahing. He is new to the park and still in his bundle-of-fluff stage. You can expect heaps of toddler sass, lots of clumsy falls and plenty of giggles from the kids. Loved him!
6. The Storm Coaster at Sea World – here is a great family ride that just opened. Buckle up and enjoy a thrilling journey through amazing water and fire effects.
7. Mach 5 at Wet’n’Wild – Gold Coast is beautiful year round but if you are visiting during the summer months, then you can expect scorching hot days. I’m a sucker for family rides where everyone is shoved down a tube together and this is exactly what Mach 5 is all about. You’ll be twisted, turned and flipped down the two longest slides in the park. We were in stitches the entire time!
8. The Black Hole at Wet’n’Wild – I must have rode this one at least six times! At first it was terrifying as there are no lights and you are literally plunged into a black hole of water and waves on a two-person tube, but it’s so fantastically frightening that you can’t help but go over and over again!
9. Pipeline Plunge at WhiteWater World – WhiteWater World is attached to Dreamworld and can pay extra to get into both parks. This is definitely recommended, especially during the heat of the day. We loved the Pipeline Plunge which has been nearly refurbished and promises to cool everyone down!
10. The Green Room at WhiteWater World – this is a water ride like no other I have ever seen where you are dropped down a funnel on a four-person tube. And that’s not the end! It’s won a whole slew of awards and is a must-do, even if you feel like crapping in your pants the entire time! And, bonus, there is a conveyor belt that carries your tube to the top! So there is really no excuse not to try it….