A Family Guide To Australia's Best Theme Parks

17 December 2014

With school holidays fast approaching, it's time to start thinking about activities to keep the kids entertained during the break. Plan your summer visit to Australia’s best theme parks with our handy guide.
.........................................................................................................................................................

Dreamworld - Gold Coast

.........................................................................................................................................................

 Upside down on the Buzzsaw (credit: Tourism and Events Queensland)

Perfect for all ages, Dreamworld has a series of themed areas to suit pint-sized toddlers right through to adrenalin junkies. Park hop between Dreamworld and WhiteWater World, ‘wiggle’ your way through the kids’ areas, and hold on tight for hair-raising fun with the Big Nine Thrill Rides.

For the young ones:

Wiggly, wriggly and giggly; entertainment and pint-sized fun await in Dreamworld’s Wiggle World. The DreamWorks Experience is filled with live shows and famous characters, and kids can take to the skies on the back of ‘dronkeys’ on the mini merry-go-round and spin through the air on the Puss in Boots Sword Swing.

For the whole family:

Those that haven’t graduated to the Big Nine will love the exciting Escape to Madagascar roller-coaster. Dreamworld classics like the Rocky Hollow Log Ride and Thunder River Rapids Ride still continue to thrill riders – just don’t forget your poncho! A visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing tigers play, swim and wrestle at Tiger Island.

For the thrill seekers:

You have all the ingredients for a hair-raising day out at your fingertips, from the record-breaking heights of the Giant Drop and Tower of Terror 2; to the twists and loops of the Wipeout and Cyclone with Dreamworld’s Big Nine. Newer instalments like the Buzzsaw, Pandamonium and Tail Spin will have you screaming from side to side, back to front and upside down at up to 3.8 Gs!

Thrill-o-meter:

5 out of 5 G-forces
.........................................................................................................................................................

Warner Bros. Movie World - Gold Coast

.........................................................................................................................................................

 Movieworld's Fountain of Fame and Superman Escape (credit: Village Roadshow Theme Parks)

Warner Bros. Movie World comes to life with Hollywood razzle dazzle, heart-stopping rides and shows that will make your jaw drop. Warner Bros. Movie World is a must for movie buffs and keen adventurers. Lights, camera, action!

For the young ones:

Kid’s WB Fun Zone is where you’ll find all your favourite Looney Tunes characters. The kids will love getting caught up in the zany excitement of rides like the Road Runner Rollercoaster and Junior Drive School. Don’t miss the antics of Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote in the Main Street Parade.

For the whole family:

There's also a generous heaping of attractions and shows that will appeal to Mum and Dad. Get a front row seat at the high octane Hollywood Stunt Driver 2 show; join a thrilling journey on Rio: The 4D Experience; and hang on to your cowboy hats as you all plummet down the waterfall on the Wild West Falls Adventure Ride.

For the thrill seekers:

While you may associate Scooby Doo with the cheesy cartoon, Movie World’s Spooky Coaster is a far cry from a kid’s ride; you’ll be surprisingly spooked by this indoor coaster. Superman Escape and Green Lantern Coaster offer thrills of the galactic kind, while the Justice League Alien Invasion is an interactive 3D experience unlike anything you’ve seen before in Australia.

Thrill-o-meter:

4 out of 5 G-forces
.........................................................................................................................................................

Sea World - Gold Coast

.........................................................................................................................................................

 Castaway Bay (credit: Village Roadshow Theme Parks)

Sea World is a fascinating day out that combines marine education with family fun and excitement. Swim with the sharks, cuddle up to dolphins and get up close and personal to penguins and seals. Pack your swimmers too – you can also cool off in the pools and water slides of the Water Park.

For the young ones:

Sea World is primed for the littlies. There’s so much marine life to encounter and the kids can dip their fingers into ‘Ray Reef’ to touch, feed and observe rays; don 3D glasses for the hilarious Spongebob Squarepants show; and spend hours splashing around in Beach Break Bay.

For the whole family:

Castaway Bay, Sea World’s interactive playground has something for both the young and young at heart from the towering Sky Fortress to the awesome Sky Climb. Mum, Dad and the kids can ‘fight crime’ alongside the comedic sea lions at the Fish Detectives show and witness the grace and agility of dolphins at ‘Imagine’.

For the thrill seekers:

While Sea World doesn’t have the same white-knuckle exhilaration of its Gold Coast counterparts, the park still boasts its fair share of gripping attractions. Speed around the tracks on the Jet Rescue and brave the elements on the Storm Coaster – a word of warning though; you will get drenched!

Thrill-o-meter:

2 out of 5 G-forces
.........................................................................................................................................................

Wet’n’Wild Water World – Gold Coast

.........................................................................................................................................................

 The funnel of the epic Tornado at Wet'n'Wild (credit: Tourism and Events Queensland)

Australia’s premier water park has a long established reputation for aquatic excitement. Whether you want to simply chill out and float down a lazy river, catch some waves or face your fears on one of the mammoth waterslides, Wet’n’Wild Water World has something for everyone.

For the young ones:

Water babies don’t have to miss out on the big-kid fun with the recently unveiled Wet’n’Wild Junior. The area has been specially designed for children and features kid-friendly, miniature versions of thrill slides like the Aqua Racers, as well as a multi-level play zone complete with a giant tipping bucket.

For the whole family:

Those that prefer to soak than splash, or for the family who needs a break from the raging rapids, Wet’n’Wild has it covered. Float along with the current at Calypso Bay; take a break in one of the spas at Whirlpool Springs, or cool off in the shallows as the waves roll in at the Giant Wave Pool.

For the thrill seekers:

If you’ve got a need for speed, make a beeline to Wet’n’Wild’s Extreme H2O zone. Adrenalin-inducing twists and turns in total darkness await on the Blackhole, while you can experience the sensation of zero gravity and an 11 metre drop on the Kamikaze.

Thrill-o-meter:

3 out of 5 G-forces
.........................................................................................................................................................

Wet’n’Wild - Sydney

.........................................................................................................................................................


Australia’s newest water park is making waves in Sydney’s west. Wet’n’Wild Sydney draws many similarities to its Gold Coast equivalent, albeit with a few more adrenalin-pumping thrills. From the calm to the extreme, this sprawling park features over 40 slides and attractions.

For the young ones:

Wet’n’Wild Junior has been taken over by Nickelodeon! Dubbed Nickelodeon Beach, the exclusive kid zone is home to roaming characters like Dora and Spongebob, a mini lazy river and 10 slides based on the park’s large thrill rides.

For the whole family:

Why not regroup as a family for a bit of R&R at one of the many swimming areas? Slow down the pace as you ride the gentle current in Boomerang Bay, or soak up the sun over some lunch on the shores of Australia’s biggest wave pool, The Beach.

For the thrill seekers:

Wet’n’Wild’s slides are not for the faint hearted. Rides like 360Rush, Bombora, Half Pipe and Tantrum will have you catapulting down near-vertical drops, twisting around bends and defying gravity before spitting you out into the white water.

Thrill-o-meter:

4 out of 5 G-forces
.........................................................................................................................................................

Adventure World – Perth

.........................................................................................................................................................


Just south of Perth and 10 minutes from Fremantle is Western Australia’s most iconic amusement park. A one-stop entertainment shop, Adventure World combines water playgrounds, themed lands and white-knuckle inducing scares to offer something for each and every family member.

For the young ones:

Young explorers will be enchanted by Dragon’s Kingdom, a medieval land that offers the adventure of a lifetime. Kids can take the wheel in mini Jeeps to travel along a safari track, and the Little Leaper is perfect for those who aren’t quite tall enough to ride the Freefall.

For the whole family:

Beat the sultry Perth heat at Adventure World’s Kingdom Falls and Kahuna Falls. The little ones can splash around beneath the tipping buckets, while big kids will love the Rocky Mountain Rapids and Speed Slides.

For the thrill seekers:

Adrenalin seekers rejoice! There are six rides that are dubbed ‘extreme and not for the faint hearted'. Get caught in the web of the Black Widow as you spin 57 feet into the air, or brave the 100 foot drop, loops and 4.5 G-forces of the menacing and eerie Abyss.

Thrill-o-meter:

4 out of 5 G-forces

Anna Howard

Give me street food over Michelin stars, cellar doors over wine bars and small towns and wide open spaces over big cities any day. Travel for me means ticking off the 'to eat and drink' list one regional flavour and wine bottle at a time.