by Joanna Tovia
The thrills never stop on the Gold Coast and the attractions set to open just in time for the summer holidays promise to be bigger and better than ever.
As the days become warmer and the year nears its end, kids and adults alike start to look forward to a fun-filled holiday in the sun. Whether you’re a regular Gold Coast visitor or it’s your family’s first foray into this adventure wonderland, the new rides, attractions and things to do are likely to ramp excitement levels up to fever pitch.
With amazing water and fire effects at every turn, Sea World’s newly constructed Storm Coaster simulates a danger-fraught ride through a storm-ravaged container port. This coaster is the latest in an already action-packed collection of activities at Sea World. The Castaway Bay adventure playground will keep any child amused with 80 water cannons to fire and a sky fortress to explore. The exhilarating Jet Rescue ride puts you aboard your own jet ski and will appeal to all adrenalin junkies, while younger children will get a kick out of the rides and attractions built just for them – they can drive Beach Dump Trucks, splash around in the Splash Capsule, or ride the carousel to their heart’s content.
Wet ‘n’ Wild
Australia’s first Constrictor ride has just been unveiled, delivering 360-degree coils in the belly of a snake before splashing into the wild waters below. Labelled ‘the mother of all water slides’, as long as your kids are taller than 110cm they’ll be able to slip and slide their way through the snake as they take on tight turns and accelerate to speeds of 30km/h. Other Wet ‘n’ Wild favourites will deliver endless family fun – the giant wave pool is eternally popular, and the four huge transparent looping slides on the Aqualoop are just one of many fetures sure to keep kids entertained all day long.
Not to be outdone, Dreamworld’s newest attraction promises adrenalin-pumping fun for anyone brave enough to tackle it. The Claw has been designed to look like the paw of a 3D velociraptor – ‘the most terrifying talon in the world’. The pendulum swings dare-devils nine storeys high at speeds of 64km/h while twisting in 360-degree full circles. Dreamworld has some of the boldest scream rides on the Gold Coast, but there are also a host of tamer rides the whole family will enjoy – the Shrek-themed Ogre-Go-Round carousel and Thunder River Rapids Ride to name but two.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
The Gold Coast isn’t all about thrills and spills. There are some spectacular nature-based attractions too that, while they may take the pace down a notch, are just as appealing for the kids. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has achieved the perfect balance with hundreds of native birds and animals on display in their natural bushland and rainforest settings, as well as bird shows, koala cuddles and Segway safaris. Adventure seekers will love monkeying around at Currumbin’s newest attraction – the Green Challenge. There are four exhilarating tree-top ropes courses for children and adults (children must measure at least 160cm from heels to the middle of both hands stretched overhead). High Tarzan swings and a giant flying fox will test the mettle of even the bravest in your brood.
Kids over eight will get a big kick out of the new Infinity journey into a high-tech futuristic maze of 20 multi-sensory worlds of special effects, sound fields, ‘ultra-groovy’ music and optical illusions. One ‘world’ invites you to step inside an immersive electronic canvas, described as a new form of artistic expression. This psychedelic sparkly maze takes around 40 minutes to complete and is as funny as it is fun.
Drax 4 Kids
Dracula’s cabaret performances are usually targeted at adults, but the venue now promises to deliver spooky fun to the little monsters in your family when the doors creak open on Saturdays at midday. Drax 4 Kids is a fast-paced interactive stage production with a gothic theme. A Spooky Coaster animatronic ghost train transports families into the main auditorium where a world of interactive games, high-tech imagery and special effects await. Live music, comedy, puppetry, dancing and an aerial circus complete this mind-dazzling experience.
Gold Coast Whale Watching Tours
If action-packed excitement and fun in the sun have left your children all tuckered out, a three-hour Coolangatta Whale Watch cruise could be just the ticket to revive them. With a 100 percent success rate from June to November for the past seven years, the chances of seeing a variety of whales are excellent. A marine biologist provides insight into the amazing world of marine animals along the way.