I’m calling it. I’m officially declaring Dreamworld as the best theme park on the Gold Coast.
Now, I’m not saying the other parks aren’t worth a visit, but if you only have the time and budget for one Gold Coast theme park, make it Dreamworld.
And don’t just take my word for it, I have back up in the form of an expert – our 6 year old daughter Kalyra!
Yep, she’s adamant that Dreamworld is also her new favourite theme park. And that’s a big call, because only two days before visiting Dreamworld Kalyra said she had the Best. Day. Ever…at Movieworld.
She still loves Movie World, but Dreamworld is the new number one! I’m so glad daddy and daughter can agree on something.
As for the other parks on the Gold Coast they have their special thing; Sea World has the marine life, Movie World has the shows, and Wet’N Wild has the water slides.
But Dreamworld has something for everyone!
With over 50 rides and attractions, it’s the BIGGEST theme park and it’s the one park we never miss out on when we return to the Goldy.
Whether we visit as a couple, as a family of four, or like this visit with nanny and poppy, everyone can find a ride or an attraction to enjoy.
It’s simply a great family day out.
We had to choose which parks to visit because of time restraints, so we went with Dreamworld and Movie World.
Having visited Sea World and Wet’n Wild on previous trips, we thought that Dreamworld would offer the best all round value for our family of four.
And we were right!
Dreamworld is made up 13 worlds, and each world has a collection of rides, animal exhibits, and shows.
In our opinion, Dreamworld is the ultimate place for family fun. Here’s why!
5 Reasons Why Dreamworld is the Best
1. Dreamworld has the Baddest, Tallest, and Fastest Rides
For us big kids Dreamworld rocks! It has more thrill-seeking rides than the other parks.
My personal favourite is the Tower of Terror. It might be over in the blink of an eye, but it’s my all-time fave ride out of all of the theme parks.
Rocketing backwards from zero to 161 km/h in just seconds, you shoot vertically 100m up into the sky before free falling back to earth.
We always start our visit this ride, it gets the adrenaline pumping for the day ahead. And this day was no different. As soon as we got through the gates, Caz and I took on the Tower of Terror!
Sharing the same tower, but going higher into the sky, is The Giant Drop.
Caz freaked herself out on this, bit it’s the one ride I’ve yet to conquer. You all know I’m not a fan of heights, and I especially hate being suspended up high.
Climbing the SkyPoint Tower in Surfers Paradise was bad enough, but getting slowly winched 120 metres into the sky (39 storeys) and dangling up there for a minute before free-falling at the speed of gravity is not my thing.
They say it’s the closest thing to Skydiving, and I shat myself doing that in New Zealand. If you’re anything like me but find the courage to ride the Giant Drop, bring a change of underwear!
Me, I’ll stick to playing photographer.
Do not eat before you go on The Claw. Your stomach will churn up and the patrons below, and your fellow riders, won’t be happy if you lose your lunch.
The Claw swings up and down 9 stories high like a pendulum, spinning 360 degrees at the same time. It is sickening, spine tingling fun.
Have you experienced the feeling of being thrashed around in a powerful wave at the beach? Or, imagine what it’s like to be tossed into a washing machine?
Welcome to Wipeout!
Word of warning. If you have back injuries, don’t ride Wipeout. It says that on the sign, and don’t do it.
This tidal wave simulator sucks you into its massive swell and twists, tumbles, throws you upside down and then dumps you on the shore.
It seriously feels as if you’re going to get shaken out of the ride the whole time.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the newest and baddest ride at Dreamworld, BuzzSaw, was under maintenance the day we visited.
And just the sight of this ride freaked me out. It’s the highest inversion ride experience in the Southern Hemisphere. Next time. Maybe!
To round out the thrill-seekers rides there’s the Cyclone Roller Coaster and to a lesser extent, Mick Doohan’s Motocoaster.
2. Fantasy Worlds for the Little Kids
Both our girls loved being transported into Wiggles World.
Like most Aussie kids they grew up on the tunes of the Wiggles, and for a much slower pace we jumped in with them and rode the Big Red Boat Ride, the Big Red Car, Dorothy’s Rosy Teacups and posed for a photo with the one-and-only Henry the octopus.
Stepping up the pace a little we then ventured into Madagascar Madness.
King Julien is in charge here, and we dropped into King Julien’s Theatre in the Wild and enjoyed the 20-minute DreamWorks Animation Madagascar Live.
You can find all your favourite characters from Madagascar here, and King Julien was kind enough to join Kalyra, Savannah and their nan and pop for a photo op with Alex the lion.
Without a doubt Kalyra’s favourite ride at Dreamworld was the Escape from Madagascar Roller Coaster.
I think she rode it about eight times, with Caz and I sharing the fun. It’s a good intermediate coaster that most family members can enjoy.
The other ride Kalyra couldn’t get enough of was the Puss in Boots Sword Swing (chair swing).
This one left mummy a little dizzy going round-and-round but your younger one’s will love it.
As for little Savannah, she took to the skies on the back of a 1/2 dragon 1/2 donkey, otherwise known as the Dronkey Flyers.
It’s basically a mystical merry-go-round.
And she loved the old favourite, but not your average merry-go-round, this is the Ogre-Go-Round.
She jumped on a royal horse and was grinning from ear-to-ear as she galloped around and around.
3. Rides for the Whole Family
As nan and pop were in town visiting, Gold Rush was were we had our family affair of fun.
It wouldn’t be a theme park without the Thunder River Rapid rides. The rapids are pretty tame, but you can get wet as you spin your way down the foamy water.
This ride is perfect for a sit down, easy on the heart experience.
Then there’s the Log Ride, as gentle as it gets for a family ride.
But it does culminate in a giant slide down the gold mine chute with a big splash at the end.
Savannah was a little shell-shocked once we reached the bottom and despite her protesting, “I don’t want to go on that again Mummy,” I think she really enjoyed herself.
4. Australian Wildlife Experience
Sea World might have the marine life, but it’s hard for your kids not to get excited about meeting Australia’s loveable Koalas and Kangaroos.
At Dreamworld you can cuddle a koala and feed the kangaroos. What a great added bonus for the kids, and for any international travellers. This is the first time Savannah has patted a koala and Kalyra always loves feeding the roos, except getting the sloppy tongue treatment on her hand.
There are other animals to see such as Tasmanian devils, wombats, cassowaries and in the warmer months croc feeding shows.
Another great animal experience is Tiger Island.
This is where you get to witness Bengal and Sumatran tigers play, wrestle and swim with their handler’s.
Tiger Island presentations are held twice daily where you can see them scale 20 foot trees, jump between massive logs, launch ten feet into the air and demonstrate their remarkable instincts. Kalyra loved it!
If you are really brave, and have some extra money to spend then you can go on a tiger walk and have your photos taken with them.
5. Dreamworld Corroboree
An exciting new addition to Dreamworld is The Corroboree, a place to experience the Legends of Dreamtime.
Dreamworld Corroboree is an interactive walk-through experience celebrating Aboriginal culture, wildlife and stories.
This was especially great for our kids. Being on the road full-time they don’t often get a “classroom type” learning environment and having the opportunity to try hands-on activities including fire making, weapon throwing and music making was fantastic.
They always love getting their faces painted, but in the traditional aboriginal dot art way was extra special.
6. Whitewater World
Next door to Dreamworld is their very own Whitewater World, the only place in the world boasting all four of the hottest waterslides on the planet.
We didn’t get time to play here, but you can spend part of your day getting wet on the thrilling slides or swimming at the wave pool for an extra cost.
Consider getting a Holiday World Pass so you can hop between Dreamworld and WhiteWater World as often as you like over 21 consecutive days.
Tips for Dreamworld
Whether you’re visiting as a family, as a couple or with a group of friends, with more than 50 rides and attractions at Dreamworld and WhiteWater World it’s almost impossible to get through them all in one day.
The key is what day and time of year you visit, and then prioritizing the experiences you’re after – all your must-do rides, shows and activities.
Here are some tips:
- To avoid the biggest crowds, visit on a weekday and outside of school holidays and public holidays.
- Get there early. For a big park Dreamworld has pretty short opening hours 10am-5pm and is one of my only criticisms.
- Pre-purchase your ticket online which could save you up to half an hour at the gate.
- Consider the Q4U fast ride pass. If you get to Dreamworld on a busy day you could be lining up for rides for hours. For an extra $15 you can buy the Q4U pass and save up to an hour waiting on some rides. Only available on weekends and holidays.
- Go straight to the Giant Drop. The Giant Drop is not on the Q4U fast pass system and is really popular. It has few seats per ride and has a slow turnover. Go there first before the queues really start growing.
- Check out the show and activity schedule on arrival and plan your day. Hit the busy rides first before the crowds start growing and prioritize the shows. To plan your day before arriving download the app.
- Pack a picnic. The food here is theme park food, expensive and not very healthy. If you’re a large family save some money and pack your esky full of picnic food, leave it in your car and head out there at lunch time. You can get a pass out.
- Buy a Holiday World Pass – I think it would be impossible to enjoy Dreamworld AND Whitewater world on the same day. Why not hop between the two as often as you like over 21 consecutive days.
- Don’t forget sunscreen, hat and keep hydrated!
Dreamworld is open every day of the year, except Christmas Day and Anzac Day from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Get all the details including ticket prices at the official website.
We visited Dreamworld in partnership with Gold Coast Tourism.
More tips for the Gold Coast
- Springbrook National Park – the Green behind the Gold Coast
- 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do on the Gold Coast for Families
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Do you have any tips for Dreamworld?
Please share in the comments.