Australia

A guide to Australian Theme Parks with kids

Reading time: 3 minutes

Warner Bros Movie World, Gold Coast, QLD

The place for a dose of Hollywood on the Gold Coast. Meet your favourite Warner Bros movie characters and get the adrenaline pumping on some seriously thrilling rides. At the family friendly WB Fun Zone little tackers can meet their favourite Looney Tunes cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and Sylvester, while children of all ages can learn to drive at the Junior Driving School. The Justice League 3D ride is one of the most popular, where you can grab a laser blaster and fight against evil villains to save the world. A new Super-Villain Unleashed area is launching in October 2016.

Biggest thrill

Arkham Asylum and Superman Escape rollercoasters reaches seriously high speeds, and Green Lantern has the steepest inverted drop in the southern hemisphere. Note that there are height restrictions for all rides.

Insider tip

Look out for the combined VIP pass with nearby theme parks Sea World and Wet’n’Wild.

Dreamworld, Gold Coast, QLD

Australia’s largest theme park has more than 40 rides and attractions, including Corroboree, an interactive walk-through experience celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, the DreamWorks Experience where everyone’s favourite DreamWorks animation characters come to life, and the Motorsports Experience with the world’s first Hot Wheels themed rollercoaster and a substantial collection of Peter Brock racing cars. The famous Tiger Island zoo precinct will reopen in September after a major renovation.

Biggest thrill

The “Big 9” Thrill Rides are not for the feint-hearted (or the weak of pelvic floor). These include BuzzSaw, the highest inversion ride experience in the Southern Hemisphere, WipeOut which simulates the effects of a tidal wave, and The Claw, a powerful pendulum swing that goes nine storeys into the sky. There are also family rides and gentler kids’ rides.

Insider tip

Dreamworld is owned by the same crew as Whitewater World, Skypoint and Wildlife Foundation with occasional special offers for multi-park passes. The RideExpress ticket upgrade can help avoid lengthy queues.

Sea World, Gold Coast, QLD

Australia’s premier marine animal park and oceanarium also has plenty of thrill rides and other attractions. See everything from penguins to sharks in specially-created enclosures. Catch the Affinity dolphin show daily, and walk around the boardwalks of the brand new Seal Harbour, home to New Zealand Fur Seals, golden maned Australian Sea Lions and Californian Sea Lions. Sea World’s Polar Bear Shores is a prime attraction and the only exhibit in Australia where you can see the world’s largest land carnivore up close. There’s also a Discovery Trail and booklet designed for younger children. Entertainment includes the daily Affinity dolphin show, Jet Stunt Extreme and in the kid-focussed Nickelodeon Land the Turtle Power interactive action adventure.

Biggest thrill

The Jet Rescue rollercoaster.

Insider tip

Buy a VIP Magic Pass and visit sister parks Warners Brothers Movie World and Wet’n’Wild as well.

Wet’N’Wild, Gold Coast, QLD

Home to some of the biggest water slides in Australia Wet N Wild on the Gold Coast is for action enthusiasts who don’t mind getting wet. There is a mix of thrill rides and more family friendly attractions. The Flow Rider simulates a surfing wave, while Mammoth Falls takes you white water rafting in four-person tubes.

Biggest thrill

The Extreme H2O zone has rides including the terrifying Tornado and the crazy Kamikaze.

Insider tip

Families with younger kids should head for Wet n Wild Junior which has kid-friendly water slides including miniature versions of the larger thrill slides.

Adventure World, Perth, WA

Small but perfectly formed, the only theme park in the west, Adventure World, is located 20 km from the Perth city centre. Among its highlights are the Abyss rollercoaster and the Little Leaper which takes kids six metres into the air before a swift descent to the ground.

Biggest thrill

The Kraken funnel slide is the longest of its type in the world, dropping 30 metres over 260 metres.

Insider tip

The park closes during winter and reopens in September.

Jamberoo Action Park, NSW

A combined water park and theme park Jamberoo, just over an hour south of Sydney, has long been popular with NSW visitors. It boasts one of the state’s biggest wave pools in Outback Bay, Rapid River provides hours of fun on inflatable tubes, and there’s a bobsled track which combines thrills and spills with incredible views.

Biggest thrill

Funnel Web is an exhilarating water slide ride where you can reach speeds of up to 30km/hour.

Insider tip

The park closes during winter and reopens in September.


Author

Author Sally Webb is an award-winning journalist, editor and publisher specialising in travel, food and family. As founder of family travel specialists Travel Without Tears she inspires and empowers families to travel the world. An author of nine Lonely Planet guides, she’s also a mother of two. She took her son Archie on his first long-haul flight when he was three months old and hasn’t really stopped travelling since.

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