Gold Coast is known for its magnificent beaches and laid-back sun, sand and surf lifestyle. It’s also famed for being home to one of the world’s top amusement parks, namely Dreamworld. A lot of amusement parks play true to one main theme, be it thrilling rides, movie and character-based attractions, or kid-friendly activities to visit as a family.
Dreamworld decided to go the “all of the above” route, encompassing attractions for every age and preferred level of thrill within an 85-hectare space. That’s the size of close to 210 football fields, mind you, making it the largest amusement park in Australia. Here’s a guide on what you can expect, and the best attractions to make time for:
Dreamworld didn’t seal its acclaimed reputation through run-of-the-mill rides. If you fancy yourself a daredevil of sorts, strap in and check these high-level rides off your adrenaline-chasing bucket list.
Having opened in December 2021, the Steel Taipan is the newest addition to Dreamworld, situated right near the entrance and kicking things off on a high octane level. It’s the first and so far only “triple launch” roller coaster in Australia, meaning there are 3 separate points of acceleration, including one backwards one. Gulp.
Besides reverse launches, those in the rear seats are at the mercy of physics, spinning 360° freely.
Image credit: Renae Cheng
As if that’s not enough, there are even a pair of fully rotating seats at the back of the ride, reserved for the bravest of the brave. Throw caution to the wind as you and an equally fearless soul spin freely in all directions, with the ride reaching speeds of up to 105km/h.
Amusement ride fanatics are all too familiar with that “heart dropping” sensation. And with The Giant Drop, you can bet that the feeling will sink right to your loins. The ride involves a 119m tall ascent, which equals roughly 24 storeys.
Image credit: Renae Cheng
The thrill is mostly psychological, with a pretty slow-paced journey upwards. This allows you to build up a mix of anticipation and lowkey dread and panic as your feet dangle further away from the ground. After a brief moment in the air where you can catch a bird’s-eye view of the entire park, you’ll free-fall at speeds reaching 135km/h. I’m quaking just writing this.
Not one for those who are prone to getting dizzy, The Claw is in the amusement park hall of fame as one of the most thrilling pendulum rides in the world. This mammoth measures 27.1m tall – which is close to 8 storeys – and spins at speeds of up to 64km/h.
A choose-your-own-adventure in ride form, Tail Spin is where your fate literally lies in your hands. Climb aboard a mini aeroplane which is perched 22m high, bobbing up and down for a chill default ride. You can enjoy the breeze as you take in the park’s sights, and whenever you feel like it, the seats are fitted with controls which activate rapid spins.
Its 33km/h speed is relatively tamer than the predecessors on this list, but you can still get proper topsy-turvy by pressing the “spin” button non-stop.
The Sky Voyager is a 4-dimensional (4D) virtual reality ride that lets you feel the same thrill of soaring through the skies, without the height and heart-dropping factor which deter some people from riding roller coasters.
It’s called a flying theatre as it makes use of an ultra wide screen and surround sound system – very immersive. Once everyone is strapped in, the seats extend past the platform, leaving you “floating” against the widescreen display.
“Fly” through destinations like whitewaters in Queensland, the Twelve Apostles in Victoria, Cradle Mountains in Tasmania, and even through a flurry of fireworks set against the iconic Sydney Harbour.
The 4D nature of the ride also means that there are gusts of wind blowing at you, mist sprays as you go past oceans, and even the scents of flower fields and grassy plains.
Travelling with children makes for lasting memories for the whole fam, but it can be tough to keep little ones entertained especially during long outings. Over at Dreamworld, there’s an entire section dedicated to children’s play zones, called the ABC Kids World Fun Spot.
They can frolic about and explore the many kid-friendly rides, like the Play School Ferris Wheel, Big Red Boat – a rocking tug boat ride, and Dorothy’s Rosy Tea Cup Ride.
Snap pics against bright and colourful photo op stations themed after popular Australian cartoons and kids shows, such as Bananas In Pyjamas and The Wiggles.
Make sure to refer to their online schedule for Daily Shows and Character Appearances. The kiddos are bound to be delighted by the sight of adorable characters come to life, even if they might not be familiar with the Aussie programmes.
I mean, who can resist seeing the cuteness of Dreamworld’s koala mascots – Kenny and Belinda, or Dorothy the Dinosaur from The Wiggles?
Those who fancy a bit of audience participation might even be called up on stage.
Image credit: @kimsarang0404
Beyond the children’s play zone, there are similar character-driven daily shows at Dreamworld’s various movie-themed zones. Expect to see live performances from franchises like Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and Shrek, starring iconic characters like Po, King Julien, and of course – everyone’s favourite swamp-dwelling ogre.
Entrance to the oriental-themed Kung Fu Panda zone, where visitors love snapping pics with the faux-jade lion guards.
Themed rides are aplenty too, and the thrill level sits comfortably in between the 2 categories listed above. This means that grownups and young ones alike are able to enjoy them, and parents can hop aboard rides like the Escape From Madagascar* family roller coaster and Dronkey Flyers – featuring the Dragon-Donkey babies from Shrek – together with their kids.
*Note: The Escape From Madagascar roller coaster is currently undergoing maintenance and is set to reopen on 21st June 2022.
Other than the elaborately decorated movie zones which transport you to different vibes and surroundings within the same amusement park, Dreamworld also has a bunch of aesthetic photo spots.
The first photo-worthy zone you’ll see upon entering the park is a row of colourful shops. Fun fact: these shops aren’t just for show, and they’re actually open for business, selling confectionery and ice cream.
Besides selling light bites to stave your hunger, this retro-style churro stand is also a hotspot for snap-happy visitors.
Image adapted from: @_cyndixx
One of the most iconic things to do in Melbourne is to snap pics against the vibrant Brighton Bathing Boxes. Fret not if a Victoria stopover isn’t part of your Aussie trip, as Dreamworld has created a replica setup right in Gold Coast.
It’s decked out in pastel shades for a more whimsical look.
Lounge on larger-than-life beach chairs for a “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” optical illusion.
Image credit: @k41gu31fi
The entrance to the wildlife zone is adorned with beautiful Aboriginal-inspired motifs.
As if there weren’t enough things to do and see in a single visit, Dreamworld really said “let’s include a mini zoo”. An entire zone dedicated to wildlife experiences means visitors young and old can see a diverse range of animals, including rare and endangered species.
Open concept enclosures allow the wildlife to freely roam about, while remaining a safe distance from visitors.
Stroll through the animal exhibits to see over 10 species of unique animals, including those that are native to the Land Down Under. The wildlife zone is divided into 4 sections, with each designed to closely resemble their real natural habitats and ecosystems.
The different zones are Rainforest, Woodlands (not the MRT station in Singapore), Wetlands, and Arid – AKA the Australian outback.
There are even free-roaming kangas you can get super up-close to, with caution.
See iconic Australian symbols like the emu, kangaroo, dingo, Tasmanian devil, wombat, and of course – cuddly koalas. It’s also a rare opportunity to catch glimpses of species that are highly endangered, like the bilby, where only 400 to 600 are left in the wild.
If seeing these adorable critters and hearing their stories of endangerment tug at your heartstrings, it’s not too late for you to play a part in possibly preventing their extinction. You can learn more about conservation through the Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation, and even adopt an animal from just AU$20 (~S$19.47).
This means you’ll choose a specific animal – including tigers, bilbies and tree kangaroos – and get a Certificate of Adoption, personalised letter from the Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation, and a photo of your adoptee. 100% of the adoption fee will go towards wildlife support projects.
Available every Friday to Sunday, you can also pay AU$24.95 (~S$24.29) per person for a koala cuddling and photo-taking session.
The price is inclusive of the souvenir photo print-out, but take note that participants have to be at least 135cm tall in order to actually cuddle the koala. If not, you can still snap a pic with the cute marsupials while just standing beside them instead.
If you’ve managed to squeeze in all the Dreamworld activities and wish to max out your itinerary while in the area, there’s a whole other theme park located about an 8-minute drive away. Think of Warner Bros Movie World as something similar to our very own USS, with movie-themed exhibits and rides.
The highlight is the DC Rivals Hyper Coaster, which clinches the record for being the longest, tallest and fastest hyper coaster in the Southern Hemisphere.
What’s the difference between a roller coaster and a hyper coaster, you ask? Well, rides are classified as roller coasters if they feature a drop of up to 60m tall, whereas hyper coasters achieve drops as high as 100m. Big gulp.
If you’re the chill type, there’s also plenty of interesting exhibits within Movie World that’ll keep movie buffs entertained for hours. Look out for seasonal exhibits like the Batman showcase, displaying actual costumes and props from the franchise. You can stay tuned to upcoming exhibits by checking the WB Studio Showcase info page before your trip.
Kids will love the character parades, where you can see favourites like Tom & Jerry, DC Heroes and Looney Tunes coming to life.
Warner Bros Movie World
Address: Pacific Motorway, Oxenford Gold Coast, Queensland 4210, Australia
Price: $99/adult, $89/child aged 3-13, free for children below 3
Opening hours: 9.30am-5pm, Daily
Telephone: +61 13 33 86
Unless you’re flying solo, it can be tough to plan overseas itineraries which everyone in the group can agree with. There are different types of amusement parks out there catering to different interests and thrill levels, but Gold Coast Dreamworld is a single park which ticks every box.
Whether you’re travelling with children in tow or those who prefer tamer rides, rest assured that there are plenty of chill rides and attractions to keep them busy. Meanwhile, the more adventurous folks can take to the skies one exhilarating roller coaster after the other.
With daily character shows, photo ops and wildlife exhibits all within the same park as well, your day out will be packed to the brim with things to do. All you have to do is make sure you’ve dedicated an entire day to exploring Dreamworld, to avoid rushing around and leaving at sundown without seeing everything the park has to offer.
Address: Dreamworld Parkway, Coomera Queensland 4209, Australia
Price: $99/adult, $89/child aged 3-13, free for children below 3
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10.30am-4pm | Sat-Sun 10am-5pm
Telephone: +61 7 5588 1111
Check out our other amusement park guides:
Photography by Chan Huiwen.
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