Dreamworld Gold Coast, near Brisbane and Surfers Paradise is the largest theme park in Australia and has a huge water park next door too. It has won numerous awards for the park itself, the animal collection and various cultural exhibits too, so it’s definitely worth checking out – and not only for families either.
when we went in late February on a Thursday it was pretty quiet so queues weren’t too bad for rides or food.
We ate at grid burgers and sports bar in the motor sports experience area. There was a wait for the food, but we were warned of this and told that all food is cooked to order. We had nachos and fully loaded fries along with a drink each which came to $31 or so… For a theme park I thought this was pretty reasonable, and the food was both tasty and came as huge portions! We sat outside but you can also sit insider where you can admire the huge sports car collection.
later on before leaving we went to Main Street where we had some ice cream in the ice cream parlour. Once again the portions are huge and having had a double scoop I have no idea how anyone could manage anything bigger – I couldn’t even finish that. The rainbow one is delicious by the way.
Now i need to start by saying that we originally came here for the animal collection which I will cover below but thought, while we were at the largest theme park in Australia we might as well do some roller coasters too!
we went on the hot wheel side winder first, just after lunch and having seen all the animals. The queue was tiny but the walk up to it was long and very winding. The ride itself is pretty good- quite fast with some quick turns and even a couple of loops. However I came to the park with quite a headache – we only got to Australia. Couple of days earlier and I was still suffering a little jet lag and getting used to the sun. The controller said put your head back – don’t do this! Leaning forward was ok but as soon as I head my head back the ride whipped and rattled my head like nobodies business and my headache got so much worse… Sadly that was all for the rides due to my head… Shame, but as I said we actually came for the animal park.
the animal collection is pretty big and for a theme park they actually do a great amount of conservation work… They even house the second largest koala colony in captivity here which is great from a captive breeding point of view.
there are a few Australian species here including a number of birds, wombats, koalas, bilbies, kangaroos (in a walk through exhibit where you can buy food for them), squirrel gliders, Tasmanian Devils and lumholtz’s tree kangaroo – so quite a few species I have never seen before. They do also have dingoes but sadly these were off display when we went.
in Queensland it is legal to hold a koala while being supervised (note that in other states the rules differ so you cannot do this everywhere), so this is a very popular thing to do here… The koalas are only used for a short period and you do see them get taken away in replaced quite often. Later in the day you can also hold some reptiles and birds of prey.
there are a few animal talks and demonstrations throughout the day, including a sheep shearing demonstration, koala talk and tiger talk where they also have a short show with the Tigers. The Tigers look really happy with the show and very healthy. Most of the behaviours are natural ones and some of the taught ones are very basic just for moving them around… This isn’t some jumping through flaming hoops being whipped circus show. As they explain they won’t guarantee that they will show any of the bahaviours as the trainers won’t force them to do anything. All in all a really cool show, and obviously very popular… Their tabby tiger (cross between a normal and white) is absolutely gorgeous by the way.