Dreamworld

Every travel destination has a few must-dos. You’re obligated to take an Eiffel Tower selfie in Paris, you should consider a tram ride to Victoria Peak whenever in Hong Kong and what’s a visit to San Francisco if you haven’t seen the Golden Gate Bridge? The same rules apply in Australia. When travelling Down Under, a hike along the rugged coastline is a must…

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… and you should act surprised when seeing a tropical, sandy beach right in the middle of Brisbane.

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Every visitor needs to make a few pictures of this architectural miracle…

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… and you should be seeing wildlife. Lots of wildlife, actually. Photo’s of these sleepy beauties are a must…

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… and spotting dingos – no, these aren’t just ordinary dogs – is at least as exciting.

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Whoever says Australia, says kangaroos. Visiting this country without seeing a kangaroo is definitely a huge fail.

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But what if you don’t manage to see those animals in their natural habitat? Does that automatically mean that your holiday is a disaster? Not necessarily: if your trip itinerary includes Gold Coast, there’s always the possibility to spend a day at Dreamworld. There, you’ll be able to watch all those animals you’ve missed in the Australian rainforest or the Outback.

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Dreamworld is much more than a regular zoo. This place is known as Australia’s biggest theme park and it offers a total of 5 rollercoasters, some thrilling flat rides lots of attractions for the whole family.

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You won’t find any Universal or Disney theme parks in Australia, but Dreamworld is clearly influenced by them. Especially the movie soundtracks and the slowly turning globe at the park’s main square remind me of Universal…

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… while some of the facades look like they’ve been literally inspired by Emporium on Disney’s Main Street USA.

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Dreamworld’s Main Street will soon be home to the park’s newest attraction. Behind those Emporium-like walls, they’re currently constructing a Flying Theatre like Soarin’ at Disney or Voletarium at Europa-Park. It will be built on the location of the former Thunder River Rapids Ride, which was closed after a tragic accident on 25th October 2016.

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Thunder Rapids was the main attraction of the Town of Gold Rush, the park’s wild west themed section. Nowadays, this area’s most popular attraction is a Maurer SkyLoop coaster called BuzzSaw. During my previous visit in 2016, I found out that it’s a horrible ride. Restraints are uncomfortable and the overall experience is very rough. The ride is closed because of yearly maintenance today, but that doesn’t bother me at all.

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Dreamworld is home to one of the world’s tallest free fall towers. They didn’t choose the most original name (The Giant Drop), but the ride’s oil rig theme is pretty nice. And believe me… this is one of the most thrilling rides on Earth.

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I’m not a huge fan of drop towers, but this one’s a must-do. The Giant Drop is a breathtaking, very exciting experience.

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Queensland is known as Australia’s Sunshine State and temperatures are pretty high year-round. That’s why water rides are very popular at Dreamworld. Today’s longest queues can be found at Rocky Hollow Log Ride. That’s not only due to the heat, but the ride’s capacity is also very limited.

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Rocky Hollow Log Ride might be one of the world’s most bizarre log flumes. One of the strangest features is the plastic roof which has been added to the logs. According to the park, this prevents passengers from standing up during the ride. And although this is a perfectly logical explanation, it looks so extremely weird.

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The steepness of the final descent is another strange feature. To me, this looks like the most boring drop on any log flume in the world.

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Yes, even a tour on the Disneywo… uhm, Dreamworld Railroad seems more exciting than a ride on the log flume.

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Interested in animals? Good news: the Dreamworld Corroboree is dedicated to Australian wildlife. Always dreamt of a selfie with a koala or kangaroo? This is your place to be.

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At the Dreamworld Corroboree, you will discover a lot of happy birds…

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… and some animals which will be more than happy to eat a lot of birds.

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The park is also proud of the brand-new Tiger Island. This area isn’t exactly about Australian animals, but it’s well themed and very popular. Especially the tiger shows attract big crowds.

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Some of Dreamworld’s most cheerful animals can be found at a section dedicated to DreamWorks animation films. This area consists of 3 small themed lands: Shrek’s Faire Faire Away, Kung Fu Panda’s Land of Awesomeness and the tropical oasis of Madagascar Madness. These lands show some of Dreamworld’s very best theming skills. The decoration looks stunning and the atmosphere is very pleasant.

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Although I really like these DreamWorks areas, you shouldn’t come here for a perfect coaster experience. Vekoma’s family inverted coaster Escape From Madagascar sure looks nice, but it feels like its trains are equipped with square-shaped wheels. Painful…

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The Land of Awesomeness doesn’t offer coasters, but it’s home to a thrilling Zamperla Air Race. This carrousel-type ride combines inversions and heavy g-forces. I like to watch it, but my weak stomach wouldn’t survive…

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Dreamworld isn’t known for its world-class theming, but they did an excellent job with these DreamWorks lands. It even looks like it belongs in a Universal theme park.

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Still searching for coaster thrills? Dreamworld’s most famous one is Tower of Terror II. With a 160 km/h top speed and a height of 115 meters, this used to be the world’s fastest and tallest rollercoaster. Although the ride lost those records since the opening of Dodonpa and Top thrill Dragster respectively, it’s still a quite impressive machine.

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Tower of Terror II looks spectacular, but the actual ride is somewhat underwhelming to me. The acceleration is performed gradually, so it’s not a huge thrill. In my opinion, Tower of Terror II lost most of its value since launched coasters have become so common anyway. The lay-out (consisting of a horizontal launch and a vertical piece of track) is just way too short to feel satisfying.

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It’s very hard not to notice Tower of Terror II. The tower is one of the park’s most striking features and the ride is just as loud as a low-flying jet fighter.

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Dreamworld’s children’s area is colourful and surprisingly well-kept. It features playground, small carrousels and even a dark ride.

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The Big Red Car is a small-scale trackless dark ride about an Australian children’s series. It’s very very very slow and extremely boring if you’re an adult. We visited this ride, so you don’t have to. Just skip this one, please.

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In November 2016, I had the absolute privilege to ride TRON Lightcycle Power Run at Shanghai Disneyland Resort. That’s an awesome ride with great theming and a pretty good level of thrill. That why it’s exciting to notice that Dreamworld has its own version of the motorbike rollercoaster.

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Unfortunately, Mick Doohan’s Motocoaster turns out to be a huge disappointment. There’s no decoration, the lay-out is very simple and it’s also a quite rough experience.

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Dreamworld’s most vibrant area is Ocean Parade. This consists of flat rides in a playful and nautical theme.

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Although I’m not a huge fan of spinning, twisting and turning attractions, I really enjoy Ocean Parade’s tropical atmosphere.

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The most popular attraction in this colourful area is Tail Spin. This attraction type is pretty common at European theme parks, but it seems pretty unique in other parts of the world. This Gerstlauer ride is particularly fun because passengers can control the inversions of their own vehicles. That’s why this so-called Sky Fly can deliver mild family rides, as well as intense thrilling experiences.

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Ever wondered where Chris Sawyer got the idea for that famous hotdog stall in Rollercoaster Tycoon? Dreamworld provides the answer…

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Flowrider proves that Aussies like the ocean and especially the waves. It can be quite fun to watch Australian surfer boys and girls performing their tricks on this modern wave machine.

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This race car exhibition is somewhat tucked away in a corner of Ocean Parade, but it’s well worth a visit if you’re interested in motor sports.

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Hot Wheels SideWinder is the main ride at the motor sports area. This Arrow Dynamics rollercoasters is themed to toy cars and it features an original (very long) queue. Luckily for us, there’s no need to wait today. Staff members are literally waiting for passengers.

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The funny thing about Hot Wheels SideWinder is the fact that it was originally constructed at Luna Park Sydney. However, it needed to be relocated due to noise restrictions. Dreamworld then bought the ride and moved it approximately 800 kilometres to the north. Also unusual is the fact that SideWinder is almost entirely built within the neighbouring water park. Interested in seeing half-naked Australian tourists while riding a rollercoaster? Then you will definitely enjoy this ride.

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Hot Wheels SideWinder looks okay, but the overall experience isn’t that good. The ride features some brutal transitions and it’s pretty shaky. Furthermore, the on-board audio (which was added only 2 years ago) doesn’t seem to work anymore.

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It’s Easter Sunday and I expected some decent crowds at Dreamworld. However, the park was practically empty and there were hardly any queues. It looks like most Australians chose to spend Easter at home or at the WhiteWater World park next door. Thank you very much for making our day wait-less!

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Unlike most amusement parks, Dreamworld doesn’t offer a ride which should be ridden more than once. The park just lacks a highlight, like DC Rivals HyperCoaster at the nearby Warner Bros Movie World Gold Coast. That’s why we were able to see the entire park in just 4 hours or so. Don’t get me wrong… Dreamworld is a beautiful theme park, staff are extremely friendly and I really enjoyed the zoo section. But they really need a big new ride, if you ask me. Even Tower of Terror II which could be considered as the park’s signature rollercoaster – is a rather mediocre experience. If you’re searching for high-quality coaster thrills at the Australian Gold Coast, you’re unquestionably better off at Movie World.

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Never plan a trip to Australia just for theme parks. Unless plans for Universal Studios Sydney, the Gold Coast Disney Resort or Six Flags Woolloomooloo are reveiled soon, there’s no reason to go Down Under if you’re only interested in rollercoasters. Movie World is on the right track, those classic Luna Parks are fun and Dreamworld is more than okay, but these parks aren’t better than most European, Asian or American amusement parks. On the contrary: there are lots of nicer theme parks within a 2-hour driving range from my hometown Antwerp. However, Brisbane and Gold Coast are perfect holiday destinations because of many other reasons. Summer seems to last 350 days per year, people are very welcoming and you’ll see nature at its finest in the region’s National Parks. A day at Dreamworld can be a nice addition to your trip, but it’s definitely not a must-do.

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