Use your time wisely at the Gold Coast theme parks with our top tips!
Every kid’s dream is to have as many days as they can at the Gold Coast theme parks. Well, it was for my girls anyway when our Gold Coast holiday was announced. There were so many questions that I wanted to be answered and I couldn’t seem to find answers about the Gold Coast theme parks anywhere.
My brother had recently been to some of the Queensland theme parks but his daughter is much younger than mine are so while he gave me some good starters there were still so many things I wanted to know. So here I have put together the things I think everyone should know before they go to save some money, time and to have the best experience during their Gold Coast holiday!
Getting Your Gold Coast Theme Park Tickets
There are so many ways that you can save money on your theme park entry tickets to any of the Gold Coast Theme Parks. Some are:
- Your membership with the RACV
- Kiosk sellers on the Gold Coast
- Webjet or Groupon discounts
Whatever you decide on make sure it is the best deal for you. We got a 7 day super pass so then we could have extra days of rest as I thought 3 or 4 Gold Coast theme parks in a row would be too much for us (and I was totally right, we needed that time to recover!)
Because we got the 7-day pass we had cards that were printed out for us (like a credit card) These were our entries to all the Gold Coast theme parks so you must not lose them. Keep them in a place that is safe as you can’t get them done again. They have your picture on them with your name as well so you are unable to transfer them to other people either.
I honestly found that Movie World was not really the best theme park for us. You had either older kids rides (15+) or the younger kids areas like the Nickelodeon section. Mark and I are larger people and fitting into the harness made for a pretty uncomfortable ride once you started getting thrown about.
Marley wanted desperately to go on some of the huge rides and it was so hard to see her disappointed little face. I am just not into rides and I was uncomfortable with her going on them by herself so there was not much for us to do there.
*The Wild West section of Movie World was closed on the day we went and three rides were also closed for maintenance.
The Good at Movie World
- There was plenty of chances for the kids to meet their favourite characters. The girls had pictures taken with a heap of characters that they liked.
- There was plenty of action for them on the big screen
- The car stunt show was actually pretty good (It does get a bit loud so just be careful with your little ones)
- The girls loved the shows that were put on in the time that we were there. I think they saw the Batman one and the Looney Tunes character one.
- Toilets are everywhere and easy to get to in a hurry.
- You can wait hours in line in the sun for a ride.
- You won’t find out if you are too big for the seat or harness until you get all the way to the front of that line…it was a long wait for nothing!
- The parade was on late in the day, I think at about 4 and there was just no way that we had enough to do in that time so we had left hours before that happened which was a shame.
We spent just over 3 hours at Movie World and I think that was long enough for us. We had done everything we wanted to do and the girls were happy with what they had seen at Movie World. In the end, we would probably not come back here until the girls were older 15+ for Marley or unless we had friends with us who could take we on the rides that we are not able to.
Wet ‘n’ Wild
The weather was pretty warm when we were on the Gold Coast so this was a great way for us to cool down and we absolutely loved it there. Wet ‘n’ Wild was one of our Gold Coast highlights. We were the first people in the park and we left around 15 minutes before the close of the theme park. It was by far the best Village Roadshow theme park for us and it would be on the top of our list to return to when we ever do go back to do more things on the Gold Coast.
- There really is a ride for all ages. If you are unsure you can take your children on the rides.
- The shops have everything you may need like sunscreen, bathers, towels, hats.
- You can take your own food in there.
- There are areas for small children with little water parks just for them.
- The pools and areas are patrolled by lifeguards BUT you are still responsible for your children.
- There is not a lot of seating near the wave pool so if you want to stay there get a seat quickly.
- There is not much on the food side and the waits can be very long right before lunchtime.
- The paths get so hot between rides (take a cheap pair of thongs to wear between them to save your feet!)
- You can hire a cabana but they are extremely expensive. They would be great for families but they are at a huge cost.
We spent all day at Wet ‘n’ Wild and it seemed to go in a flash. The people on the gate said that it wasn’t that busy for the day and from what we have heard we were very lucky. We hardly waited for rides but to be honest if a wait was long we went on another and waited for the line to go down. There was just so much to do. We highly recommend a visit here and we think it would be one of your Gold Coast highlights too.
WHERE DID WE STAY ON THE GOLD COAST?
We stayed at the Seacrest Apartments in Surfers Paradise. These fully self-contained apartments had 2 bedrooms, cooking and laundry facilities. Balconies overlooking the beach. A pool, spa, sauna, tennis court and bbq area onsite for you to use. The Seacrest is central to many things to do in the Gold Coast. We enjoyed our stay and would certainly stay at the Seacrest again.
For more information and prices at the Seacrest see here!
*One thing I do regret…I am a larger woman and I was very self-conscious about wearing my bathers here. It was Mark that said to me that there were so many different shaped women in the park and they were all having a fabulous time. It did take me a little while but I so wish I had have done it sooner and relaxed about it. My advice is to not worry and have a great time with your family because no one was worried about my bathers!
I must admit I was worried about going to Sea World. There can be a lot of negativity towards the brand over the world. We did watch some of the shows but to be honest, it was not a theme park we spent a lot of time at. There was not as much there as I had expected but the girls did like watching the dolphins swim around. They also liked the educational show at the end that explained what Sea World on the Gold Coast does for the welfare of the animals both in the wild and in the theme park. It was also a great opportunity for them to ask questions at the end to some of the keepers which both the girls took advantage of.
- There were a lot of shows.
- The sky rail was a great way to see the park from above
- The shows are all very close in time together and spread out far apart around the theme park. Getting to them easily is not an easy feat.
- The sky train got really hot on the day we were there. I am unsure if the air conditioning was working.
- As I said the shows are close in time together and if you want to go to them you have to be organised or you will miss the start of the next one. It is a real rush.
We spent about 2.5 hours here and it was just to see the shows. There was only 1 ride we could go on and that was great for the girls. (They went on it about 6 times) We managed to get to all the shows but we did miss getting the start of most of them as they were too spaced out over the theme park and they were far apart. Even though my girls are older they found racing around to the next show annoying. I can honestly say this was not one of our Gold Coast highlights.
Dreamworld – White Water World
I was hesitant to visit Dream World as I was not sure there would be enough for us to do there. From what I had heard it was either huge, jaw-dropping rides or rides for smaller kids so I did not expect to spend much time here. In the end, it was one of the best theme parks we could have visited for our family. There were so many rides and one we could all easily go on. Also having entry to both Dream World and White Water World was fantastic.
- With your Dream World ticket, you could also get entry to White Water World. Two parks for the price of one!
- There was plenty of places to sit near the wave pool at White Water World
- There really were rides for us all and we didn’t even go on any of the huge ones.
- It was really hot in Dreamworld and it was hard to find some shade to sit in which made us go into WhiteWater World a little earlier than we expected.
- It is not really ugly but we were weighed before we got on some of the water slides…I completely understand that this is a safety measure but it was right at the top of a huge set of steps! I wish they had have done it at the bottom!
We spent from open to close at Dream World and White Water World. We spent about 2.5 hours in Dream World before heading over to cool off at White Water World. This probably helped us spend more time at that Gold Coast theme park as we then went back to do any other rides we missed out on beforehand. I thought it would have been a great park for value if you are visiting the Gold Coast with a family.
* At Whitewater world, we were weighed before we went on some of the rides and we were warned about this by a friend before we went. As I said above we understand completely that this is a safety measure and we had no problem with it BUT it is right before you get on the ride. If you and your child or just yourself weigh too much you then need to make your way back down the steps.
We really enjoyed most of our days at the Gold Coast theme parks and I do believe they are something that you have to do when you are visiting the Gold Coast with family or by yourself. While some were all I had hoped for and would visit again there are some Gold Coast theme parks that I would not bother with again…but that is something that you may agree with or not. Only you will know after visiting and using our top tips for the Gold Coast theme parks!
HOW TO GET TO THE GOLD COAST
- The Gold Coast Airport is located in Coolangatta. The Gold Coast Airport is 27 km from Surfers Paradise and 68.9 km from Byron Bay. 6 million people travelled through Gold Coast Airport airport in 2016 making it the 6th busiest in Australia. ( Currumbin Sanctuary is just 5km away )
- The main carriers at Gold Coast Airport are Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Tiger Airways
- For cheap flights to Gold Coast Australia, you can check the prices of international and domestic flights to the Gold Coast with cheapOair.
- You can your book a Gold Coast airport transfers with Suntransfers who we have personally used on many occasions.
- You can reserve a rental car and have it waiting for you at The Gold Coast International Airport.
GETTING AROUND THE GOLD COAST
- The new light rail system operates in the Surfers Paradise/Southport area from 5 am to midnight on weekdays and throughout weekends. The route links Helensvale, Gold Coast University Hospital, Southport, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
- Buses service the urban areas of Gold Coast City. The network stretches south to Coolangatta, west to Nerang, and north to the developing areas of Coomera and Ormeau.
- The TransLink Journey Planner will help you to plan your trip and provides fare and timetable information
WHERE TO STAY ON THE GOLD COAST
- The Gold Coast has accommodation options for every budget from Hostels, to apartments and hotels rooms.
- You can search Airbnb for there Gold Coast City offerings. If you have never used Airbnb before get yourself $50 credit by signing up and booking a stay right HERE
- Hotels on The Gold Coast generally start from around $296 a night for a double room 3star and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards the 5-star average price of $395.00.
- You can compare and book your stay on Agoda, Hotels.com, and Expedia
If you are heading to the Gold Coast for an amazing Gold Coast family holiday we hope you have an amazing time. This is only our experience and you may have a totally different one from us in some of the theme parks you go to. We just hope this guides you in having the best day out at the gold Coast theme parks with kids that you can!
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More about the Author
Bec Wyld is a mother, wife and once reluctant traveller. Bec has been to over 30 countries across the globe. I have planned and stressed in all of these places. Becs writing can be found on Wyld Family Travel and as a guest poster and contributor on many other travel websites including Lonely Planet Kids