Coomera, Queensland, Australia
“Beautiful park and great atmosphere, but in desperate need of a great roller coaster”
Gold Coast, Australia. This area is famous for its beaches, its residential skyscrapers and… its theme parks. Australia is not a typical roller coaster destination (to say the least), but the country offers some amusement parks nevertheless. More than half of the nation’s coasters are located in Gold Coast. Warner Bros Movie World is Australia’s roller coaster capital, but it’s not the largest theme park Down Under. You shouldn’t search too far, though. The Aussie’s largest theme park is located just 6 kilometres north of Warner Bros and it’s known as Dreamworld.
Dreamworld’s most famous roller coaster was Tower of Terror II. Thanks to its top speed of 160 km/h and its height of 115 metres, this became the world’s fastest and tallest roller coaster at the time it opened. Despite these spectacular statistics, the actual ride was somewhat underwhelming to me. The acceleration was performed gradually, so it didn’t create a huge thrill. The layout (consisting of a horizontal launch and a tower) was just way too short to feel satisfying. You probably noticed that this paragraph is written in the past tense and that isn’t a coincidence: Tower of Terror II made its final rides in 2019.
I’m a huge fan of TRON Lightcycle Power Run at Shanghai Disneyland. That’s an awesome ride with great theming and a pretty good level of thrill. Therefore, it was exciting to notice that Dreamworld has its own version of the motorbike roller coaster. Mick Doohan’s Motocoaster turned out to be a huge disappointment, though. There’s no decoration, the layout is very simple and it’s also a quite rough experience. And this isn’t the only rough coaster at Dreamworld: Vekoma’s Escape from Madagascar also feels like it’s running on square-shaped wheels. Ouch… painful.
25 October 2016 was a black day in the history of Dreamworld. On that date, a tragic accident happened with the Thunder River Rapids Ride. This water attraction was quite fun, but it’s understandable that Dreamworld decided to remove it after that terrible event. The site will be used for a Blue Fire clone in the future, but it was sitting empty during our 2018 visit. 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 first visit in 2016, I found out that it’s a horrible ride. Restraints are uncomfortable and the overall experience is very rough. The ride was closed during our 2018 visit, but that didn’t bother me at all.
Hot Wheels SideWinder (later renamed to Gold Coaster) is the main ride at a motor sports-themed area. This Arrow Dynamics roller coaster is themed to toy cars and it even features on-board audio. 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 roller coaster? Then you will definitely enjoy SideWinder. Unfortunately, the ride features some brutal transitions and it’s pretty shaky.
Dreamworld’s most vibrant area is Ocean Parade. This consists of flat rides in a playful, nautical theme. Although I’m not a huge fan of spinning attractions, I really enjoy Ocean Parade’s tropical atmosphere. 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.
Still searching for spectacular flat rides? Then know that 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. This attraction is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Dreamworld isn’t only known as Australia’s biggest theme park, it features a fairly large zoo section as well. The Dreamworld Corroboree is dedicated to Australian wildlife. Always dreamed of a selfie with a koala or kangaroo? This is your place to be. The park is also proud of the brand-new Tiger Island. This is the only area that doesn’t focus on local animals, but it’s well themed and very popular. Especially the tiger shows attract big crowds.
Some of Dreamworld’s most cheerful animals can be found at the DreamWorks Experience. 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. Dreamworld isn’t known for its world-class decoration, but they did an excellent job with these DreamWorks lands. They even wouldn’t feel out of place at a Universal theme park.
Queensland is known as Australia’s Sunshine State and temperatures are pretty high year-round. Water rides are scarce at Dreamworld, though. Thunder River Rapids was removed after the 2016 accident and Rocky Hollow Log Ride made its last rides in 2020.By the way… Rocky Hollow Log Ride was one of the world’s most bizarre log flumes, since boats were fitted with plastic roofs. According to the park, this prevented passengers from standing up during the ride. And although this is a perfectly logical explanation, it looked rather weird.
WORTH A VISIT?
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. If you’re searching for high-quality coaster thrills at the Australian Gold Coast, you’re unquestionably better off at Movie World. Fortunately, new rides are on their way to Dreamworld. They were constructing a Flying Theatre during our 2018 visit and a new Mack coaster is scheduled to open in 2021.
ABC KIDS WORLD
CORROBOREE & TIGER ISLAND
GOLD RUSH COUNTRY
Would you dare to ride The Giant Drop? Is a Blue Fire clone the right addition to this park? And would you spend a day at Dreamworld during a holiday in Australia? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.