The front of the queue is in sight ... You are about to board the Tower of Terror, a ride that is touted to be the tallest, the fastest, the scariest in all the world. You are going to rocket upwards at a speed of 160 kilometres an hour, then plunge vertically, face down, the height of a 38-storey building – in just six seconds! You take your seat, heart in your mouth; beside you, the kids are bursting with anticipation. They grip your hands as the harness is lowered. Your ride is about to begin!
■ Tiger Island, where Bengal and Sumatran tigers play and swim with their handlers. There are up-close presentations during the day.
■ The Australian Animal Presentations, for the chance to get up close to koalas, crocodiles, critically endangered bilbies, and other Australian wildlife.
■ The steam train ride, which gives your feet a rest and takes you to Australian Wildlife Experience.
■ The Oakey Creek Farm Show – see live sheep shearing.
■ The optional animal encounters (high extra cost, minimum age 10 years). If the dream of a lifetime for your kids would be to cuddle a baby wombat, or pat a tiger, this is your opportunity.
The endearing little bilby with its long ears is a threatened species with only a few hundred left in the wild. Dreamworld is conducting a breeding program, releasing bilbies into areas such as the remote Currawinya National Park where a predator-proof fence protects them from feral cats and foxes. The vision for the future is to be able to increase the free-roaming wild population outside fenced areas.
■ There are height restrictions for many of the thrill rides (120–200 centimetres for the Tower of Terror), but some, including the Rocky Hollow Log Ride, are suitable for small kids.
■ For very little people, Wiggles World and Nickelodeon Central offer attractions such as spinning-teacup rides and a theatre show where slime and cream pies are flung at the audience!
■ Various ticket options are available, including combinations with other theme parks or two-day passes.
■ There are plenty of food outlets, but if you have a ticket to WhiteWater World as well, bring your own food and take advantage of the shaded picnic facilities next door.
■ Before boarding the thrill rides, put small valuables such as keys and glasses into zipped pockets so they don’t fly out and get lost.
■ Strollers are available for hire.
■ As well as rides, this theme park has wonderful opportunities to meet animals and operates an animal conservation and breeding program.
■ Weekends and school holidays are the busiest times, so go during the week if possible.
■ To avoid long queues, you can hire a Q4U, a small handheld device that allows you to make ride reservations from anywhere in the park. Enjoy yourselves with other attractions while Q4U holds your place in a queue! Available at the Q4U shop next to IMAX.
■ Another option to avoid crowds is an Early Entry Pass (extra cost, limited numbers available each day), which can be booked online and allows entry an hour before usual opening time.
■ Make sure you pick up a Daily Shows Timetable when you arrive so you can plan your day. Arrive at each show 15 minutes early for the best seats.
■ Pre-purchase your tickets so you don’t have to queue up just to get in.
■ Try to arrive early and head over to the furthest popular points before the crowds reach there.