Andrew and I have thoroughly enjoyed two TPR trips in the last couple of years during this colder time of year for us downunder. It's wonderful to get away from the "Antartic Riviera", as I like to call New Zealand in winter time. We decided to take a week's long vacation in Sydney and the Gold Coast to keep us ticking over coasterwise since we were unable to do a TPR trip this year. The official TPR trip to Oz in March 2011 looked absolutely amazing - and we'd never done the Aussie parks before - so after snapping up a few cheap airfares we were on our way.
The weather was beautiful, the parks pretty quiet this time of year and another bonus for us was to try out the two "new for 2012" credits at Dreamworld (BuzzSaw) and Warner Bros. Movie World (Green Lantern Coaster), so we have plenty of photos to share. Our general consensus with the Aussie parks was similar to TPR's: the parks are totally decent - smaller in scale than US parks, of course, but with a lot to offer nonetheless. Here's our itinerary:
(Alas we didn't make it to Aussie World this trip.)
We started in Sydney where we hit up Luna Park and finally got on an elusive and rare wooden Wild Mouse, which was awesome. Luna Park was also a little bigger than I had expected, with some great, quirky stuff to recommend it, like the original 1930s fun house, the Rotor and the Flying Saucer, a rare HUSS UFO ride. We spent a few days in Sydney, which is a very vibrant place, if a little pricey! Onto the photos.
Here we are again at Wellington Airport's 'pumpkin' terminal. Must be time for another international trip!
In Sydney we stayed with Andrew's dad in Leichhardt and were greeted with fantastic weather.
We used the light rail to zip into town for a bit of sightseeing.
Just under the harbour bridge you'll find...
Luna Park! (Looking all patriotic for the Olympics.)
Looking down the midway.
The prices - like everywhere in Sydney - were very steep. They charged $10 for ONE RIDE! The $44.95 day pass was OK, though you'd pay similar at a Six Flags or Cedar Fair park.
First up - the Rotor!
Detail. This park has hilarious political incorrectness everywhere.
We've been on a few rotor rides in the US. Always fun - and here they let you position yourself sideways.
At the end of the ride they don't bring the floor back up, they just let you slide down!
Time to check out what else the park has to offer.
A lovely old carousel.
This park has a very troubled history. I'm guessing this is one of the older rides.
Ahh! We've been spotted!!
Downunder cotton candy is called 'candy floss', or in this case 'fairy floss'.
This had a very long cycle (a little too long actually!).
We were really looking forward to our first wooden Wild Mouse coaster!
You get up close and personal to the track in the queue.
Cute station and transfer track.
They'll let you squeeze in two adults.
The ride itself was really fun!
There are some genuine "holy shit" moments on this, along with some great airtime.
We loved it! (And would love to try the even more insane Aussie World ride.)
View of the ride from the fun house. You do sort of feel like you'll careen off the track and into the ocean.
Speaking of the fun house...
Luna Park apparently has the only operating example of a 1930s fun house left in the world.
Lots of history and memorabilia inside.
This way to more fun...
Andrew's 'Marilyn' moment.
I can imagine TPR having a blast in here!
The spinning barrel was fun to watch.
Primarily to see kids get thrown off!
A little more of that aforementioned political incorrectness.
Looks like a good chance for an injury here, but actually they supervise all the rides quite closely.
We had to try out these crazy slides.
It was a little unnerving at the top.
There's a very steep slide here too.
Andrew and his dad on the way down.
There were quite a few old coin-operated games in here too.
We encountered some more bizarre paintings on the way out.
The old Big Dipper station is now used for the Tumblebug ride (a HUSS Troika).
As if clowns weren't creepy enough...
One thing not to miss at Luna Park is the Flying Saucer! (And it's easy to miss the station.)
This HUSS UFO is much, MUCH crazier than a traditional round-up ride, and goes completely vertical!
Time to head out and see a little more of Sydney...
Farewell for now Luna Park - I hope your future is a little less troubled than your past!
Heading out we saw some people atop the bridge. For $250 you too can enjoy this climb!
We went underneath instead. It really is an awesome old structure.
We walked over to the CBD.
Long way down...
There were people lounging in the sun...is it really August?!
We visited Chinatown.
It's a really cool place with lots to see (and eat).
A good place for Asian cuisine in Sydney...is Eating World! (Very authentic.)
We wandered through Paddy's Market, a crazy mish-mash of stalls.
We walked over to Hyde Park.
Is Big Brother a pop group or something nowadays?!
Homeless man outside Prada.
The Queen Victoria Building was pretty cool.
But you had to be a millionaire to shop there!
Sydney is the only place I've seen cops on horseback.
We made it back to Darling Harbour where some kind of boat show was going on.
And here's the Sydney monorail. Get on it ASAP - apparently no one rides it and it won't last much longer! Anyway, that's Luna Park and Sydney for now. More from downunder to come.
Last edited by mattnz on Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:26 pm.
After our short stay in Sydney we made it up to the Gold Coast where the weather was even lovelier (we're talking summer temperatures for New Zealand!). We had quite a few parks on our itinerary, so hired a car and stayed close by the beach, which worked out very well. The Gold Coast parks are open year-round, and that gives you something of a Catch-22: while the crowds are light, some attractions are inevitably down for maintenance, the parks understaffed and operations somewhat less than desirable. One other thing we encountered is that Australia has never heard of single rider queues, and not ONE coaster station lets you queue for your desired row. This was OK at Dreamworld, but was certainly frustrating at Movie World (more on that later).
Dreamworld was our first stop and favourite park. Most attractions had one ride op where possible, but that didn't matter too much since the place was pretty quiet. The newest ride BuzzSaw (a Maurer Söhne SkyLoop) was having a few troubles. It didn't open until about 1pm, and then with only the front car taking passengers (that's six people per ride cycle). Loading was very slow and the line became long, but we got a few rides in. Having never been on a SkyLoop we found it quite a bizarre experience! It's daunting hanging upside down 150 feet in the hair in a lapbar-style restraint. The ride's themeing was also a little strange, but it's a good fit for the area of the park it's located in (Gold Rush), looming right near the entrance.
The other coasters at Dreamworld are similarly short and nothing to write home about (except Tower of Terror II which we LOVED!), but what the park is lacking in coasters they certainly make up for in other rides and attractions. I would highlight the awesome Intamin drop tower, which instantly became our favourite. The drop just seemed to keep going and going! The park also has a fun Intamin gyro swing, a strange Vekoma Waikiki Wave Super Flip, a good rapids ride and log flume, the newly themed kid's area DreamWorks Experience, the Australian Wildlife Experience and Tiger Island included with admission, plus a decent adjoining water park.
All in all we found Dreamworld to be a great day out. And getting a bit of sun was certainly a bonus!
We finally made it to the Gold Coast for a little sun and relaxation by the beach.
We stayed in a hilariously tacky 80s apartment. But we had a nice view.
First park for us was Dreamworld!
I've been wanting to come to this park since I was a kid.
Looming near the entrance is BuzzSaw, which has certainly added to the park's skyline.
The adjoining water park looked very nice (is that a hydrocoaster I see?).
There were some workers atop the Giant Drop.
Well-trained by TPR we headed straight to the newest ride first, only to be greeted by this... And closed is how BuzzSaw stayed most of the day.
We heard the roar of Tower of Terror II (which you can hear all over the park!) and decided to ride that first instead.
Wow, it really is going to be a quiet day.
The infamous ride entrance.
It's a good thing the queue is covered and air conditioned - Aussie summers get HOT!
Tower of Terror II had a fantastic enclosed launch with lights galore.
The speed on this - especially going backwards - was unexpectedly awesome.
This is about as high as the ride gets, but backwards it certainly feels high enough.
On the same tower is another great Intamin ride...
An interestingly themed drop tower!
The ride entrance.
Nice of the park to post this outside...
But reduced capacity certainly wasn't going to be a problem today! (And they did run both sides of the tower later on.)
The loading area. About now you to start to feel a little nervous...
It's a LONG way up!
They keep you at the top for what seems an eternity.
And then...you drop for what seems an eternity! Amazing ride!
After two Intamin rides, why not ride another!
Some 'fun facts' in the queue.
The trains were a bit odd, and not too comfortable, especially on your knees.
These side cars for kids were a great idea though.
And this rotating bin for loose items was a fantastic idea!
The ride itself is definitely a 'family' one.
Fun ride for families though.
Dreamworld still have their Wiggles.
Time to see what else the park has to offer...
They had a few characters out and about.
Can we make it four Intamin rides in a row?
Why yes we can!
The Claw went very high indeed.
This was a great gyro swing! I preferred it to the giant HUSS versions.
Near the Claw another new ride has appeared since TPR's visit: Shockwave.
It's a Disk'O Coaster.
With a 'hump' in the middle. Always a fun ride.
The park has an Enterprise...
And this weird Vekoma contraption that has one arm that can bend allowing for diagonal twists. Why haven't Vekoma made more of these?
I have no photos of the ride in motion... They needed at least a dozen riders and there weren't many takers today.
Time for another quality credit!
This Arrow coaster used to be at Luna Park Sydney, hence the odd layout.
The station was strange...with doors that closed completely. Not very efficient.
Front part of the ride. Apologies that our photos of Cyclone kinda suck, but then the ride kinda sucked too!
The exit to the ride is famously pointless!
We checked out the new kid's area.
Madagascar characters now live here.
And some of them spit at you!
Shrek's here too.
This area is now known as 'Shrek's Faire Faire Away'.
Rugrats Runaway Reptar is now called 'Escape from Madagascar'.
They had some dummies riding in the back.
It's your standard Vekoma family invert, but I liked how it glides over the pathways at certain points.
It looks like Dreamworld have more planned for this area.
We decided to check out some wildlife.
The young tigers were very cute!
This guy took up-close photos for people.
The bigger cats were very cute too.
This is about as playful as they got.
Time for lunch and we felt the sting of Aussie theme park food prices - ouch!
We also noticed the park has a few 'Canobie Park style' food stalls.
Time for something a little leisurely: the train.
We hoped for some good photo ops, but the train ride was mostly through fairly dense bush.
Looks like the old paddle wheel boat is no longer operating. (Site of future dinosaur attraction?)
I'm guessing this is another mode of transport that's long since bitten the dust.
Finally we saw BuzzSaw operating and wandered over to check it out.
It's a strange looking contraption (photo from outside the park).
Intimidating vertical lift.
Off they go!
Straight down and backwards through the loop.
Entrance to the queue.
A bit of themeing. This was accompanied by the occasional LOUD buzzsaw sound, along with some evil shrieks and screams. Quite strange!
It look a long, long time to get on with the back car not open and slow ride ops.
Finally, we rode.
Going over the top.
Not too many hands up on this ride.
You pull some major G-forces at the bottom of the initial drop.
Going backwards through the sky loop was fun (I see some daring riders!). In all, it's a good ride and decent addition, but I'm sure the locals would love to see a longer and better coaster built some day.
The gift shop was curious. The Book of Runes? Mythic Tarot?!
Across from BuzzSaw you can see the remants of the old Wild Mouse in a box, Eureka Mountain Mine Ride, SBNO since 2006.
We decided to give the rapids ride a spin.
Here's the station.
It was a great rapids ride with a long (and well-themed) enclosed section. We didn't get too wet which was probably a good thing.
Another view of Eureka Mountain Mine Ride.
We gave the log flume a whirl.
Loading area with one poor ride op in attendance.
This was a fairly short flume but had to me the perfect amount of 'wetness' - a nice splash but not enough to get your shoes wet.
We had a great day at Dreamworld and I'll be interested to see where the park goes in future. Would love to drop by again someday!
I agree the ride stations here are extremely frustrating. On most rides you're told where to sit, but if you ask politely you may be lucky enough to wait for front row, but that's quite rare as the staff in this country aren't exactly friendly in most places. Interestingly, Motocoaster does have a single riders queue, but I've never seen it in use as its usually chained off. Anyway, cool TR and nice pics! Can't wait to see your TR of Movieworld. Though Dreamworld is undoubtably a better all round park, Movieworld is my favorite as it doesn't seem quite so disjointed, plus the ride quality is much better.
Great pictures Matt! Looks like you guys were having a great time and I love the Rotor picture at Luna Park. Reminds me of the one at Canobie Lake last year on NorthEast Trip! You guys better get out here next year for a TRP Trip next year if your able to
Yay, More TR goodness! I've very interested in the Skyloop coasters, and think they look like a very fun ride, but your right, Dreamworld looks like it could use something a bit more... Well more, to help round out its coaster offerings. Can't wait to see the rest of the trip.
Leviathan - "I am a B&M, I am clearly not the father. I305 is not my child." Millennium Force - "Yes he is Maury... I am 100% sure" Maury - "Leviathan ..... in the case of possessed juvenile I305 .... you are not the father! Maverick - (giggles with guilty grin)"
Nice pics. I'm glad we have a UFO at Canada's Wonderland. It's one of my favorites. Those wooden mice look terrifying, even more so with two people stuffed in the car. Hope to see you guys on a trip next year!
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