Gold Coast 2015 – Day 5 – Wet ‘N’ Wild & Movie World…
Clearly, the exertions of the holiday are starting to take their toll on me. I was up at the shamelessly late time of 7.30am this morning. Naturally, Sandy and the kids were well into overdrive by this time and it wasn’t long after I surfaced that the three of them disappeared off to kids’ club. Today’s kiddies activities here at the holiday village included a colouring competition and face-painting. I wandered over there to see them all to see if there was anything in particular needed from my planned supermarket run this morning. Since we’re married for twenty-seven years today, I thought it would be nice to wish Sandy a happy anniversary, which she rather helpfully reminded me to do when I got there.
My bacon supermarket run took all of twenty minutes and I made sure the cooked food was on the table waiting for the rest of the family for when they came back from kids’ club. I corrected my previously repeated error of not cooking enough bacon breakfast by adding several more rashers pieces of ingredients to the pan. Somehow, however, I still only managed a half a rasher a small portion all to myself. [Note to self: cook my breakfast and eat it first and THEN cook for the rest!]
We’re pretty much on auto-pilot with our daily routine now and it didn’t take long to pack everything quickly and efficiently. There was no stress involved and we all worked together like a well-oiled machine. This was somewhat aided by my own ability to simply do and go as and when directed – it just works better that way.
So, on the agenda for today was going to be Wet ’N’ Wild and, all things being equal, to polish off any portion of the day not spent there at Movie World, which is located right next door. Both these parks are run by the same greedy, tight-fisted, money-grabbing, bastard, leeches that run Seaworld, although I’m not biter about that at all. A marked difference between the Dreamworld parks and the Seaworld parks is that the Seaworld parks tend to be more of an efficient money-making machine, where every last conceivable opportunity to steal make money from you is latched onto faster than chlamydia on prom night virgin. But hey, like I say, I’m totally not bitter about it at all.
We’ve been keeping a close eye on the weather forecasts for the past week or two and today is definitely going to be the hottest day of our trip, ahead of a weather system expected to come through, which will bring with it some thunderstorms and a drop of several degrees in temperature. When we got to the Wet ’N’ Wild car park, it soon became clear that all the locals and about 95% of all the visitors to the Gold Coast (bloody tourists!) had exactly the same thought as we did. Consequently, the park was packed to the rafters and it was standing room only. Not to worry, I thought to myself. I’m sure there will be plenty of things to do and we’ll have a good time. We’re on holiday and having a wonderful time and nothing will get in the way of that, right?
Having parked the car far enough away to ensure that Sandy’s daily pedometer target of 9,000 steps would be well and truly thrashed to within an inch of its life before we made it to the main gate, we wandered into the park with the two kids and several heavy bags of ‘stuff’. So, first things first, I asked one of the friendly staff where we might find somewhere to sit, given this was our first visit and we just didn’t know which particular throng of people to pass through after clearing the main gate. She looked at me with a deer in the headlights stare. “Sit!?” she said, raising her brow, as if somehow impressed at the very tenacity of the question itself. “Um, well, you could go that way towards the wave pool, where there are rows of loungers, but sit? Not sure you’ll find somewhere to sit, sir.” Hmmm. Ok, so we head off in that direction and find our way to the wave pool, which is a good size and headed with a decent section of sheltered loungers. Every last lounger was, however, ‘reserved’ with towels and whatnots strewn all over them. People were everywhere but we did mange to find a spot on the astro turf floor between two rows of loungers. It wasn’t much but it was at least big enough for us to carve a little piece of the park for ourselves and we duly set about getting into swim mode.
Besides the sheltered area immediately in front on the wave pool, there were various cabanas for hire, which we already knew about and weren’t interested in, since I’d have to sell a kidney before we could afford one. Over to one side of the wave pool, however, was a cordoned off area with several loungers under cover and many of these were ‘available’. I thought I’d go and ask about these and how we would take advantage of them. I had to queue up for this for 5-10 minutes at one of the guest services kiosks. For some reason, the good folks that run this park felt it necessary NOT to advertise the information I was looking for on any banners or elsewhere, which forced me to cash in 10 of my valuable minutes waiting for someone to provide that information to me in person. Fortunately, the pleasant young lady was eventually able to provide this information when I reached the front of the queue. She even had a handy, laminated chart that she showed me, which had lots of big pictures and words with few syllables to ensure I would understand. Before dropping the bombshell, she went to great pains to explain that I would get not one but 2 loungers AND both loungers are joined together with a coffee table, which is big enough ‘just’ to accommodate a single cup of coffee. Already, I’m drooling at the prospect. It’s not just a lounger. It’s a lounger AND a coffee table. Ok, so how much of my house must I mortgage for the benefit of sitting on one of these loungers WITH coffee table? And bare in mind we’re here for probably just a couple of hours and have already sold our souls to pay for the ticket to get through the front gate to begin with. Well, for just $50, we can sit on one of those loungers. Greedy fecking bar stewards! $50 just to fecking sit down!? How much to bloody breath!? Hmmm. I smiled politely and thanked the young lady for the information.
We all went for a dip but the water was really rather chilly, which surprised me given the soaring temperatures. However, the kids were having a ball and that’s really all that mattered for the moment. We spent a few minutes enjoying the waves and then decided we’d split up (me with Jennifer and Sandy with joey) to go and explore what the park had to offer. I made the same schoolboy error again today of wiping my eyes with my sun-cream smeared hand and my damn left eye stung for the rest of the day … again!
Jennifer and I wandered somewhat aimlessly around the park for a bit. The kids play area was kind of nice but Jennifer wasn’t overly impressed with the short and very gentle slides there so we pressed on. There are some really quite impressive looking flume slides. Sadly, however, they were each sporting some really quite impressive queues – 50 minutes was the shortest we found and neither of us had the inclination to stand in the blistering heat for that long just for a 30 second ride. We did stumble upon what looked like a ring of sunken whirlpools and they looked sooooooo inviting that we just had to have a dip. Bizarrely, there were hardly any people using them – bonus! We walked down and stuck a foot into the first pool. Jazus fecking christ! The damn thing was stone cold! A quick wander around to all the others revealed them all to be stone cold. No bloody wonder nobody was sitting in the damned things! I asked the life guard what the deal was. Apparently, he had received ‘more complaints than usual’ (than usual!?) about this today. Must be something wrong with the heat pumps or something like that. Oh well, it wasn’t his fault I suppose but it was really quite annoying. We pressed on. Unfortunately, the only real option for us that wasn’t totally boring, broken, inaccessible due to lengthy queues or an additional expense was the wave pool, so that’s where we spent most of our time whilst there today. Not that this was a complete write-off. The kids really enjoyed the wave pool – even if it was just a tad on the chilly side for both me and Sandy.
Right next to the wave pool is the Wipeout surf attraction, where jets of water are pumped at high velocity up a ramp and you have to stand or sit on a body board for as long as you can. It sort of mimics surfing a wave. Joey was keen to give it a go, so Sandy signed him up. When the time came, he seemed to be having second doubts and the staff on duty at the time didn’t seem overly capable of ‘managing’ the situation by coaxing Joey sufficiently when the time came for him to have his turn. After some initial reluctance, and a rather fortunate last-minute staff shift change, Joey did eventually managed to give it a go – yay Joey! He managed several seconds before wiping out. His wipe out was so forceful that he refused to go around again but at least he did give it a go. In the meantime, Jennifer wanted to go ‘flying’. Right next to the surf riding attraction is a contraption that winches you in a harness some 100 meters or so back and up into the air, before releasing you to swing down again like a huge swing between 2 enormous pillars. I looked at it and practically vomited on the spot with fear but Jennifer was jumping up and down to give it a go. Since Joey had a go on the wave ride, it seemed only fitting that Jennifer should also be allowed to do something. Fortunately, an adult co-rider was NOT necessary and Jennifer had an absolute ball on the ride. She really does have zero fear!
We spent the remainder of our time at the park in the wave pool. The kids really had a lot of fun but by around 1 o’clock, we decided we’d pack up and see what Movie World had to offer for the remainder of the day. We all got showered and changed and made our way out to the car. Just across the street were a few fast food outlets and so we took our time with a Maccas before parking the car in the very next car park for Movie World. In stark contrast, this car park was relatively empty and indeed the park itself was very light on visitors today. Sadly, however, several of the major attractions – including, of course, those that the kids specifically were interested in – were closed for maintenance. Many of the food kiosks and things were also closed. One of the benefits of the Gold Coast at this time of year is that there are few crowds and the parks are easily navigated BUT it’s also that time where most things that would be closed for maintenance are in fact closed for maintenance. It’s a double-edged sword but what can you do. To add insult to injury, the couple of major rides that are running have height restrictions that meant Jennifer was unable to ride – much to her frustration. It really was heartbreaking.
Not long after arriving, we decided to split up with me taking Jennifer and Sandy taking Joey. Jennifer and I would look for those things that were running that she could do and Sandy took Joey to the smaller kids’ rides, where we both knew he would just have an absolute fun time. We all met up after half an hour or so and spent some time just chilling out in the kids’ section of the park. Both kids really enjoyed the indoor car circuit quite a bit and went around to re-do it several times. After a while, I took Jennifer to the back of the park to where the water log ride was. Unfortunately, however, there were some dark clouds not too far away and the ride had just been closed due to the threat of lightening. Many of the outdoor attractions closed temporarily on more than one occasion this afternoon for the same reason. One of those occasions was the taxi car ride for the younger kids. Joey had made it all the way to the very front of the queue and the next person on when that ride closed also. He did manage to get a go later on, though.
I particularly enjoyed a brief 10-15 minutes or so just sitting on a bench and watching the kids run from ride to ride just having an absolute blast. It was probably the most relaxed I’ve felt for a long time – even if it was just briefly so.
Sandy went to find a park map and suggested that there was another rollercoaster we’d overlooked that Jennifer might be able to do, so off my little adrenaline junkie and me went to find it. Fortunately, we walked pretty much straight to the front of the line, as there were so few people in the park that there really weren’t any queues to speak of. I was heartbroken for Jennifer, however, when the young attendant pointed out the height restriction, which was about 4-5 cm more than Jennifer’s current height. Not to be too disheartened, we made our way back to the water log ride, which had by now re-opened, and we had a blast getting very close to soaking wet on the 2 big drops. With nobody queuing up to get in when our log made it full circle on the attraction, Jennifer begged for a second go around and the staff were happy to send us off on our merry way around again. I was getting a bit antsy, however, as I had my eye on the time, which was fast approaching closing time. I was really hoping to get at least one ride on one or more of the big roller-coasters that Jennifer wasn’t tall enough for. Now practically dripping wet, we high-tailed it across the park to where they were located ‘just’ as they both closed for the day. Oh well, perhaps we’ll come back for an hour or two later in the week to polish those off.
The last remaining stragglers had all made it back to the park’s main entrance and we milled around for a bit for a spot of last-minute shopping before piling back into the car. The weather front that will drop the temperatures for the remainder of our stay has well and truly arrived and there are now dark clouds everywhere. We topped up with fuel for the rental car and made a quick stop at the supermarket just before arriving back at Ashmore Palms. Sandy cooked us all our first home-cooked meal since we arrived and I have to say it was really very nice indeed. It’s now just turned 10pm and everyone else has now gone to bed, which is exactly what I will do after proof reading all of the above and posting it online. Tomorrow, we are back at Seaworld for the dolphin experience for the kids – weather permitting!