Saturday, December 11, 2004

A complete change of weather, and what a scorcher! It was a beautiful day for Dreamworld. The sun was out and we finally felt the heat that makes Surfers' paradise.

We started the day badly with transport woes. Only 1 public bus to Dreamworld and thought is is very cheap -- $6 per pax return -- it is also infrequent and consequently by the time it reaches the bus stop at our end it's already too full to accept any more passengers.

After an hour of fruitless waiting, we hailed a cab. It cost us $25 but it got us there in good time; within 20 minutes of opening at 1000hrs.

We made a bee-line for the theme park's main attraction. From afar, the 1st thing we saw of Dreamworld was this great phallic symbol pointing skywards. This is the pillar that is central to the 2 most thrilling rides in the park. The Big Drop took us right to the top of the 110m tower and suspended us there for about a minute while we admired the parking lot, or contemplated our fate. Then without warning, the platform plunged into free-fall for a few seconds, making us feel like we left our insides at the top, before the brakes caught.

Next up, the Tower of Terror. The ride seats 24 of us in a car on rails. With a hiss and a bang the car rockets up the same tower vertically, then plunges us back again BACKWARDS. This is supposed to be the fastest and tallest drop for a theme park ride, but really the anticipation is much worse than the actual experience. It just happens too quickly for us to register the terror we should be feeling and then it's already over.

We took a short break on the Runaway Reptar Rollercoaster, which is thematically based on Nick Studio's Rugrats. It's a suspended steel coaster with lots of twists and turns, though on the whole, it was actually quite a mild ride.

Lunch at the CatDog Snack Shack eating (what else?) hotdogs. We're used to cats waiting at tables for scraps, but here stray heron with nasty, long, sharp, curved beaks stalked around looking for windfalls of abandoned food.

The big coaster, The Cyclone, was another steel monster with a double loop. Standard stuff, though compared to what we tried next.

Wipeout is a ride that though remains stationary, spun us around high up in the air, inverted us and swung us headfirst towards the ground a number of times. And just when we though it was over, it sprung it's nastiest surprise. Exhilarating.

The Claw -- a rotary swing is the source of another set of screams. The big swing and the rotating platform sends us up in the air to almost a full inversion, spinning us simultaneously so we either looked at the clouds or at the concrete tarmac before being swung back again with velocity. Crazy!

After this, June too a nap on my shoulder then on my lap. It was so hot we guzzled 3 600ml bottles of Mount Franklin spring water and some Coke too.

Refreshed, we sought out the last thrill -- the Eureka Mountain Mine Ride. It was dark, enclosed with one or two sights to spook, lots of abrupt turns, but again another mild ride.

We said hello to koala, Beltana, and got our pix taken with her. Took a photo with a Spongebob Squarepants statue, rode Wipeout once more, then it was time to go. Park closes at 1700hrs.

We were lucky enough to catch the public bus back and met Dawn and parents (from church)aboard. Small world.

Shopped the early evening away at downtown Surfers', KFC for dinner, then home for an early night. We need it for the early start tomorrow morning.

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