This article is one of a series documenting visits to various parks in Australia. All articles feature in our ‘On Park’ section. All these parks were visited during a period of extended residence in Australia.
Visit: December 3rd 2010
Where: Aussie World, 73 Frizzo Road, Bruce Highway Palmview, Queensland, 4553 Australia
I’ve never really thought of myself as ‘one of those people’ who will travel a long way to get a ‘credit’. If I’m visiting somewhere and a park is local to it, I may consider a quick detour. Sometimes you will arrive at these parks and find a poorly maintained mess, essentially a car park with a few fairground rides on it. Other times, you’ll discover a great little gem of a park.
Aussie World was thankfully, the latter. In fact, it was better than great – it was fantastic. We took the train out of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast line and headed towards Nambour. The train stopped 26 times, making the journey extremely long and tedious. After a quick look at the map, it seemed the best place to leave the train was at Landsborough. The trip to Aussie World was then a 15 minute taxi journey down ‘Steve Irwin Way’. The Crocodile Hunter’s Australia Zoo is nearby.
The park has grown up around the Ettamogah Pub which is (apparently), the most photographed pub in the world. Elsewhere on the site is a small shopping village and a function centre.
On arrival, you’re given the choice of purchasing a Relax Pass, costing $10AUD (£6.50*) – this allows entry to the park with unlimited rides on selected junior rides. Or, if you’re planning to hit all the rides, the best option for you is the Fast & Fun Pass, costing $25AUD (£16.25*) – this provides entry and unlimited access to all the rides.
The first thing that strikes you about the park is its size – it’s tiny. Without exaggeration, it’s about the size of the Port Atlantis dome at Thorpe Park. Within the confines of the park is a single roller coaster – a wooden Wild Mouse and several flat rides. The park is also home to a Mini Golf course and the Funnybone Flicks theatre.
The first thing we wanted to do was to ride Wild Mouse. It didn’t disappoint, it has been impeccably maintained and provides a chaotic, out of control ride from start to finish. For those eagle eyed enthusiasts among our readers, you will notice that the ride is exactly the same track layout as the Wild Mouse at Pleasure Beach, Blackpool – however the top section of the ride is missing (it operates as the Pleasure Beach ride was built, before it was modified).
We took lunch at FJ’s Cafe, opting for the standard burger and chips. The staff were extremely courteous and immediately wanted to know where we were from in England. It turned out they were avid Manchester United supporters. Naturally, I thought… I didn’t note down the exact food prices, but they were on par with the other parks in the area.
First thing after lunch, we took a trip on the park’s ferris wheel – mainly to get a real feeling of how big the park actually is and what is packed in to the area. Despite the tiny site, the park still manages to include fifteen rides, including the roller coaster.
Other highlights in the ride line up include the Rock n’ Roll Rebel - a spin ride in the dark complete with ’60s rock n’ roll classics blaring under a spectacular neon light show. About three hours into our visit, it started to cloud over and eventually began to rain. We still had a few things to check out, including a motion simulator. I’m not usually a big fan of these rides – but felt that it was probably a good option given the changing weather.
When entering the ride, we were given the choice of twelve different films to watch. We let the rest of the group pick as we were just glad to be out of the rain. They picked the Triple Roller Coaster film. As it started we looked at each other and quickly came to the realisation that we were on the Alton Towers Corkscrew. What followed was even stranger, as we hit the brakes we were catapulted across the park and were now on the Runaway Mine Train. As we entered the mine train station, my next thought was that perhaps we would be treated to a lap on Nemesis as it was difficult to judge the age of the film. Bizarrely, we climbed aboard the New Beast. It brought back a lot of memories and was a somewhat unexpected, but very welcome surprise.
Getting to the park is easy by car – the park is located on the main highway and is therefore directly linked from Brisbane, Surfers Paradise etc. The train journey was long and the taxi did cost us a fair amount. We estimated that visiting on your own would cost around £100 if travelling from Brisbane.
The Funnybone Flicks was a surprise hit for us, showing a variety of Australian films through the ages in a surprisingly authentic retro cinema.
In some of the Wild Mouse pictures below, you will notice an amazing Go-Kart track in the background with huge changes in elevation and crazy turns and jumps. Unfortunately, this has been out of use for over a decade. An upcharge laser tag game called Skirmish operates at the back of the park amongst the remnants of the Go-Karts but we didn’t investigate given the cost of our transport.
Elements of Aussie World feel like one of the Gulliver’s Parks. The rides and attractions are very quaint and feature little details that you would expect to see in a park so small. There are also some extremely well themed buildings that provide a great backdrop to the rides and attractions.
If you’re a fan of theme parks and amusement parks – particularly vintage rides, visit Aussie World – you won’t regret it. If you’re a fan thrill rides and large roller coasters, it may not be for you. The park doesn’t make any excuses for not catering for the thrill market – it doesn’t have to. Dreamworld and Movie World aren’t that far away.
If the park is missing anything, it’s a water ride. The hot Aussie summers would make it a sure fire choice I’m sure, if it wasn’t for the costs associated with running a log flume or similar ride.
Aussie World is the perfect example of how a park can be built on a limited budget, yet have an endearing quality about it. It goes to show why as a theme park fan, it’s often worth taking a trip off the beaten track away from the corporate parks.
The beautiful setting and layout of the park almost gives it a Roller Coaster Tycoon feeling – but that’s not a bad thing. Aussie World has found a gap in the market and filled it admirably.
Check out our photo gallery below – all photos by gforcemag.com staff.