The holidays are almost here; Christmas decorations glisten as you navigate aisle four. Unfortunately, their appeal hasn't wilted since September, when tinsel and candy stockings started climbing onto the shelves, beside the Halloween gear and what was left of the Easter eggs. The kids have been ticking off a dwindling number of school days, eager to explore and luxuriate in an endless string of summer days, Mum placed firmly at their beck and call - or so they seem to think. While we all certainly enjoy this time with our kids, the Six Week Countdown is on from day dot, as we balance the expectations of our offspring with the limitations and lack of leave from our jobs - sadly, holidays only seem to really apply to children. While budgets are stretched at the best of times, the following bucket list contains activities for every wallet size.
Do you remember the first time you set foot on the rickety bulwark of a roller-coaster? The swaying platform of stilts and metal, a worn harness slipping over your shoulders, pressing in tight and then tighter still, the slow click-click-click of the conveyor belt and then air, rushing air, filled with adrenaline, loop-the-loops and enough G's to bring up a dagwood dog. Childhood death-traps have come a long way since then. A theme park is so much more than jaw dropping coasters and bad carnival food (who can go past fairy floss?); from terrific tigers and water buckets to zombified experiences and a playful fellow named Henry, theme parks are here to stay and thus the perfect pit stop for Mum's with active and fanciful kids.
The Low-down: Hollywood on the Gold Coast has undergone a face lift in recent years, steering the emphasis away from stage shows, to pulse pumping pursuits and Marvel madness, attracting the Caped Crusader, the Man of Steel and the Guy in Green to its gates. Tire the little ones out with a session on the Superman Escape, a coaster with a go-faster attitude, as it churns up the gears from 0-100 in two seconds. Still champing at the bit? Take a seat on the Green Lantern Coaster and batten down the scream hatches - you might leave your voice box behind. This would be the perfect place for a comforting word and a Ryan Reynolds reference; as you take a record breaking dive, think of Ryan and his spandex, holding that thought? Good. After catching a stage show or two, stick around and wrap yourself up in a magical White Christmas adventure as Movie World transforms into an enchanting winter wonderland. Winter in summer, curious.
The Low-down: Unwind in the theme park capital of many memories and let the kids explore the mini nations within; let the monsters loose on the main park and sit apart from the chaos, feeling the gentle breeze on your neck. While you chill out, let the little ones and not so little ones brace the Battle of Kevill Hill, competing against the undead in the spine-tingling Zombie Evilution, before taking turns racing from the Buzzsaw, to the Tower of Terror, to the Gold Coast sky goring Giant Drop, a stop-gap of the now Big 8 Thrill Rides, since 1998. Tired of losing your lunch and possibly your patience? Change gears and pull them back down to reality, spending some family time with the brothers of Tiger Island, as the gorgeous Baru and Ravi lap up the attention, educating curious minds with their playful, frisky attitudes. Finish the day with a show and a bite to eat, giggling along with Madagascar's King Julien, Alex, Gloria and Co., as Dreamworks brings lounge room entertainment to life - play games and party, nabbing a photo of your kidlets with the cast!
The Low-down: Dizzy from the rolling, falling and stomach dropping days behind you? Understandable. Change gears and jump aboard the education train, as Sea World captures even the most discerning interest with its enclosures and family friendly attractions. Baby animals are hard to walk past. There's something about their eyes, their roly-poly limbs as they master the movement of their little bodies, and Polar Bears are no exception - in fact, they epitomise the rule. Fluffy, dense fur, wide eyes and a playful gait will soon have you swooning over Henry, tempting even the most besotted mother to trade her human edition for the cuddly critter before her. You may not agree! Weather the kids's seal siesta protests and complaints of "that's boring" with a ride on The Storm - an upcoming sensation to be launched in late 2013. Though nothing is certain (as kid resistance has yet to be tested), all predictions indicate they'll never complain about being bored again! And when else fails, dinosaurs! Big, scaly lizards everywhere!
The Low-down: Queensland can feel like one big sauna sometimes, and not in that fluffy towel way - a quick splash in the pool on a Saturday may stave off the temptation to live in the deep end, directing the household from a noodle chair, but sadly, this dream won't come true. Instead of cleaning the pool more often, send the kids to Wet 'n' Wild, a slippery good time packed with plenty of slides and rides to send their squeals of delight into overload - no matter how much sunscreen you slather on them, they will get a little sunburnt! And while taking a dip all day is always a good plan, make sure they stock up on drinkable H20, as the gulps of water at the bottom of the tunnel won't satisfy their needs for long!
The Low-down: Dreamworld has always been advertised as so many worlds in one, and in the last few years, it has truly lived up to its promise. WhiteWater World is the perfect solution for those Mum's who fancy a day out with the kids by the pool or several, playing into the adventurous spirit of kids and adults, transcending age demographics and fulfils promises of being a rollicking good time. After conquering the Super Tubes Hydrocoaster and nabbing pole position on The Bro, watch the kids run around and zip in and out of the Pipeline Plunge; be ready for the big wash, however, as the bucket overflows and spills its slippery contents on the unsuspecting crowd below.
While the Coast is bursting with things to do (the Australian Outback Spectacular is an notably singular experience and a Sky Point Climb - well, a certain persons knees are still jangling), heading into the holidays with a plan of attack will ensure the minimisation of glitter, juice cups and dirt trails leading to the bathroom. Summer, is it just for kids, what do you think? Let us know in the comments!
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