|Theme Park:||Sea World (since 1971)|
|Main Beach QLD 4217|
|Operated by:||Village Roadshow|
Since my first visit to Flamingo Land in early 2013, a lot of rides have been added to the line-up. Two of the major additions (Hero and Twistosaurus) covered in this review were actually in construction back then. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the 10 inversion coaster Sik was being installed. With restrictions being now a thing of the past, the ride was finally able to open for the 2022 season.
Twistosaurus is an off-the-shelf junior twister coaster from Zamperla and comes without much theming. However, it fits in well with the Dino Stone Park theme area. The ride itself is a nice little family coaster with some hairpin turns and a helix that makes the cars spin. The whole experience is relatively stomach-friendly and great fun for the whole family.
For all friends of Colossus at Thorpe Park living in the North of the country, there is finally a very similar experience available in Yorkshire. Although it is the first installation of the roller coaster, Sik is actually a rather old ride. The ride was set to open at the Brazilian theme park Hopi Hari in 2012, but never installed due to financial situation of the park and a rather strange leasing deal. The ride moved basically from parking lot to parking lot and after a short stay at the Movie Animation Park Studios in Malaysia the ride was finally being bought by the Gibb family.
What makes the experience rather unique is the ride’s history and the extended degree of freedom due to the restraint system in use. Compared to Colossus, the layout features a different first drop, yet the remaining course consisting of a loop, a nice airtime bump into a tunnel, a cobra roll, two corkscrews and a total of five heartline rolls (four of them are straight in a row) is pretty much the same.
Although it is a new ride in Flamingo Land, you get quite a shake on this roller coaster. Compared to Colossus, which offers a good ride apart from the first three inversions, or Altair at Cinecittà World in Rome, which has the same layout and train design, Sik is not the smooth experience you might expect. The ride is still fun, but it could also be much better if it ran a little smoother.
Another coaster model which is infamous for its ride experience is the Zamperla Volare. This small scale flying coaster puts you into a cage and squeezes you like the filling of sandwich before sending you through a multilevel layout on a very tight footprint. While doing that, the ride offers a bunch of very cool heartline rolls and some seriously tight hairpin curves. It is no big news, that most roller coaster enthusiasts actually dislike this coaster model. Personally, I think a Zamperla Volare is actually lot of fun and a surprisingly smooth ride experience. There is nothing wrong with this model and especially not with Hero. It’s a good ride.
Pictures Flamingo Land
Conclusion Flamingo Land
The Flamingo Land still is a rather unique animal and theme park. With the recent changes, the park now appears a lot more coherent. The 2022 addition Sik fits in nicely and has a nice style to it. Especially Sik’s station has a great flair and the train with the dark coloured Union Jack has something very special.
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History of the Sea Mammal Amusement Park Sea World
The origins of Sea World go back to the year 1958 when the Surfers Paradise Sky Gardens opened on the south bank of the Nerang River in Carrara. The park by Keith Williams became famous for its water ski shows. In 1971 the park relocated to its current site on the Southport Spit as Ski Land. With the additions of dolphin shows and other attractions the park was renamed to Sea World a year later. It is important to know, that Sea World has nothing to do with the American theme park chain SeaWorld, which currently operates three parks under their SeaWorld brand. Yet, it is no surprise that there was plenty of skirmish over trademarks during the past decades.
In 1984, the park was sold to Pivot Leisure. During the following years, the park was expanded into a resort. Together with Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow, Pivot Leisure developed and opened the nearby Warner Bros. Movie World in 1991 and purchased the Wet ‘n’ Wild water park next door. In 1993 the Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow jointly acquired Pivot Leisure’s interest. In 2006 Village Roadshow took full ownership of the group which led to the Village Roadshow Theme Parks.
Tour of the Park
Penguin Encounter and Sea Jellies Illuminated
After entering the park, you will find yourself directly in front of a large lake. The only available path leads us to the left and soon we stand in front of the Penguin Encounter. This indoor animal enclosure reminded me a lot of the ones to be found at the SeaWorld parks and should therefore not to be missed.
The next-door Sea Jellies Illuminated is also a very interesting exhibition, as you can see Jelly Fish in a totally different light. Albeit they are still very mysterious creatures, the different light conditions give them a very fascinating appeal.
Till the completion of the New Atlantis themed area in 2022, the park’s Monorail got suspended. It would have been nice to take a tour on Sea World’s iconic mode of transport. Right behind the station there is a helipad. Here, you can take a trip with the park’s helicopter fleet for a rather high upcharge.
As the Seal Guardians show was to start soon, we headed directly into the large theatre. Like most seal shows around the globe, the show is very much slapstick based. The story is based on the Seal Guardians and their mission to keep the oceans clean, but of course there an evil company which wants to see them tear down SeaLab1. At the end, everything is fine, everybody had a good laugh and a person from the audience got soaked.
Right next door to the theatre is Nickelodeon Land. In Sea World the famous children’s network presents a bunch of rides themed to Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The most noticeable rides are Dora’s Fiesta Carousel, the Rockin’ Tug Bikini Bottom Crosstown Express, the teacups Patrick’s Jellyfish Frenzy, as well as the small family coaster Spongebob’s Boating School Blast – a standard family gravity coaster by Zamperla.
Right next to the former location of the Sea Viper roller coaster – Australia’s first looping coaster – there is the Intamin family launch coaster Jet Rescue. One year after Dreamworld opened Mick Doohan’s Motocoaster, Sea World opened Australia’s first double launch coaster featuring a very dense layout full of tight curves.
The ride starts with a launch to 60 kph and immediately settles into 270° righthand curve, which is completed extremely close to the ground. This is followed by a short camelback over the launch track that has just been passed. A slight turn to the left brings us into a small S-curve combination, which ends in the second launch section.
Here, we accelerate to our maximum speed of 70 kph. This is once again followed by a heavily inclined curve. In an alternating rhythm, we now race through a series of left and right turns, whereby we always keep ourselves close to the ground. After crossing the track a second time, we soon hit the brakes and return to the station.
Jet Rescue is a very fun coaster. Due to its formerly limited space, the ride squeezes a lot of action into a very small footprint. The tight and highly inclined curves and the overall high pacing throughout the layout make this coaster a very remarkable family ride and one of the best roller coasters in Australia.
Storm Coaster is the replacement of an old time favourite: The Bermuda Triangle. The large indoor flume ride featured two major drops and an extra-terrestrial story line which still can be experienced at its replica at Movie Park Germany – the former Warner Bros. Movie World Germany. The ride is nowadays called Area51. Storm Coaster reuses the Bermuda Triangle’s show building for the final splash down and for its station.
Once boarded, the ride starts with a small passage through the channel without any hint of theming. When reaching the end of the hall, we also reach the ride’s lift hill. Shortly after, we find ourselves at a height of 28m before plunging down a small curvy dip into the next block brake. The following steep curve downhill shot is the highlight of the ride and rushing through the valley without any mayor sideways bump a relief to everybody who ever experienced Poseidon at Europa Park. Soon after we reach the second block brake at a lofty height. Now, we drop down under the main path leading to the attraction before we take a hill and disappear into the show building. Here, we hit the water and get reasonable wet. A bit of theming to the right and left of the route makes the return to the station entertaining.
Storm Coaster is a very fun water coaster by Mack Rides. The show building features a great theming and the placement of the ride within the park was very well done. It just looks like a very huge coaster. Unfortunately, the ride is a bit spare on its theming during the ride especially when you compare it to the ride which was previously housed at this location.
Ray Reef, Polar Bear Shores and Shark Bay
Past the remnants of the Viking’s Revenge Flume Ride and the 3D Cinema which until recently was showing the Spongebob Squarepants 3D movie, we now make our way to some of the larger animal enclosures. The first one on our way is the large Ray Reef petting pool, where you can feed the rays for an upcharge.
Behind it there is Polar Bear Shores – the only polar bear enclosure in Australia. For a park like Sea World, such an enclosure should be a no-go as it does not house a marine mammal or related animal; however, it has been in existence since 2000 and you really don’t have to think twice to know that the Gold Coast’s subtropical climate is not suitable for housing polar bears.
Probably the best attraction at Sea World is Shark Bay. This large-scale area has everything you would want to see in an aquarium, and there are so many opportunities to catch a glimpse of the goings-on below sea level. Here, you can easily spend most of your time at Sea World and if you really want it or have a lot of spare money, there are many upcharge experiences to enjoy.
The area Castaway Bay consists of the upcharge high ropes course Castaway Bay Sky Climb, the play structure Castaway Bay Sky Fortress and the splash battle Castaway Bay Battle Boats. Especially, the last-mentioned attraction is a lot of fun on a typical day on the Gold Coast, as it allows you to cool down in a very efficient and drenching way.
The main attraction of Sea World is the dolphin presentation at the Affinity Stadium. It is a bit like a glimpse to the past, as dolphin presentation are not featured anymore in most parts of the Western world. It would be wrong by me to criticize this kind of shows, as I always enjoyed them. Yet, as we missed the first presentation, we decided not to wait for the second one in the afternoon.
Thunder Lake Stunt Show
After a view on the nearby Seal Harbour area, we headed back to the entrance area of the park for the Thunder Lake Stunt Show. The show features a competition between the Sun State All Stars (the good ones) and the Bay City River Rats (the bad ones) in wakeboarding, Freestyle BMX and water-skiing. If you ignore the trivial story with all its banter, the Thunder Lake Stunt Show is well worth seeing. Especially the fire-breathing waterborne lorry will remain in your memory. As many others, we left the park directly after the show.
Pictures Sea World
Conclusion Sea World
Overall, we had a great day at Sea World. Albeit the park is rather limited in size, it offers some very interesting animal enclosures and a bunch of great attractions. However, the park can be criticised for its high number of upcharge attractions and some of its animal enclosures. With marine mammal parks in general losing more and more acceptance by the public, it will be interesting to see how Sea World will develop in the future.
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