Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast review: Travelling with kids
The Gold Coast is famous for its theme parks and its heat. Does that make Wet'n'Wild a great destination for families holidaying with kids?
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Wet'n'Wild is a heck of a lot of fun for all the family, but the queues can be punishing. A few extra rides would be great to help balance the load, but it's still an unmissable part of your Gold Coast adventure.
OUR SCORE: ★★★★½
- Location: Pacific Mwy, Oxenford QLD 4210
- Adult ticket: AU$79.00
- Concession ticket: AU$74.00
- Child's ticket: AU$74.00
- Opening times: 10am to 5:00pm in summer
- Highlight: The waterpark is an absolute blast for young kids while their older siblings run wild in the park.
- Family friendly: All ages are catered for.
- Reviewer: Family of five (kids aged 8, 6 and 4)
Pros and Cons
- Has options for every age and confidence level
- Genuinely thrilling rides
- Great way to escape summer heat
- The wave pool and waterpark
- Long queues for short rides
- Need a few more rides
- Can be closed by the threat of weather
- Staff are slow and lethargic
The Gold Coast is a great place to be during the Australian summer, especially when holidaying with kids. The weather is generally fantastic. The beaches are truly stunning. Families are out and about everywhere, meaning your kids will find plenty of likeminded children to play with. And there's no shortage of things to do. Especially if you like theme parks.
The big four theme parks in the Gold Coast are Dreamworld, Sea World, Movie World and Wet'n'Wild. The latter three are all owned by the same company in Roadshow Village Theme Parks, alongside wildlife park Paradise Country.
You can get an Ultimate Theme Park Pass and visit all three of the Roadshow theme parks and Paradise Country as many times as you want over the course of a week. But if you have to choose just one or are considering whether the Ultimate Pass is good value or not, a lot could hinge on Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast. Is it as good as it sounds?
I recently travelled with my family to the Gold Coast and picked up the Ultimate Theme Park Pass as part of our Sea World Resort accommodation package. My wife and I have three kids, two of which are confident swimmers at eight and six. The third one at four years old still requires constant supervision near water.
Holidaying with kids often makes for a unique perspective and unusual requirements. Here's my review of Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast.
Where is Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast?
The Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast theme park is located about 20–25 minutes to the north-west of Surfers Paradise. Just short enough when holidaying with kids to prevent them getting too ratty. It depends on traffic, but the multi-lane highway handles even peak-hour traffic moderately well. Wet'n'Wild is right next door to Movie World and Paradise Country, which is worth keeping in mind for reasons I will detail later.
How big is Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast?
I wouldn't go as far as to call Wet'n'Wild a sprawling theme park, but you can expect a bit of walking throughout the day. Well placed right in the centre of everything is the kiddy waterpark (suitable for around eight years and under depending on the child's height) and the wave pool. Anyone holidaying with kids will spend a lot of time in these two locations.
Just to the west of this area is the large Calypso Beach space. To the south of this hub you'll find the simpler, classic rides. To the north-east a big, family-friendly tube. And to the north-west the more thrilling, adult-orientated rides. You can expect to zip back and forth all day as you try and make the most of the shifts in the length of each queue.
Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast rides review
Aside from the queues (see the next section), there's no denying how much fun Wet'n'Wild is for all ages. There is a diverse range of rides and plenty you can do together (in the same raft or tube) with your kids.
I'll start with the kiddy waterpark, known as Wet'n'Wild Junior. It's a great place to hang if you're holidaying with young kids. The tunnels, shallow pools and jungle gym drenched in spraying and spilling water would have been cool enough. But the inclusion of several pint-sized waterworks and even a mini-tube ride, each with short queues, makes it a truly great and safe space for young ones.
As well as the aforementioned wave pool, the Wet'n'Wild Buggy floating tube rapid also gets a worthy mention. It doesn't look that exciting, but our family actually had a ball floating around together. The Mammoth Falls tube ride is also excellent for families, taking four people at a time.
Other highlights include the Tornado, although it's way too short given the queue for it, and the Constrictor. The River Rapids and Super B Aqua Racer offer old-school thrills, while the Kamikaze and AquaLoop will get older visitors' hearts pumping, but is too much for kids.
The unfortunate closure of Black Hole and Sidewinder (see queues section below) has certainly had an impact. I'm told that there are plans to redo this area with more rides, but it won't come anytime soon. Replacing them is much-needed, but there is still enough here to ensure that you'll come back multiple times during your Gold Coast holiday.
After all, hot weather and holidaying with kids doesn't mix well without water.
What are the queues like at Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast?
They're not great and a borderline horrid. For the major rides, you can expect to wait a good 45 minutes plus in the general summer months and even worse in those peak periods. That's a long time to stand in a queue, wet and frequently without shade. My wife and I often decided to just stand in the queue and let the kids roam before sending out a scout to round them up when we were near the pointy end. Less exhausting that way and a tactic I encourage if you're holidaying with kids.
Unfortunately, as of the time of writing, two of the rides were permanently closed: The Black Hole and the Sidewinder. The latter is a big loss. It provided five different rides launching from the same high platform. It could not only hold a lot of people but move many quickly into rides. Its closure sees all those people swelling the queues of the other rides and the burden can be felt.
Now you might think going to Wet'n'Wild outside school holidays will negate the queue issue. Ha! In summer every day multiple schools from the area do daytrips to the theme park. And nothing swells a queue like a class of kids suddenly running up together. The schools do leave by mid-afternoon at least. However, many locals, who get very cheap year-long tickets, use Wet'n'Wild as their local swimming pool. So, you can expect a constant stream of late afternoon arrivals as tradies get off work and people pick up their kids from school.
I do have to point an angry finger at the River Rapids queueing system, which is one of the few family-friendly, proper waterworks. There are four waterworks coming from the platform and the gates for all of them are locked to each other. This means if one person is slow on one of them or gets stuck, all four must wait. It's a ludicrous system and since none of the staff seem energised to get queues moving efficiently, the stupidity of this system becomes even more exposed.
Is the Wet'n'Wild Fast Track ticket worth it when holidaying with kids?
You can pay for a Fast Track ticket, which is an additional $70. That really adds up when you are a big family and likely not worth it since you can't predict the behaviour of kids. But the Fast Track queues are next to nothing; you can basically walk straight onto any ride. So, if it's your one big theme park for your holiday, it's worth considering. And if it's just you and some friends, it's well worth it. Instead of getting two rides an hour at best, you'll get six or seven.
Should you get to Wet'n'Wild when it opens at 10am?
If you're travelling with kids similar in age to mine, I recommend getting to the park when it opens at 10am. You can then try and score a spot in front of the wave pool under the shelter. This is a good central spot that is easy to find, has plentiful chairs, is close to the toilets and ice-creams, plus you get a good field of view of the pool, which in itself will happily entertain the kids for hours. It's also a very small walk from there to the kiddy waterpark.
That said, don't ignore the benefits of a late arrival, either. With the Ultimate Theme Park Pass, we had big days at Movie World and Paradise Country, which ended with a late hour or so stop at Wet'n'Wild. Think of it as just a cooling-off swim, with the benefits of rides. You can get a surprising number of rides in during that last hour or so, too.
The Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast theme park map
Does Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast open during rain?
What's the difference, right? You're wet anyway. Wet'n'Wild does stay open in the rain, but there is an asterisk on that. If there is any lightning anywhere in the vicinity, the rides are closed. It makes sense, of course: water and lightning are not a good mix. Strong winds can also put a halt to proceedings. Unfortunately, when it rains in summer in the Gold Coast, it generally thunderstorms, so definitely keep an eye on the forecast before committing to a day.
Is Wet'n'Wild any good?
On a hot day in the Gold Coast, there are few experiences that are more fun than Wet'n'Wild whether you're holidaying with kids or not. The theme park is a few rides short and that can be felt in the long queues for the best experiences. But thankfully, there are enough non-queue things to do for you to still have a great day without standing in line the whole time.
Make sure you check the weather forecast for potential storms or high winds before committing. And plot your way past the local schools and after-work swimmers. But if there is any theme park you'll go back to twice during your Gold Coast stay, you can bet it will be Wet'n'Wild.
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