Seaworld, I Forgive You!

I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for a good, chilled out ride at a theme park. It’s nice to have a little time sitting down, preferably in the shade in the midst of a hectic day of thrill seeking. At Seaworld on the Gold Coast, this ride was the Bermuda Triangle for me. It was an old, slow boat ride with some physical special effects and a little drop into water.

 

And then, like all good things, it came to an end. The ride closed for maintenance and never reopened. This seems to be how most theme parks go about decommissioning rides. Having not held an annual pass for Seaworld in a couple of years, I was pretty disappointed that I wouldn’t get to go on the Bermuda Triangle ride again. I really like my indoor relaxation rides. I was a cross between curious and resentful toward what they had replaced it with.

 

Well, Seaworld, I forgive you! The Storm Coaster is FAN-TASTIC. (There’s a video of the ride on the Seaworld website, but it’s not 100% accurate towards the end, based on my experience.)

Storm Coaster Sea World Gold Coast

I went to SeaWorld with my husband Ben, but he can’t go on all rides, so it was on to the Storm Coaster solo for me! Gulp. It was a great day at the park – very quiet and with basically no queues anywhere. In fact, the queue was so small that I was ushered straight on to the roller coaster the second I got up to it! There was a train (boat?) nearly ready to leave and since I was on my own, I filled the spare seat at the front. Yep. At the front. Not only did I miss that waiting time that lets you feel better (or worse) about getting on a new roller coaster, I was ushered straight on and straight to the front. Well, I guess some days life doesn’t let you do things by halves.

Storm Coaster at Seaworld on the Gold Coast

The entryway to the Storm Coaster, a bridge over the ride.

I was strapped in and at the top of the chain lift before I knew it. Since Ben was down below with my iPhone, I’ll let some photos he took tell the story of my first ride on the Storm Coaster:

Storm Coaster at Seaworld on the Gold Coast

I’m in the very front row, on the way up and holding very tight!

 

Storm Coaster at Seaworld on the Gold Coast

Going around a big curve

 

Storm Coaster at Seaworld on the Gold Coast

Here I am, plunging down the big drop.

 

Storm Coaster at Seaworld on the Gold Coast

And there I am, up the front, alone, and screaming as I go down the big drop!

You spend the last part of the ride ‘blind’ – I don’t mean that you will be blinded, but once you go down the big drop your vision is obscured by darkness, mists of water and then ALL THE WATER.  Oh yeah, you’ll get slightly wet on this ride. Slightly meaning DRENCHED.

 

Ride Tip 1: Wear your swimmers!! (Togs, board shorts, bathers, whatever you call them, wear them!)

 

And I couldn’t explore a new ride without taking a few videos, now could I? Below is the coaster after it comes out of the big drop. I was standing on the entryway bridge:

 

I took full advantage of the lack of queues and went on the ride twice. The exit path actually has a little viewing area where you can watch the ride do the big splash down. Be warned: you can still get wet there! It was too wet to pull out my camera on viewing area, so I stopped on a different part of the path and captured the big splash:

 

Ride Tip 2: People who can’t go on the ride can ask the staff member to let them go in the exit path and watch from the viewing platform inside.

 

As we were walking around the park afterwards, Ben asked me if it was my new favourite roller coaster. And you know what? I couldn’t think of one I liked better. The Storm Coaster is very smooth. It has great big turns and huge heights to let you see the rest of the park. It has a great balance between fast and so fast you can’t enjoy it. And it’s also a boat ride that soaks you. That really hits all the criteria for me!

 

Have you been on the Storm Coaster? What makes a roller coaster good for you?

Cedar Creek

Mid last year, I was whisked away by my then-day-job to Mount Tamborine for two days and one night of corporate …well, I won’t talk about that part of it. Corporate retreats aren’t usually my thing. I will thank them for a gorgeous setting though.

 

If you’re curious, I haven’t been paid to write this. Work paid for my accommodation as it was a work trip. I’m not really sure where this all sits in the realm of disclosures. It’s just a place I went because of my then-day-job. 

 

I felt a little silly taking a suitcase for an overnight trip. But this did allow me to fit a bunch of warm clothes in the bag, knowing that Mt Tambourine is a cold place. And it also allowed me to put my work laptop & chargers in the one bag, rather than drag a laptop bag as well. And my work laptop was a bit bulky. So it felt silly, but was fairly practical at the same time.

Suitcase on a Bus

We checked into Cedar Creek Lodges and were given our room keys. I was located in the Frog Lodge rooms.

Cedar Creek Frog Lodge Beds

Inside Frog Lodge – two double beds with a little couch in the middle.

 

Cedar Creek Lodge Frog Lodge Room

Cedar Creek Lodges – double beds with TV and desk in the middle.

 

Cedar Creek Frog Lodge Bathroom Vanity

They even had a double vanity…it felt very decadent seeing as I was the only person in my room!

 

Cedar Creek Lodges Towels

I know this is really simple but I really like this way of having all the spare towels on hand.

 

Cedar Creek Lodges Toiletries

And because who doesn’t love miniature toiletries?! I love the simple but shaped bottles.

 

There was even a little kitchenette space with a kettle, microwave and toaster. Perfect for a bit of budget saving or late night snacks.

Cedar Creek Lodges Kitchenette

Enough supplies for four.

 

In between the wonderful usual work retreat activities and discussions I managed to get some photos of the conference surroundings.

Cedar Creek Stone Bridge

Gorgeous stone bridge on the property.

 

Cedar Creek Stream

Stream out the back of the conference centre.

 

Cedar Creek Lodge Conference Centre

View from out back of the conference centre.

Then while we had a break between wonderful retreat activities and the alcohol flowing, a few of us snuck off to see the actual Cedar Creek Falls.

Cedar Creek Falls

First glimpse of the falls.

 

Cedar Creek Falls Waterfalls

I love how round the pool is at the bottom of the first falls.

 

Cedar Creek Falls Mt Tamborine

Only just off of a road but it’s so peaceful and beautiful here.

The best part about the falls is that the main viewing platform is wheelchair/stroller friendly. So pretty much anyone can access it! I did take a further walk down the stairs to the non-wheelchair accessible parts and honestly, you get the best view from the first platform so you don’t miss anything at all. I really love it when people (governments maybe – I’m not sure where the responsibility of these things sits) make outdoor parts of our word accessible for everyone.

 

After a sadly long night of work, I woke up in the morning to some gorgeous mist and horses huddling together. It really was nice to wake up to. Living in South-East Queensland, you don’t get the chance to appreciate winter very often.

Cedar Creek Mist

A really nice view to wake up to.

 

I’ve added Mt Tamborine to my list of places to go back to :)

 

Have you ever been to Cedar Creek Falls?

 

 

One Ultimate Day Around the Gold Coast

After the ProBlogger Event, I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a participant in the Travel Bloggers Beware pop up experience, organised by Queensland Tourism. We had an incredibly FUN day, but busy! If you have one day to spend on the Gold Coast, I couldn’t recommend what we did enough.

 

I was a Guest of Queensland Tourism and the establishments listed below. I did not pay for these excursions or my food and I did not receive any money to write this post. All opinions are my own – because I don’t know how to be someone else. 

 

Bike along the beach

We picked up our funky retro bikes from the lobby of the QT Hotel and rode along the beach.

Gold Coast Beaches

A glimpse of the great beaches on the Gold Coast

 

Beach and Bike

View from my bike at Southport on the Gold Coast

Breakfast

Having worked up an appetite on the bike ride, it was time for a delicious meal at the Southport Surf Club.

 

Southport Surf Club

Lovely breezy place to eat after a bike ride!

 

Breakfast at Southport Surf Club

Eggs Benedict

Then we met up with our driver and bus for the day.

Airport Transfer Bus

The best kind of transport – one that I don’t have to drive myself!

 

Jetboating

Yep, on a full stomach of breakfast, we went jetboating. You have to be tough to be a travel blogger.

Paradise Jet Boating

Even the wall is exciting

If a picture says a thousand words, then a video must say a million. Click here if you want to watch the YouTube video of our jet boating trip. (When the camera is pointing at our faces, I’m second from the left in the second row.)

Perhaps needless to say if you watched the video and saw our driver Duffy soaking us, we were totally drenched after this! So drenched, I even blogged about How To Be Loved After Jetboating.

Now, I have jet boated before (on Sydney Harbour) and this one kicked Sydney’s ass! Maybe it’s because the Gold Coast is semi-local to me, maybe it was the smoother ride, maybe it was a driver who really should think about a career as a comedian or maybe it was the awesome company of other travel bloggers… but I would go back and do this again in a heartbeat!

 

Movie World

Once your adrenaline is up for the day, you may as well let it keep going. So we were bussed over to Movie World. I’ve already blogged about how this was my ultimate theme park experience for our ultra-VIP treatment. And more excitingly, for my birthday last month, my husband and I were given annual passes to Movie World! Woo! So as soon as my husband can beat his latest round of illness, we’re heading down there for more wild days.

 

MovieWorld

Sing it with me “I’ve been to Movie World”…

 

Green Lantern Coaster

First stop: the Green Lantern Coaster. An unnerving coaster!

 

Superman Escape

Then we headed over to the Superman Escape coaster.

 

Lunch

We finally had a chance to rest our weary stomachs as the bus took us up to Mt Tambourine for lunch. We stopped off at Spice of Life cafe.

Spice of Life Cafe

Spice of Life Cafe at Mt Tamborine

 

Pad Thai at Spice of Life

Pad Thai at Spice of Life

 

Rainforest Walk

Our day took a gentler turn with our visit to the Tamborine Mountain Skywalk.

 

Tambourine Rainforest Skywalk Entry

Tambourine Rainforest Skywalk Entry

 

Skywalk Bridge

High above the trees

 

Travel Bloggers Working Hard

Travel bloggers working hard

 

Bottom of the rainforest

At the bottom of the rainforest

 

Out to the edge

Out to the edge of the forest

 

Beer and Cheese

We would up the day with beer and cheese at  the MT Brewery.

Cheese from Witches Chase

Cheese from Witches Chase

 

Beer

Beer tasting. Yeah. I still don’t like beer.

 

Scenic Drive Home

Once we had eaten the cheese, sampled the beer and learned about the beer, it was time to head back to the QT Hotel.

Green Hills

Scenic drive back to the Gold Coast from Mt Tamborine

 

River

A river on the way back to the Gold Coast

 

Which activity would you like the best? Do you travel slow or fast?

Views from a Plane

My day job has been flat out recently for most of this year; one of the big reasons this blog doesn’t get updated much! But today I thought I would share with you some photos I’ve snapped from planes while on work trips. These are all from flights within Queensland – I don’t have much idea of where I was flying over when I took these though!

Plane Window

 

 

Lakes from a plane

 

 

Mountain Ranges from a plane

 

 

Daylight

 

 

Streaming sunlight

 

 

Plane snack

The best type of snack Qantas serves – cheese!

 

Coastline

A stretch of sand – I wish I knew where I was flying over so I could visit!

 

Land from a plane

 

qantas snack

Qantas snacks on regional flights – I prefer the cheese kind!

Do you love to survey the world from above?

Centenary Place Park – Fortitude Valley

As a city worker for years now, I like to take any opportunity I can to get into Brisbane’s parks and relax in my lunch breaks. Centenary Place was a park that I had been past many times, but never actually been to! So I took the opportunity to go for a little walk one day. And I was pleasantly surprised!

Suitcase Scribbles: Centenary Place Park

It was very quiet when I went there, despite being in the middle of a weekday. Only a few others were out enjoying the park.

Suitcase Scribbles: Centenary Park

Suitcase Scribbles: Centenary Place Park Brisbane

 

It was really nice to have pretty much the entire park to myself.

 

Brisbane City Council lists the park’s address as 85 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley. I’d recommend public transport for getting here, but if you drive there are lots of paid car parks around that you could take advantage of. If you wanted to stop by this park and have a picnic, it’s very close to the Woolworths in Spring Hill, so you can grab your picnic items on the run.

 

Centenary Place park is in the middle of some very busy roads that funnel a lot of traffic to and from Brisbane CBD, so I wouldn’t recommend this park for kids. But it is a great park for a quick, middle of the day getaway or leisurely weekend picnic.

 

What do you do on your lunch breaks? Do you get out for fresh air?

The Ultimate Theme Park Experience

So, you may have noticed a small theme on this blog. That of Theme Parks. I’ve written about them a lot. I’ve written about White Water World, Dreamworld, Wet n Wild, Sea World, Theme Park Tactics and Movie World. I love theme parks. Really. Truly. Honestly.

Ultimate Theme Park Experience

Today I’m here to talk to you about Movie World. I first went to Movie World in 2000, for a year 10 excursion. I have no idea what subject it was for – honestly, I don’t really care. I got to go to a theme park on a school day!! One of my best memories from this excursion was getting to go on the Wild West log ride about 10 times in a row – it was a quiet day so the ride operators stopped making us get off the ride & just let us continue!

 

After the 2013 ProBlogger Event on the Gold Coast, I was invited by Tourism & Events Queensland to partake in some activities around the Gold Coast. When I received my itinerary, I started dancing around my house, singing “I get to go to a theme park! I get to go to a theme park!” I still don’t know if my husband was jealous or annoyed by me.

Green Lantern at Movie World

Green Lantern at Movie World

We were whisked into Movie World by their friendly staff, and here begins my Ultimate Theme Park Experience. We didn’t have to queue up. Honestly. This is my dream! No queues! We were on a tight time frame, so we were rushed into the Green Lantern Coaster for our first experience. I hadn’t been to Movie World since this was built, so it was a 100% brand new ride for me. We had a little taste of the ride as we walked up the exit path:

And then it was our turn! This was a bit of a different roller coaster for me; if I was designing it in Roller Coaster Tycoon, it would have a lot of ‘air time’ on the stats page. The less nerdy way of putting this is that  you will feel like you’re falling out of the ride! (As you can tell, I didn’t fall out and I did survive.)

After having the ultimate VIP status for one roller coaster, we were whisked across the park.

MovieWorld Fountain

The beautiful fountain at Movie World

Our next stop was the Superman Escape coaster. I’ve been on this ride before and LOVE IT. It’s an ultimate thrill ride – fast, smooth, and a bit freaky.

Superman Escape

And when I say fast, I mean FAST. As the Movie World website says: “go from zero to 100km an hour in only two seconds”. Fast enough for you?

Superman Ride

Speeding by, at the speed of Superman?

Once again, we were taken in the back entrance to the ride by staff, and bypassed the queue. I would pay a lot of money for this every time I’m at Movie World, if it were possible! I’ve felt like a celebrity at one other time in my life, and this passed that experience by far.

 

There was one possible thing that could have made this an even better experience – to go on my favourite roller coaster at Movie World – the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster. Don’t be put off by it sounding like a kid’s ride – it is a fantastic roller coaster.

 

If you’re going to be stopping by the Gold Coast any time soon, I really can’t recommend Movie World enough. I have been going there for 13 years now and the rides just keep getting better and better.

 

What would your Ultimate Theme Park Experience be?

 

Disclaimer: Tourism  and Events Queensland arranged for my visit to Movie World. I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.