Queensland's theme parks
Jo Wedlock - Content provided by House of Travel
Aussie theme parks are a huge attraction for families when they are choosing a winter holiday. While it's tempting to stick to the usual trip to the Cook Islands, it can quickly go from family fun to nightmare if your kids are not huge beach goers or the weather gets a bit rough.
So why not mix it up and visit Aussie. You can spend your days getting 'wet n wild' or watching dolphins at one of Queensland's many theme parks.
There are around 10 parks located between the Gold and Sunshine Coast, so it pays to hire a car if you want to take your time and explore all there is to see.
Some parks are better suited for different age groups. Bear in mind that some parks' attractions will have age or height restrictions, so kids under four years old may struggle to find things they can do.
To avoid getting caught out, speak to your House of Travel specialist about which theme parks that will best suit you and your family. Check out this list of some of the ones in the area:
Dreamworld and WhiteWater World
Even after 30 years of operating, Dreamworld is still one of the most popular theme parks. It's an action-packed adventure with live, interactive shows; unique animal attractions, and thrilling rides for the adrenaline junkie.
They are sure to find their thrill fix on one of the Big Eight: The BuzzSaw, The Cyclone Rollercoaster, the Giant Drop, the Tower of Terror II, The Claw, The Wipeout, Pandemonium and the Mick Doohan MotoCoaster.
There is even now a new breed of innovative rides and attractions that focus on adding skill to thrill. Why not try Australia's first full-motion virtual V8 Supercar, or experience the rush of surfing on a floating log on FlowRider.
For the wee ones there's Wiggles World, Tiger Island and The Australian Wildlife Experience. Dreamworld and sister waterpark WhiteWater World have combo tickets, so you can experience both together.
WhiteWater World is filled with massive water rides, including the drop and loop bodyslide, the four person tuberide down The Rip and a wave pool called the Cave of Waves. If you have littlies they will love Wiggle Bay and the pipeline plunge!
Sea World is a fantastic holiday park experience for all ages. Unlike some of the thrill seeking parks, even your littlies will be able to experience most of what's on offer and love it.
Visit a show and see dancing dolphins, playful polar bears and awesome sharks. It's the closest theme park to Surfers Paradise and Main Beach. Apart from the marine life shows, there is the Jet Stunt Extreme show and 3-D movies, as well as great rides for little kids at Sesame Street Beach.
Those with an adventurous streak will enjoy the interactive adventure zone Castaway Bay, the Jet Rescue and Sea Viper rollercoaster and Viking's Revenge Flume Ride.
One popular activity is visiting Australia's only polar bears, Liya, Hudson and Nelson. Or get hands-on with majestic stingrays at Ray Reef and spy on King, Gentoo and Fairy penguins pottering about the Penguin Encounter exhibit.
Warner Bros. Movie World
Warner Bros. Movie World is perfect for children of all ages. Its Hollywood themes and characters give the park its glitz and glamorous buzz, and the daily parade down Main Street features all your cartoon and movie heroes.
The Lethal Weapon, Superman and Scooby Doo rollercoasters and the Batwing Spaceshot will have the hearts pumping, while the Looney Tunes Village has a great selection for young kids. Throw in the Hollywood Stunt Driver show and the Wild West Falls and you've got something for everyone.
Movie World is open every day from 10am till 5.30pm
For a day of thrills and spills, there's no better place than the Gold Coast's pioneer water park, which offers top aquatic action under the warmth of Queensland's sun. Wet'n'Wild offers hectares of slides and rides, including the sheer tube plunge Kamikaze, giant wave drop-in Surfrider, and the extreme experience of Tornado.
Buccaneer Bay keeps youngsters' splash happy while teens and adults tackle Terror Canyon, Mammoth Falls, Super 8 Aqua Racer and Speedcoaster. Look out for the Dive-In Movie nights on Saturdays during summer.
Don't be deterred if you're visiting during the cooler months - the water is heated April through to September. Open daily from 10am to 5pm (4pm during winter).
Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo
OK, so it's not exactly on the Gold Coast, but so many of our House of Travel families take the short trip up the highway to check out the Crocodile Hunter's crocodile and Australian wildlife park, that we thought we'd better mention it. Crikey, it's a good day out and your hotel or local tourist office will be able to arrange transport for you.
See more than 1000 native and exotic animals, and if you're lucky you might even get to see Bindi too. Open daily from 9am to 5pm.
This article was originally published by House of Travel on this page.