Get set for some good old splashtacular family fun. With plenty of new adrenaline-pumping bowl rides, funnel rides and surfing rides, 2008 is lining up to be a watershed year for Australia's water parks.
Get the kids, pack your swimsuits and towels and head to the nearest water park for a day of wet n' wild fun. To whet your appetite (bad pun intended!), we've rounded up some of the country's wettest and wildest water parks.
Wet 'n' Wild, Gold Coast, Qld
Australia's biggest and most popular water park, Wet 'n' Wild Water World on Queensland's Gold Coast is exactly as it proclaims very wet and very wild. Located next to Warner Bros Movie World, the park offers something for everyone, from the country's largest water slides and a giant wave pool to a variety of gentle rides. Thrillseekers won't want to miss the new Extreme H2O with its impressive king-sized funnel slides (the Tornado and the Blackhole), the twists and turns of the gigantic Whirlpool or the heart-stopping plummet down the Surfrider, which simulates wiping out on a massive wave. The littlies aren't forgotten with their very own aquatic adventure playground at Buccaneer Bay. After the sun sets, you can catch the latest release movies while floating on a tube at the Dive 'n' Movies.
Whitewater World, Gold Coast, Qld
Over the road at Dreamworld is the country's newest arrival on the water park scene, White Water World. Boasting the most advanced water rides on the planet, the park uses cutting-edge technology to deliver greater thrills and spills. Rides include the eight-lane Blue Ringed Octopus (BRO) waterslide, which hurtles riders down its 120-metre tentacle tracks, the Rip, where you are plunged into darkness and sucked down a massive whirlpool gurgler, and the Super Tubes HydroCoaster, an intense hydro-magnetic roller coaster which is only the second of its kind in the world. There's also the very special Wiggle World section for kids, complete with interactive sprays, mini slides, giant instruments and colourful water cannons.
Manly Waterworks, Sydney, NSW
Just 200 metres from Manly Wharf and next door to the Oceanworld aquarium, Manly Waterworks has provided hours of amusement for the young and young at heart for more than 20 years. A local institution, the Waterworks featured in the movie BMX Bandits
starring Nicole Kidman in a scene involving an escape down one of the waterslides. With fully supervised giant slides of varying speeds and a large viewing area, it's ideal for an action-packed safe day out with the kids. Take a ride on the twisted Cobra, slither down the Python or for that extra adrenaline rush, tackle the pitch-black tubes of the Insane Earthworm.
Adventure Park, Geelong, Vic
If you're after a day of excitement, laughter and fun in Victoria, head for Geelong's Adventure Park. With 22 rides and attractions including go-karts, an archery range, paddle boats, an 18-hole mini-golf course, flying foxes, aqua bikes, canoeing, a colossal adult jumping castle and much, much more, you'll never want to leave. For the best wet action, get your heart racing with the new Super Six Lane Aqua Racer, where you can race your friends 80 metres down a towering wave-like mountain, clocking speeds of up to 40km/h. If that's a little too frenetic, Bonito's Bay Water Play Splash Zone is a Caribbean pirate-inspired adventure playground which is ideal for the young ones.
Kalamunda Wet 'n' Wild, Perth, WA
For the wettest, wildest and longest water slides in the west, you can't beat Perth's Kalamunda Wet 'n' Wild, only 20 minutes drive from the city. Test your lungs on the Screamin' Demon, get sucked down the Monster Corkscrew or race your mates down the Awesome Foursome aqua racer. If you like your fun a little more on the sedate side, relax in the spa pool, swim a few laps in the Olympic pool or just laze on a towel under a shady tree.
The Beachouse, Glenelg, SA
A 20-minute tram ride from Adelaide in the quiet seaside suburb of Glenelg, the Beachouse is the perfect place to take the family for year-round wet action. This large recreational fun parlour boasts three giant fully-enclosed and heated waterslides, as well as bumper boats, arcade games and the Rolls Royce of dodgem cars, Soli Italian Formula One dodgems. There's also a five-storey play castle designed as a fantasy underworld.
Been splashing out recently? Which Australian water park is your favourite? Share your best wet n' wild rides with us: