15/12/95 - Ride on time

Author: ROBERT WAINWRIGHT
Date: 15/12/1995
Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Page: 31


Six critics, aged between six and 16, braved life and limb to rate the major attractions at Sydney's biggest theme park, Australia's Wonderland, in the lead-up to the school holidays. In doing so, Metro's critics have given the rides a rating out of 10, based on thrills, spills, fear, fun and originality:

SPACE PROBE 7: Billed as the world's highest and fastest thrill ride. It was the No 1 ride in our survey because of the originality of a free-fall, during which riders plummet the equivalent of a 30-storey building. Score: 10. "Unbelievable. It seems you're going to be squashed into the ground." - Guido, 16.

DEMON: Close behind Space Probe. It is fast and plays on an element of surprise caused by riders going through a series of hoops, both forward and in reverse. Score: 9.5. "So fast you don't have time to wonder if it's safe, or be sick." - Frances, 13.

WATER SLIDES: The combination of four waterslides - speed slide, free fall, aqua tube and mountain cascades - is irresistible. Score: 9. "It's fast and fun, but you get a wedgy at the bottom." - Frances, 13.

BUSH BEAST: Not only is this roller-coaster fast and furious, its rattling bumps and tilts accentuate the thrills and sensations of being out of control. Score: 9. "Fast, bumpy, rattling and exciting fun." - Guido.

BOUNTY'S REVENGE: If you enjoy being suspended upside down 20 metres above the ground, this ride is for you. The descent speed as the boat swings like a pendulum also makes the ride one of the best. Score: 8.5.

SNOWY RIVER RAMPAGE: A must, particularly on hot days. Six-man tyre rafts wash around the course, spinning through rapids and jets of water. Score: 8. "Awesome. It's cool when you spin under the water jets and get wet." - Stevie, 6.

TASMANIAN DEVIL: One of the fastest rides at Wonderland. The centrifugal force pins you to your seat as the cyclone action whirls you in dizzy circles. Score: 7.5.

HMS ENDEAVOUR: A slower ride, but its rolling motion provides the stomach with some questions. Score: 7. "My stomach went up and down. It was great." - Jeremy, 6.

ZODIAC: A spinning ferris-wheel ride which rated as an average ride in comparison to some others. Score: 7.

WIZARD'S FURY: Doesn't quite live up to its name, or the other rides, but still rates as a winner. Score: 7.

DRAGON'S FLIGHT: A spinning swing ride which rated as fun, particularly for younger children. Score: 7. "I wanted it to go faster." - Stevie, 6.

THE SKYHAWK: A mild version of Space Probe, re-creating a parachute. Score: 6.

Postcript: A change of clothes per child is advised, as is sunscreen and a hat. There's plenty of food and drink outlets, though a packed lunch is a lot smarter. Grumbles: Not enough shaded and seated areas for those waiting near the rides. Not enough lockers for bag storage. Prizes on some stalls a bit chintzy. * ROBERT WAINWRIGHT

Australia's Wonderland, Wallgrove Road, Eastern Creek, is open throughout the school holidays, except on Christmas Day. Adults, $31.95, concession, $21.95. Phone 832 1777.