It was windy overnight and I was up at one point tying the tarp down more tightly as it was flapping a lot - I didn't want to take it off in case the potential forecast rain arrived. I slept badly, worrying about packing up in time (there were signs around saying we must check out by 10) and the fell asleep quite soundly in the early morning and woke up at 7.15, which was later than I'd planned.
The pack up went pretty smoothly although it was hot and sweaty work for all of us. Liam and Amelie did the dishes and then put the poles and pegs away and carried things to the car, Caitlin helped me with the tent. We were all hitched up and ready to go by 10.40 which is our quickest time yet.
The drive north was quite enjoyable. The countryside was green and lush, lots of trees, and paddocks full of grass. There were a lot of hills and we could see mountains in the distance. Driving on a dry day was also much easier for me. We reached the Gold Coast and I was fascinated by the tall buildings. We were suddenly driving in city traffic (which wasn't as difficult as driving in Byron Bay...) and we noticed that there were no other cars with caravans or trailers - they must be around somewhere, but apart from a few at a rest stop about half way from Byron, I don't think we saw any other caravans.
We found our way to Sea World Resort - driving past Sea World we could see a large blue roller coaster and it looked like something I would be happy to go on. The big kids were excited about it too. We pulled up to the front of the resort (and a lady waiting there moved her car forward so there was room for me to pull up with the trailer) and went inside to check in. Our room was ready so we were allowed to go straight up. We got our clothes bags out of the car and put them on a trolley for the concierge to take up, and asked about parking the trailer - he said we could just put it in one car parking space and park the car next to it. The kids came with me while I moved the car down into the carpark. I parked in the last row so that the trailer wasn't in anyone's way - and I managed to back it into a spot without too much trouble. We grabbed a few more bags and headed back into the resort.
The lobby felt quite luxurious and the kids were extremely excited to be there. We headed over to our room, where our luggage was waiting. We were in the Bay Wing, so we took a lift down one floor from the lobby, then walked along a corridor and then a covered walkway, then up 2 levels in another lift, then around the corner to our room. We had a balcony, a lovely bathroom with shower over the bath, and 2 double beds. The kids explored the room and we had a quick snack and repacked our bags, put our swimmers and sunscreen on and got ready to go to Wet n Wild - the clocks had gone back an hour because Qld doesn't do daylight savings, so it was still only 12.30 and we had a whole afternoon of theme park time! (The deal I got for our rooms gave us unlimited entry to Sea World, Movie World, Wet n Wild and Paradise Country for the 4 days of our stay)
It was a 25 minute drive to Wet n Wild, and quite exciting to arrive there (and to see Movie World next door). Once inside we found a table in the junior area and set up our things there, then took it in turns to take Amelie on some of the junior water slides. Liam and Caitlin took her on the mini-tornado, and I took her on a longer slide which was fun and not scary at all - my kind of slide! We checked out the wave pool (the regularly spaces waves made me feel a bit seasick) then Caitlin wanted to go on a surfboard ride that was basically a large U shape, with the ends curved in a little, and the ride went up one side of the U, then down through the middle and up the other side - it looked quite scary, and I think Liam wasn't quite prepared for how scary it was. Oh, the seats also span as the surfboard went back and forth.
From there we checked out the scarier slides - Liam and Caitlin went on the Black Hole which was a long enclosed waterside, mainly in the dark. Amelie and I went back to swim in the junior pool (which was lovely and refreshing, and fun to swim around - we went under bridges and I shot her with water cannons from the top of one of the bridges) while the others went on the Kamikaze - also a U shaped ride, this time a water slide though. They said it wasn't as scary as they thought it would be.
We had another go in the wave pool, then the 4 of us went on the Mammoth Falls ride - we all sat in a raft and the ride was a wide, open tube that started quite high. It was a lot of fun and we did it twice. From the wave pool we watched some people on the SkyCoaster - they get strapped into a harness, lying face down, then pulled up very very high by a rope, then are released and swing through the air in a large arc - scary even to watch, I couldn't imagine doing it!
Liam and Caitlin went on the Constrictor, an enclosed tube ride, and then we went to the Aqua Racer. This one didn't seem as high as the one at Adventure Park Geelong, but I was still pretty scared. It was much harder to get going on this one too. I was way behind Liam a couple of times but picked up so much speed on the last two bumps that I overtook him. Amelie watched us the first time then decided to give it a go and she loved it, and went on it twice.
Next we went to Calypso Beach which is a lazy river ride - floating in tubes around a circular river. It was lovely and relaxing. After one circuit I left Amelie with Liam, while Caitlin took me on the Black Hole - it was so much fun. I was screaming and laughing and sounded a bit insane I think, and I really enjoyed it. Being in the dark made it a bit scarier but there were no scary drops or real surprises. We played a little more in Calypso Beach then back to the wave pool, and Caitlin had another turn on the Surfboard.
Liam and Caitlin bought themselves a soft serve cup with lots of different toppings, and Amelie bought some fairy floss. There was a very large water dragon wandering around amongst the tables where our stuff was, we saw him each time we went back for a snack or more sunscreen. Someone dropped a bag of cheese and bacon balls and the little birds in the area were eating them - they had orange beaks and ate a lot of them before Caitlin grabbed the bag and put it in the bin - we figured they were likely to make the birds rather unwell. We'd had under 4 hours at the park and managed to have a go at everything we wanted to - we would have been happy to stay longer but also felt like we were happy with what we had done. It was a very fun afternoon.
An old friend of mine lived not far from the park so once we were dressed again we headed over to his place. I hadn't seen him since a baseball tournament in Port Macquarie in 2002, so it was fantastic to have a chance to catch up. We sat on his back verandah overlooking some lush forest, and had a drink and a good chat. It had been warm and sunny all day and in the evening some heavy clouds rolled in - there was torrential rain for a little while, and lots of thunder and lightning. It was pretty cool to watch and we were very glad we weren't camping tonight! We decided to get fish and chips which were delicious. His 17 year old son was lovely and got on well with my kids - after dinner they all watched funny youtube videos together while I chatted to my friend. He had an early start the next morning and we were all exhausted so we headed off about 8pm.
We stopped and got petrol on the way back to the resort and the guy in the Spar service station was friendly and chatty. Back at the resort we watched a bit of tv and used the free wifi for a while, some of the kids had a shower and we gradually drifted off to bed. The room had 2 double beds and Liam didn't want to share a bed with any of us, so we'd bought a camping mattress up and he set himself up on the floor between the two beds.