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  1. Reanimated35

    Paradise Country Review

    Paradise Country Review Park visited: 2 April 2017 Nestled in the bushland out the back of Warner Bros. Movie World, Paradise Country is a park seldom visited by theme park enthusiasts. We ventured out there today to see what keeps this park in business. It is of course the international tourists. And there were so many tourists. So, so many tourists. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit there, but there was a decent amount. This isn’t the park you would visit to get your fix of thrill rides or superheroes. You won’t find Green Lantern battling Parallax, Batman versing The Joker, or Catwoman taking out Arkham security. What you will find is plenty of Koalas (maybe a few too many Koalas for my liking) and cute little farm animals freely roaming around their enclosures, waiting for the next handful of food from passing visitors. I'll admit. I've been a theme park fan for years and have always avoided Paradise Country because I figured it was geared too much towards foreign tourists. I'm happy to admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find that families and local tourists can also have a great day out there. It's a laid back atmosphere and with all the trees and quietness that usually only comes from being in an isolated location, it’s incredibly easy to forget that you're only metres from the rear of Movie World's Wild West Falls, and not too far from the houses on the other side of kopps road. When you stop and think about it, Village sure does own a huge amount of land. Just look at all the possible coasters you could fit in here. So yes, the walk from the car park to the main entry may be a little long for some people's liking, and I would tend to agree if it was either hot or wet weather, but it's a nice stroll on a cloudy and cooler day. Just on the car park though, after making the speed-bump laden journey from the highway, via the rear of Australian Outback Spectacular, you’re greeted with one of the most poorly laid out car parks I’ve come across. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was designed by the team behind Westfield shopping centre car parks. I’d suggest if you do make the trip to Paradise Country, skip the first car park and head straight for the additional parking area. Whilst not bitumen, it’s a gravel car park with a much better layout. The park itself is in pretty good nick. They’re lucky in a sense that any dirt, spiderwebs, or hornets nest etc just help add to the “outback” theme. Upon entering the homestead, you’re presented with a very easily avoidable ticket purchasing counter. Note: I do not condone bypassing this and getting in without paying, or scanning your VRTP membership card, I’m just quite surprised at how easy it would be to just walk on by without purchasing a ticket. All that's stopping you is your ethics. You could pay for a ticket, or you could just wander on in like you already had one and would probably be easily missed. Especially in the current climate, I'd hate to think there's guests who would do that instead of supporting our parks, but I'm just really shocked that the park hasn't done anything to prevent this. Maybe it's not as much of an issue as it seems? The animal walkthough could really just be called a Kangaroo and Koala, and Koala, and Koala walkthough (maybe I wasn’t exaggerating about the number of Koalas earlier). With all the Koalas to look at, this sure keeps a certain group of international tourists occupied for a while. The nursery however is where the fun really begins. Now obviously everyone is going to have a different opinion on what fun is, however, while I’ve grown up in the city all my life, I love farm animals and animals in general, so it’s a nice change of pace from the thrills on offer next door. Free feed bins are located within the nursery and the animals know exactly who’s holding a tasty handful. There’s plenty of entertainment value in just watching the Goats almost knocking over visitors to get the food. Side note for parents of younger children - the Goats can and will make attempts to jump up and knock you over to get at the feed you’re holding. Now go back and read that last paragraph again. Especially the first couple of words. Or even just the first word.... That's not a typo. Paradise Country provides free food for guests to hand out to the animals. FREE. Not $5-10 per cup. No additional purchase required. This isn't some animal upcharge like you might find at a certain Gold Coast marine park, and you don’t need to buy a fancy wristband to open the food box. This is free food that adults and kids can enjoy handing out to the animals who are always more than willing to accept it. Who doesn't love free stuff? Not only can you walk through the enclosure with the Goats and Sheep, but inside the nursery you’ll find Chickens, Cows, Piglets, Guinea Pigs and Alpacas all within arms reach. It’s certainly entertaining for all ages. While geared more towards kids, there’s also the options of opal mining and gemstone panning to take part in. The lunch options aren’t too bad, and they’re priced exactly as expected for theme park food. The buffet will set you back just under twenty bucks. The eating area provided a nice spot to sit and relax after walking around the park. On a Sunday you'll find local musicians playing in the dining area which adds a nice atmosphere and isn't overly loud like you might find at a pub. Well priced food, a comfortable dining area and free music. What's not to love? Along with the endless Koalas, the tourists and locals alike are also treated to the traditional outback experience of a sheep shearing demonstration and brief intro to a few different breeds of sheep. And what would a show be without some audience participation? I must give Village credit for this. Both this show and the Hollywood Stunt Driver show at Movie World have managed to include some form of audience participation without making it horribly cringe worthy. The show is certainly worth a look, even if it is just to fill in time in your day. There is a stock horse show, and a sheepdog demonstration along with a Lorikeet feeding. All of these make for great photos. Or at least I can confirm the Lorikeet feeding does as I missed the other shows. They are certainly something I will make the trip back for at a later date. You could spend a full day at Paradise Country if you enjoy all the shows and walk around at a leisurely pace. Taking into account the target market (international tourists) and the fact they’ve managed to provide a full day visit with a fairly small number of attractions, I’d have to give Paradise Country a solid 6.5 out of 10. Pros: Good shows Great for families and tourists Decently priced food Animals of course Cons: It could use a little more variety in the animals they have on display The carpark is a bit of a walk from the entry The carpark itself could have been better designed The translation service played over the PA during the Sheep Shearing show was painful. Some guests were wearing headsets with what I assume would be other languages being played to them, so why not do the same for more languages on a different radio channel instead of breaking the flow of the show by pausing every couple of sentences.