Flying (too) high

RoyalAuto magazine

Peter Barrett volunteered to test the rides at the Royal Melbourne Show, and found his limits. 

September 2018.


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As a 45-year-old dad whose idea of an adrenaline rush includes sorting through the odd-sock bag and finding a match, spending the morning as a ride judge at the Royal Melbourne Show is more than a step up – it’s a leap of faith. On the plus side, I had some younger (and fitter) hearts assisting mine: Arkie (13), Sapphire (12), Ziggy (10) and Alby (4). Here’s what we learned from visiting the three age-group-appropriate sections: Family Adventure Carnival, Adventure Carnival and Coca-Cola Thrillseekers Carnival.

Mum and child enjoy a ride at the Melbourne Show

Family Adventure Carnival

The lowdown: You’ll find the young children’s and family rides wedged conveniently between the animal nursery and the wood chopping. $25 ride passes can be bought online with entry ticket purchases. Open from 9.30am to 8pm. Rides are recommended for children aged 2 to 5.

Cup & Saucer $6 or 5 for $25

Find your favourite coloured cup and get ready to spin. You are at the (manual) controls of your cup while it spins at a comfortable pace on the platform. A great way for little ones to develop their ride confidence.

Alby’s verdict: “It made me a bit dizzy, but not sick.”

Crocodile Slide $6 or 5 for $25

A giant inflatable crocodile is home to two slides in this original looking take on the bouncy castle. The best part – unlimited turns. So you’ll find time to drink that coffee you so desperately need. 

Alby’s verdict: “The slides are very high, they’re very steep and when you go down they’re very scary.”
Ziggy’s verdict: “I spent 45 minutes on it because Alby wouldn’t go without me.”

Jurassic Coaster $7 or 5 for $30

A dinosaur-themed, five-carriage roller coaster for junior thrill-seekers with $13 souvenir photos. 

Ziggy’s verdict: “The scariest part was when I walked down the steps.”
Alby’s verdict: “It was good – you got to see dinosaurs.”

Cars4Kids

Just like regular dodgem cars but with plenty of steering help from three (particularly patient) roving attendants. Alby clipped one in the back of his ankles but the response was good-humoured. Ziggy was impressed by some of the junior drivers’ skills.

Alby’s verdict: “We love it!”

Sea Circus $6, 2 for $10 or 3 for $15

Built in three stacked shipping containers you’ll navigate a series of ladders and obstacles that dangle, rotate, vibrate and wobble before reaching the twisty slide at the end.

Alby’s verdict: “Well, you got to go on obstacles and slides.” Was it scary? “Nah.”

Adventure Carnival

The lowdown: you’ll find classics such as The Pirate Ship and dodgem cars (Crazy Cars, here), ghost trains and water coasters (Pirate’s Revenge). Open from 9am to 9pm. Rides are recommended for ages 6 to 16.

The Pirate Ship $8

A visit to the Show wouldn’t be complete without a turn on this classic ride. The modern version thrills you with pendulum swinging high-seas action and is perfect for all thrillseekers in training.

Big Bubble Bump $15

At the more expensive end of rides in the Adventure Carnival section, these giant clear plastic spheres allow your little devils to literally walk, roll, or even run on water.

A group of adults at the Royal Melbourne show

Coca-Cola Thrillseekers Carnival

The lowdown: Recommended for ages 15-plus. Rides in this section are generally not for the faint-hearted. Open from 9.30am to 9pm. Height limits apply.

Rockin’ Roll $10 or 2 for $15

Hop into a hotted-up set of wheels for a spinning ride that goes forwards, backwards, round-and-round, up-and-down and side-to side. All to a vintage soundtrack, such as Aretha Franklin’s Respect.
Minimum height 105cm

Arkie’s verdict: “It was good. It started off quite relaxing, then it got very, very fast – it got quite intense and you couldn’t really see where you were. Really fun, though.”
Barfbag rating: 2/5

The Hangover $10

No, it’s nothing to do with a buck’s party in Las Vegas – this version has you literally hanging upside down as two carriages swing in opposite directions.
Minimum height 122cm

Ziggy’s verdict: “It was great!”
Barfbag rating: 4/5 

Nitro Coaster $10

Motocross-themed medium-sized roller coaster with two trains, each with capacity for a dozen thrill-seekers. The loop-the-loop is a highlight but the ride only includes one circuit of the track and is over all too fast. Great for those who want to build confidence.
Minimum height 130cm

Ziggy’s verdict: “The start was scary but then you got used to it and it was really fast but it wasn’t very scary.”
Barfbag rating: 2/5

Rock Star $10 or 2 for $15

Contestants sit in rows on a platform that swings high in the air (but stays level) while a classic FM rock DJ calls the action. 
Minimum height 107cm

Ziggy’s verdict: “It was pretty boring compared to The Hangover.”
Arkie’s verdict: “It made me feel like I was going to throw up.”
Sapphire’s verdict: “It was good, although I did feel kind of sick.”
Barfbag rating: 3/5


Hollywood Horrors $10

Have your picture taken with Freddie Kruger then get set to jump out of your skin as you wander through a spooky labyrinth decorated with gruesome scenes and real-life bogymen who don’t mind testing your ticker.
Not recommended for children under 10

Ziggy’s verdict: “It was a bit scary – especially the guy with the chainsaw.”
Barfbag rating: n/a

Free Style $20 or 2 for $35

If you’re scared of heights, this ride will be a challenge. A giant needle with room for four at either end takes you 40 metres into the sky and back down again at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour. This intense ride had me at my limit. My plan was to use it as a warm up for the biggest and scariest-looking ride at the Show, Beast (also $20). But Free Style’s stomach churning, high-speed descents defeated me. I was done for the day.
Minimum height 140cm, maximum 190cm.

Barfbag rating: 5/5

the RACV Member cafe at the Royal Melbourne Show

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RACV members save up to 20%* on tickets to the Royal Melbourne Show between 22 September and 2 October 2018 when pre-purchasing online or buying from an RACV Shop.

Visit the RACV cafe

When you get to the Show, don't forget to come and say hello to us at the RACV cafe which will be situated opposite the Showbag pavilion.

Exclusive to RACV members, the cafe is your chance to sit and relax, have a bite to eat or simply take a much needed break. Plus with a colouring wall on offer, even the kids will be kept entertained.

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