When I went to Disneyland as a child, I stared in envy at the kids and families with annual passes, proudly parading the fact that they could go to the magical fun land of rides and treats as many times as they wanted during the year. Then I grew up and discovered that I too, could make use of annual passes. Obviously, not in Disneyland as I do not live in America but there are plenty of options in Australia where you and your family can enjoy touristy delights all year long.
Moreton Island may not have themed Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland rides but one can pretend to be part of the Pirates of the Carribean crew for the day. Granted, the modern ferries that whisk you across is nothing at all like the majestic Flying Dutchman, but the remains of the Tangalooma Wreck can be mistaken as a shipwrecked journey.
While in the middle of organising logistics for an upcoming trip with friends to Moreton Island, I was delighted to find out that an Annual Island Pass was available for $79 (adults) or $45 for kids. This includes unlimited ferry rides and day trips to the Tangalooma Resort for one year up to June 2013. A day trip allows you up to 7 hours at the resort, leaving from Holt Street Wharf and you can indulge in 80 different activities, up to 40 of them free including tennis, table tennis, archery, squash, eco walks, cricket, badminton, swimming, golf putting and attend marine presentations. With a return ferry trip on the Micat costing $50 for an adult, it only takes two trips a year to make this pass an absolute bargain! All trips have to be booked in advance and it takes up to three working days for you to get your pass. Just make sure you don't lose them!
Brisbane's Alma Park Zoo and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
If you have little kids and they can't get enough of the cute animals at the zoo, either because they are fascinated by the movie Madagascar or they have an animal lover gene in general, get an annual pass so you can bring them there as often as they like! I have grouped the Alma Park Zoo at Dakabin and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary together as they both feature furry and cuddly animals. If you are a true animal fan, an annual pass to both is a must.
The Alma Park Zoo annual pass costs $95 for adults and $60 for children. This is compared to $37 for adults and $27 for children per entry. It is easy enough to see why an annual pass is worth it if you intend to come back at least twice. The annual pass option includes a quarterly newsletter, 10% discount for accompanying guests, 10% discount for the retail shop and invitations to the annual member special event days. With 200 individual animals and 50 different species of exotic animals, it is easy to see why one visit may not be enough.
The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is rated one of the top 10 zoos in the world by AOL and has over 130 koalas. Located 50 minutes from the Gold Coast in Fig Tree Pocket, an annual pass for adults is $62 compared to a $33 day pass. Annual passes for kids are $44 compared to a $22 day pass. Again, for repeating visitors it is a no-brainer. Other benefits include 15% of admission price for accompanying guests, 15% off souvenirs, food and beverage, exclusive Friends Pass members specials and email newsletters.
Gold Coast Theme Parks
Now, this is the kids equivalent of Disneyland. If you live in the Gold Coast, annual passes are the way to go to make your children squeal in happiness. Your theme park choices extend from Movie World and Seaworld to WhiteWater World, Wet & Wild and Dreamworld.
Dreamworld is currently selling annual passes at $110 for adults or $59 for kids for entrance to both Dreamworld and WhiteWater World. Other than unlimited entry, you get entry to SkyPoint Observation Deck as well as 10% off entry fees for other guests up to 4 people and 50% off during your birthday month as well as 10% off merchandise. A one day entry costs $79 for adults and a pass combined with WhiteWater World costs $99 for adults so an annual pass is perfect if you want to go more than once a year.
You can get unlimited entry to Movie World, Wet & Wild and Seaworld for $99 until June 2013 via the VIP Gold pass. This also includes entry to Fright Night (single entry costs $29.99) and White Christmas. Fright night is probably a bit scary for little kids but it will be an exhilarating experience for teenagers and young-at-heart adults which includes a Psycho 3D Maze where the walls will close in around you and a Slasher Maze.