We went to the Australian Outback Spectacular at the Gold Coast on Sunday night for Mum’s birthday along with Aunty Susan and Ian who are over for a short holiday from NZ.
It was an interesting night. For the price of your ticket you get a straw hat, three course meal and a showcase of the outback, the history and where we are now. It was nice to have been once but I wouldn’t be rushing back there in a hurry. Well perhaps I would rush back to have more of the salad that we were served as a starter as it was very very yummy. It had lots of endive which I just love as well. Though I wasn’t fussed over the AACo Steak or the Pavlova.
Upon entry you are herded past a series of photo stations and a shop into the bar/holding pen area where they want you to spend money on drinks for 45mins or so until they let you into the arena to your seat where you are then given free beer, wine, lemonade or water. The holding pen is decorated with lots and lots of outback memorabilia such as signs, hats, fence posts, photos etc etc.
The arena is divided into two sections, one half supports Austral Downs, the visiting station with a yellow hat band and the other half supports Wondoola Station with a red hat band. We were in the Wondoola Station section which was good because I thought the yellow hat bands were pretty average.This of course meant that whilst we were in the holding pen it was a sea of hats.
Now a stereotypical outback bar is just not going to be true blue if there is not a country singer with his/her guitar and if the stage does not suit you, what better stage is there than the back of a ute.
The show overall was pretty average in my view, possibly I think because of how they force the Australian clichés on you. Now I can say g’day and cooee with the best of them but I don’t swing my hat round in exclamation and I certainly don’t do a kookaburra laugh and you won’t force me to said mentioned things if I don’t want to.
There was three acts in the show. The first act introduced you to the outback and the people of the outback as well as some circus style horse riding which was quite good. The second act saw a reciting of The Man from Snowy River as well as “mustering” of sheep, cattle and colts before we see the men breaking in the colts in the stereotypical rough and tough way of literally breaking them and not getting anywhere. Than the daughter comes along and “whispers” to the horse and then proceeds to easily mount it and ride it round the arena. To which the men humbly accept that maybe there are better ways to break in a horse. To show how the outback has adapted to technology they mustered the cattle with a helicopter as well as quad bikes and horses. The helicopter was pretty cool, it is suspended on a rail which runs down the centre of the arena and then uses it own power to move down the rail and turn side to side. Very cool.
The final act was a competition which saw members of the audience pulled out for a kids chicken race, a beer can regatta as well a the typical barrel and flag races.
They also had a camel race round the arena which was a bit of a have really as two camels come in with two riders, they go round the ring once and then out the door again, I would have loved to have seen them go round the ring twice at least so you could actually see the animals and get a feel for them. Whilst points are awarded to the two teams through out the final act it comes down to the audience as to which station wins the show with a hat passing race. On our night the opposing station Austral Downs won the show.
One of the things I did really enjoy were the images that they projected onto the backdrop especially for The Man from Snowy River where they had a series of panoramic scenes which they would pan over as the poem progresses. That was really cool and there were some gorgeous photos on the screen.