As my nieces were up visiting Grandma in Waikanae Beach, I thought it would be a nice idea to find something exciting to do with them.
Cue Adrenalin Forest.
Adrenalin Forest is an ariel obstacle course set in a small patch of woodland just outside Porirua. Like the UK’s Go Ape, it has several sites across New Zealand and invites both adults and children (over 140cm tall) to don a harness, shimmy up a tree and then traverse the tree tops in increasingly difficult ways. As you progress through the levels, the courses get higher and more demanding. The cost of mentally and physically challenging yourself in this manner is $45 (£22.50) for an adult and $30 for a child (£15) which is around the same price as Go Ape.
My kids agreed that this sounded fun, so I bundled them into the car and we met up with the cousins at Porirua to begin the adventure.
I decided to stay on the ground this time and watched while my children and their cousins were clipped into their harnesses and then herded into the safety briefing. Then came the difficult part; learning how to use the safety line. To prevent you from falling to your death (or more likely breaking a limb or two), you have to ensure that your safety line is attached to a wire at all times. Operating the carabiners at each end of the safety line is not straightforward and there is definitely a knack of getting them on and off. The staff member rattled through the instructions in an unengaging and nonchalant manner, that made it clear he had been through his little spiel at least 17 times already that day, and I could see my daughter getting more and more upset as she struggled to understand what was required of her. After a rocky start and with the help of one of the staff who was actually both incredibly patient and encouraging, she got to grips with the carabiners and managed to do both levels 1 and 2.
I would point our here that if your child only just meets the minimum height like my daughter, they may struggle a bit with some of the obstacles just because of the safety wire system. Some of the overhead wires were almost a foot above my daughter’s head and she found it utterly frustrating trying to clip on a stubborn carabiner while standing on tiptoes at the edge of the platform.
My son, after completing level 1, jumped straight to level 3 as the queue for level 2 was a bit long and found it much more challenging, predominantly because the course was much higher off the ground.
The cousins, who are pretty much fearless and had been to Adrenalin Forest before, shot round the courses, ending up finishing level 4.
You have 3 hours to complete as many courses as you like, the only caveat being that you can’t do the same course twice. The staff were relaxed though and they weren’t bothered that we stayed 20 minutes over our allotted time. It was really nice atmosphere, with people helping out one another whether it was words of encouragement if someone faltered at the start of one of the obstacles or helping each other operate the carabiners.
And you don’t need to worry if you get The Fear in the middle of a level. One of the staff will nimbly climb up the nearest tree, attach another harness to you and lower you to the ground.
I would also mention that there are no toilets or refreshments in the forest so your best bet is to bring a packed lunch and make sure you go before you leave! So if you’re up for the challenge or are happy to send your children up a tree for a few hours, I would definitely recommend Adrenalin Forest. Further information can be found on their website: http://www.adrenalin-forest.co.nz/wellington