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Published April 8th 2016
Become a weekend warrior
Paintball (by Andrιs Aguiluz Rios / CC BY 2.0)
Paintball is the extreme sport when golf, bowling and football aren't exciting enough for your weekends. Entering a remote forest, dressed in army fatigues and carrying a gun isn't the usual way to begin a bushwalk. As you sneak through obstacles, aiming the gun at your friends, will you hesitate or hit them with a stream of exploding paintballs?
You don't need to join the army on an armed tour of Iraq, earn a degree in military history or join the Q&A studio audience to experience combat. Sydney hosts paintball fields where participants dress in protective, machine-washable clothing to battle each other in non-lethal wargames using paintball rifles.
You'll wear a helmet, goggles and protective guards for 'sensitive' areas. With your rifle and paintballs, you'll battle against a team of friends or workmates to either score the most 'kills' or capture a flag. With tactics, teamwork, athleticism and courage, you'll earn bragging rights during the drive home as you compare bruises.
Paintball (by Stefan Krause / CC BY-SA 3.0)
Choose from one of these centres, located throughout Sydney:
South, West: Stanwell Tops, Milperra Aussie Paintball The fields at Milperra, including Hamburger Hill, the Maze, Bunkers, Graveyard, Speedball and BBQ Area (don't shoot the snags) are 15 acres of fighting fun. Stanwell Tops' vast forest is divided into the River Raiders, Death Valley and the Fort gaming fields. You'll battle your friends for 3 hours until lunchtime, watched by a referee to heighten the immersive joy of non-lethal combat. Start with the basics (semi-automatic rifle, goggles and overalls) for $26 then choose load up with paintballs - $39 for 500, $59 for 700 or $79 for 1000. Session times are either 8am 12pm or 10am 2pm. Visit the fields at 2 Maxwell Ave, Milperra or 190 Lawrence Hargrave Dr, Stanwell Tops or call (02) 9771 0112.
North West: Rouse Hill Action Paintball Action Paintball, with parks at Newcastle and Yarramundi, features 18 battlefields at the Rouse Hill park. Choose from Blackhawk Down, Sword Beach, Hornets Nest, Dark Forrest or Diablo. After your last paintball hits the target, retire to the air-conditioned HQ for a shower and lunch. Once you've conquered your friends, compete in regular competitions with Sydney's hardened paintball veterans. The 6 package options range from the starter experience with 200 paintballs at $39 to the 'devastator' with 2000 paintballs for $179. There are numerous packages available and discounts for defence and emergency service members. The centre at is open for combat from 9am 5pm at 290 Annangrove Rd, Rouse Hill or call (02) 9679 0011. If you're arriving by train, depart at Riverstone Station and arrange for the courtesy bus to complete the journey.
North West: Marsden Park Heartbreak Ridge Heartbreak Ridge has 9 battlefields spanning 60 acres of diverse parkland with bridges, swamps and trenches to duck into for protection. Explore your inner warrior with the chaos of the Graveyard, challenge of the Arena, heroics of Mad Max with Demolition Alley or tension of the Minefields. Begin at 8.30am to suit up, receive the safety briefing then commence firing at 9.20am. After paying $30 for your weapon, goggles and overalls, choose from 3 paintball options - $40 for 400, $80 for 1000 or $130 for 1600. Visit the park at 829 Richmond Rd, Marsden Park or call (02) 9838 3058.
North West: Blaxlands Ridge Adrenalin Paintball Adrenalin Paintball has 12 battlefields in 36 acres of Hawkesbury forest. Capture the flag on Hill 60, have a Gardening Australia moment in Fern Valley, survive a post-WW3 world in Wastelands or meditate in the Snipers Den. Pay for a game face for $25 then load up with ammo - $50 for 500, $70 for 800 and $100 for 1200 paintballs. Visit the park at 1200 Putty Road, Blaxlands Ridge or call 4647 8427.
South: Appin Delta Force Paintball Delta Force has 5 realistic battlefields in Appin. London after the Apocalypse is scattered with British icons, including a double-decker bus, red phone booth and tube/train station signs. Tomb Raider has a pyramid for Pharaoh paintball and Tropic Thunder has wooden huts needing repainting. Suit up for a full day of action for only $15 with paintball kits starting at $22 for 100. Visit the park at Brian Rd, Appin or call 1300 785 766.