I'm a beginning writer with a Brisbane Bucket-list and a desire to see it all and report back.
Published February 20th 2016
Test your skills high in the air
Planet Commando opened up in Yatala on the Gold Coast in January this year and so far is living the life of a secret location, only frequented by those "in-the-know". BUT this brilliant indoor adventure centre is unlikely to stay a secret for long, so if you classify yourself as a lover of heights, falls or thrills, make sure you visit as soon as possible. The reason it will not stay hidden from throngs of Queenslanders is because it is one of the best adrenaline pumping locations the GC has to offer (yep… its is better than the theme parks) and these sorts of innovative places never stay hidden for long.
Last weekend the hubby convinced another active couple to come along and check out the venue with us ("convinced" is probably a strong word, as they didn't need much persuasion). For $69 each (students/children and weekday visits are cheaper) us adults were treated to three hours of thrilling indoor adventures. And the only reason we left after three hours, was not because of some enforced time limit, but rather we were so exhausted from each of the obstacle courses we all needed a nap. In fact my upper body is feeling so fantastically sore, I might give up my gym membership forever and just visit Planet Commando once a month.
If I haven't convinced you to take a drive out to this new attraction yet, have a read of the rest of the review and see how much we enjoyed each of the five obstacle sections (plus… they are currently building more).
Upon arrival we took in the views and decided what we wanted to try first.
First up, every Planet Commando participant must learn the ins and outs of the brilliant harness system, which you can do all by yourself – no need for an employee to unclip and re-clip you on every platform. After mastering the harness system you move at your own pace around the Induction Zone. This simple obstacle course is designed to prepare you for the rest of the zones and as a result is a friendly distance to the ground.
We each took about 20mins to complete the circuit which involved walking across some wonky steps, balancing our way along a tight-rope walk, swinging from one platform to another and then shuffling down a cargo net (to name a few). The lovely staff stood below us calling out encouragement, giving tips and taking the pictures for anyone like me with an intense love of the physical evidence of each of my adventurers.
Next up we changed harness and each took turns scaling the two rock climbing walls. We each made it up the first with relative ease, but then around the corner the second wall had an overhang that none of us were even able to attempt, well not today anyway… I will beat it next time. I think this is what make Planet Commando somewhere I am already wanting to go back to; each of their activities are what you make them. Climbing up the overhang was tough enough for us, but we watched a very fit guy push himself by only using his arms to scale this gigantic wall.
After reaching the top, the only way to come down is via abseiling the opposite wall (not strictly true… I wimped out and climbed back down). There is always a staff member up the top of this zone to help participants transition through carabiners. I think my friends would agree with me, that every staff member was supportive and encouraging, and at no point was I made to feel bad for not being able to complete an obstacle. I suppose this is especially fantastic for families who want to give Planet Commando a go.
What rock climbs up must abseil down.
After this we headed over to a ground level maze and poured into it. It was couple verse couple as we army crawled through the dark twists and turns. Whilst this activity didn't have the high thrills of the other courses, it is completely black and so there is of course a little part of you (or perhaps a big part) that want to find your way out as quick as possible. Now, I don't want to give too much away but I will tell you that passing people in those tiny hallways was a real challenge indeed.
Next up we headed over to the jumping bag where you have the option to jump onto one of those giant stunt bags used by movie stars. After a quick safety talk about the proper way to land each of us threw ourselves from the lower platform, fell through the air and hit the bag with a very loud thump. Now, none of us could convince ourselves to jump from the top one (partly because it looks so much higher up once you are up there), but we were able to witness a couple of burley blokes give it a go later on in the session. Whilst I didn't get to experience the free fall experience, their expressions when the exit the bag looked like it was the best thing they ever did. My one tip to Mums, Dads and official photographers; make sure your camera is set on sport mode because this brilliant little activity is perfectly sweet, but oh so short.
Now each of the sections receives not only a difficulty rating but also a commitment rating, and it was this ultimate obstacle course that received the highest commitment rating possible. This high ropes zone is not for the faint hearted. Not only are you meters and meters above the group, the only way to go is forward. As a result I stayed firmly on the ground and took on the role of cheerleader for my very brave buddies.
The course begins with a short climb up a telephone pole. Then once you are at the top you need to use your balancing skills to step slowing across a tightrope like obstacle. Next up is a monkey bar situation that only the most agile mate was able to achieve. The other two were able to sit in their harnesses and pull themselves across the abyss. After this comes the eagerly anticipated surfboard. This activity, usually experienced by sun-bleached blonde in the Gold Coast oceans has been appropriated for the sky. Basically at this point participants only option was to jump from the platform onto the board and the balance as the board zipped through the air. It took a while for the hubby to convince himself to jump, but with his feet back on the ground, he proudly declared it was his favourite activity so far.
After dismounting the surfboard I watched each of my buddies take a short but well deserved rest. I think they were trying to allow their muscles some recovery time… although I suppose they could have been psyching themselves up to grab a hold of the rope swaying in front of them which was required to help them swing through the air and onto the suspended cargo net on the other side of the empty air. Two out of three executed this swing perfectly but after missing the net the first time, my darling hubby had to swing himself back and forth (with the help of a staff member on the ground) to be able to scramble up the green rope. Once up there an upside down crawl was required to gain access to the next platform.
This adrenaline pumping, thrill causing, adventurous obstacle course ended with a series of rope steps, a horizontal rock-climbing wall and then a final decent back to earth. Or these last few obstacles I stood there in awe of my buddies who finished the course, which one of they described as, "terrifying, physically exhausting, amazing fun."
Last up you need to step, swing and then climb back down again.
Navy Seals Obstacle Course
The last section left for us at this point was the Navy Seal's obstacle course, which I believe is usually to be done at speed. But we undertook this last zone at a leisurely pace, worried that if we exerted much more energy we would be fall asleep half way up the structure. (I suppose that is the price you pay when having this sort of extreme fun). We began by scrambling over a tall structure, aided by a cargo net and then pulling ourselves approximately eight meters up a wiggling ladder.
It is very clear I will never be able to join the armed forces.
At the top the lovely employee simply told us to jump our way down the platforms on the other side. This all sounds really easy until you remember you are ten meters up and each platform is less than a meter wide. Again, the courses here are what you make them, so whilst I felt accomplished sliding down them on my bum and belly I did watch a number of people give the jumping route a go.
As you can see we only had one member of our group with enough energy to do the last obstacles.
The three hours we spent at Planet Commando climbing, surfing, lifting, scaling, scrambling, abseiling and jumping were some of the best active hours we have had in a while. Who says you need a gym to get fit?