I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published August 12th 2014
Thunderbird Park is an easy day trip from Brisbane, being located high on the Tambourine Mountain. Among its many attractions, which include a caravan park, thunderegg fossicking and loads more, is the biggest ropes course in Australia.
There are five courses to do as part of the challenge here and they can be done by both children and adults alike. There's two easy courses, two intermediate ones and one difficult one (some kids might not be able to do this last one, or even the easier ones, because of height restrictions as you need to be able to reach the rope overhead).
If you ever decided to complete all these courses, you would get to conquer 85 separate activities. There's the chance to navigate ladders (horizontal and vertical), crawl through barrels (remember you're up in the air), climb nets, walk along ropes and more. One of the 11 flying foxes throughout the site is 125 metres long, while on another obstacle you get to swing like Tarzan over to a giant net (it is slower than I expected though).
I could still watch some kids navigate the end of the course from where I had my lunch
The beginning courses are pretty easy and everyone who visits the Tree Top Challenge starts on one of them. If you're looking for a true challenge, these aren't it, but they are useful for giving you time to get the hang of clipping and unclipping yourself onto the wires and hooks. Typically I'd expect people to only do one of these and then move on, but some kids may want to stay in this area if they're feeling nervous about the height (I felt so secure and was so preoccupied with completing the obstacles I didn't often notice the height myself--which was never as high as I expected-- but I did hate ropes courses back when I was in school).
You don't really need any particular skills for any of the courses until you get to the more difficult 'black' course. I actually struggled on a few of the obstacles here and even though I managed to do them, I did't exactly do them all properly. One warning is that you need a certain amount of strength in your arms to pull yourself along sometimes (there's even an extension to the course that you can access if you can get yourself up hill, just pulling yourself along as your body is hooked onto the wire).
The High Ropes Course was definitely a fun experience that took me about three hours to get through, doing one beginner course, both intermediate ones, and the black one. However I did go during the school holidays when the easier courses were quite congested and took a while to navigate. Nevertheless, I expect people would typically fit in the same combination I did it, but make sure you don't start the second intermediate (red) course too early as it takes you back to Thunderbird Park complex.
On the other hand though, there is an extra challenge in this course that you may be impatient to try out. The Skyall Jump is a leap from a 15 metre platform. You can see it from where you get your gear, so you might even have an audience if you choose to do it. This section is one of the higher points of the course too. At its highest you'll be 20 metres from the ground, but a lot of the course, which is mostly further out in the sparser bush seemed lower, with the lowest point being only two metres from the ground.
The High Ropes Course works well as a day trip from Brisbane or the Gold Coast but as mentioned there is accommodation at the Thunderbird Park caravan park and camping grounds. A weekend could easily be filled here; you can search for thundereggs, have a go at the laser skirmish, go horse-riding, bushwalking, swimming or even play golf. Other attractions nearby include the Rainforest Skywalk and the Glow Worm Caves, to name a few.