Owns 'FoodLit'. Highly qualified, established food & lifestyle writer, former restaurateur, founder professional writing business, Articul8. Long, diverse writing history, passion for food culture, the land & inspired food language.www.foodlit.com.au
Published October 29th 2010
A unique and fabulous new attraction, bound to become one of our state's most popular, has opened in beautiful Belgrave right near the Puffing Billy in the Dandenong Ranges. The Trees Adventure features flying foxes of varying lengths and heights and 65 different treetop challenges amidst the splendour of rare, historical gardens at Glen Harrow Park. It's a winner.
No, it's not just for kids, thrillseekers or rock climbers. As the website states, "the challenges range from easy to 'are you insane?'" Anyone of average fitness can experience the triumph of overcoming obstacle courses and soaring through the forest amidst our feathered friends and rare, exotic trees, like the majestic, 150 year-old Algerian Oak, the 'home tree' beneath whose gracious branches the challenges begin.
Sure, any under-used muscles will remind you they're there and some of the challenges will set your heart a-racing, but overcoming fears and stretching the comfort zones is a great confidence booster. You might be well-surprised by what your body and mind are really capable of when not bound by fear. I was blown away and can hardly believe what I mastered - and, believe me, I'm not exactly fit.
While challenges might be anywhere from two to fifteen metres above ground, it certainly helps that Trees Adventure uses the safest, state-of-the art safety equipment, which you get your mind around pretty quickly after a training session and a few challenges. You remain attached to the structure at all times. There's also a well-experienced and encouraging support team on-hand if you need assistance.
I did. After mastering the Blue Course, the beginners' course for adults (think ropes, exhilarating flying foxes, an aerial skateboard, Tarzan line, tree trunks, and more), the Red Course beckoned.
The first Red challenge – what looked deceptively like an easy-peasy rope climb, or sideways 'net traverse' to be precise – required every ounce of energy, guts and determination I could muster. There was no blood, lots of sweat, the odd tear, and an expletive or three. (You luckily can't see my pained expression in the picture, which my sister Lisa took, nor the fact that I'm very high off the ground!) I did, however, whoop in triumph as I mounted the safety platform. I progressed through several more challenges well but, with three more to go (and between you and me), was totally spent and couldn't continue.
I called for help and a staff member, an experienced rock climber, came to help me abseil down a totally fabulous tree trunk to the welcomed ground below. As I said, the reason for my early descent is between you and me. When I re-count the story to others, the version will be that I simply didn't have time to finish the course, but needed to dash off to catch the 12.30 Puffing Billy Steam & Cuisine lunch train!
Shhh… It's between you, me and the trees – and it means I can't wait to get back to Trees Adventure soon, conquer the Red Course - and at least contemplate the next level.
You must book and, if you can swing it (pardon the pun), a weekday visit means less traffic in both the popular Dandenongs and in the trees. School, social, sporting and corporate groups are welcome. Trees Adventure is open: Monday to Friday (11am to 5pm) and Saturday & Sunday (9am to 5pm), with the last departure into the trees at 2.45pm given your journey lasts for two of the most exhilarating hours you will have had in a very long time.
I've also had a Trees Adventure experience and it was fantastic! My six old was also a champion at this. It's a terrific activity for the whole family, in the most magical forest setting. Highly recommended.
By kylielewis - reader Sunday, 31st of October @ 10:50 pm