72 Days on the Road
Just 10 minutes down the road from our seaside hostel, Moana Lodge, is an obstacle course reaching more than 30 metres in the trees. It’s called Adrenalin Forest, and we are keen as a bean!
So we have done climbing, flying foxing, and other challenges in the incredible Waitomo Caves back on Day 30, but Robin was afraid of the height the whole time even though we couldn’t see the floor! How is he going to handle it today?
We find out after a morning and afternoon of hardcore work and lunch eating. Adrenalin Forest is just off State Highway 1 in a small but tall pine forest. It might be a small area, but man, there is a lot crammed into this place! Looking up, we see all sorts of crazy obstacle courses: barrels, swinging ropes, spiral bridges, horse stirrups, spinning logs, ladders, and lots more.
It’s good to know we won’t fall to our death
We meet our guide, Sonny, who gives us a safety briefing of how our harnesses work. The harnesses and clips use a magnet system where the clip reacts with the metal safety wires along each activity. They are designed in a way that means you will always be attached with at least one of the clips at all times. At the end of each section, you have a tail where one side of a metal wire is not attached to anything so you can clip, then slide right off (then walk to your next section). This climbing clip design means that once we have had a safety briefing and done the first couple of easy courses with Sonny, we can be let loose into Adrenalin Forest to clip and climb at our own pace, while the guides don’t have to worry about us falling to our deaths. Perfect!
Cover your ears, children, the angry French man is swearing again
Seven levels of pure forest adrenalin await. Each level upping the height and the difficulty of the activities. Levels 1 and 2 start pretty low to get us warmed up, then we hit Level 3. This is where Robin starts to freak out. Where on the previous levels, we ran across stable logs, easy bridges and crashed into netted spider webs, we now face a lot more swinging obstacles. If you are scared and shaking while trying to get across the obstacles, they will swing even more, as Robin discovers for himself…
At first he is silently suffering, his eyes wide open as he shakes like a sh*tting dog over swinging ropes. Then he finds a more relaxing approach to get him across the rest of the obstacles – an approach that the French are known to use a lot: non-stop swearing. At this point, Laura is pretty glad that there are no families doing the Adrenalin Forest at this time…
The fear, the challenge: Level 6
Even if Robin is feeling the fear, the great thing is this is such a social activity, egging each other on, laughing at each other’s miserable fails while getting tangled in the ropes. Yet, it’s an individual challenge, especially as some of those obstacles get harder and harder, as Laura is about to find out on Level 6.
31 metres in the tree canopy, this is some hardcore sh*t! Balancing ropes are longer and wobblier, rope bridges are designed to drop under your weight, spiral bridges do whatever they can for you to lose your footing… Robin is beyond scared but is just ploughing through the obstacles as fast as his shaking body will allow, while Laura finally meets an obstacle that will do all it can to finish her: the UFO discs.
UFOs take Laura
It’s a simply designed activity: 10 ropes hanging between two trees with a circle disc at the bottom, held by only one knot in the rope, meaning that you need two feet on the disc to stand on it. Swinging to the next UFO disc and placing both feet on it requires all the work from your arms to hold your body weight as you go across… Laura has no arm strength…
She swings helplessly from her safety clips trying to find another technique to get across. She could use the flying fox pully that is attached to her harness, but the rope is too short to reach. Next technique: the bum shuffle. She swings with her ass sitting on the disc so she can swing from disc to disc, then use her legs to pull herself onto the next tree platform. Oh my Gawwwd! That was painful to watch, painful to do, and just downright painful! But she made it across, that’s the main thing, so now she can complete the course with all its long flying foxes!
Feeling challenged (but wanting more)
Muscles pushed to their, admittedly limited, limit, we finally conquer Adrenalin Forest. The whole thing usually takes about three hours to complete (but longer for us because we film, take photos, and hang from UFO discs for too long). But with plenty of picnic benches to rest and even a cafe nearby, you can take all bloody day if you want!
It’s always surprising how much of a challenge New Zealand’s clip and climb courses can be! New Zealand always has to make things more extreme, which is one of the things we love about the place. With more Adrenalin Forests in Christchurch and the Bay of Plenty, we are now determined to challenge ourselves with completing every Adrenalin Forest in New Zealand!
Tomorrow, we are remaining with our feet on the ground as we check out some of the walks around Plimmerton and Porirua on the Kapiti Coast. See you then!
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See you tomorrow!