Last week, I organized something a little bit different to do with some of my mates. My friends and I all refer to it as the tree climbing ‘thing’ because saying Trees Adventure doesn’t really describe what it’s really all about. Essentially it is a rope and cord obstacle course suspended up to 12 metres high from the ground, supported by trees! It’s up in Glen Harrow Gardens, near the Mount Dandenong Ranges. If you’re concerned about it being for only kids and tree climbing then you are wrong. Think of it as an obstacle course designed to test your upper body strength, balance and sometimes courage. Besides there’s a range of different courses suitable for both children and adults alike.
For more information about this activity just check their official site.
I would recommend booking in advance as there are only a limited number of people permitted per session. Car parking spaces are also limited, so it’s best to carpool if you can. To get there, the place is actually near Puffing Billy Station. You just go past the station and onto the narrow road, it would feel like you’re driving into someone’s driveway, but it’s actually just a very narrow road leading to the gardens and Trees Adventure. It’s very steep, so we were in gear 1 all the way (manual).
So after the car is parked, you essentially follow the signs until you reach this garden path which will lead you the reception area of Trees Adventure.
Once you get there, you need to get your waivers formed signed and then you start getting your gear. First up you get your gloves and helmet, then the staff help you into your harness bodysuit. You can see here my friend is getting fitted up.
After everyone is fitted up, the induction course starts which lasts for roughly 10-15mins. This is essential for your safety purposes and that you know how to attach and detach the rope hooks. One must always be attached the safety cord at all times.
Approaching the home tree (above). The base of the home tree (below) is where all the rope courses originate. There are kids courses, blue (easiest) , red and black (most difficult & longest). For the red, blue and black there are short and long versions of each but the short version essentially leads you to start lets say for example halfway through the long version. I didn’t know this until having done both, and that wasted a bit of time for me. Since the sessions are only 2 hours long, unless you book for longer, I would advise doing the long versions of each course only. In the end I managed to do the blue and black courses. There wasn’t anytime for me to do the red course, and the wait times can be long especially if you happen to go on a day or at the time where families gather.
This is my brother near the beginning of the blue course. This part was fairly easy. I admit, after doing this course, I wondered if the black one was going to be challenging enough for me.
So here is the start of the long black course. The rope net (below) was so tiring and such a killer on my arms. Initially I didn’t think it’d be hard, and it isn’t, but the fact that the net is loose, sways along and there are large holes between the net sections makes it very tiring. I stopped quite a few times, because my arms were burning with lactic acid. I didn’t rely on the safety at all and just hugged the net as close to my body as possible, it was a little more bearable when I was up higher on the net, but on the lower half you’d end up just trying to keep yourself up right. The gaps were annoying because my legs could only reach so far. I had to stop for a lot of breaks hugging onto the net during this. The photo was taken after owning the first section, I was sweaty and the sun was not helping lol…
It was fairly easy after that until I reached this next challenge.For a moment I couldn’t even figure out how to get across. There was a rope leading down on my left and I considered sliding down that in defeat, but my safety was attached and I just thought to myself JUST DO IT!. Technically I can’t really fall, so why was I hesitant to take the first step? No idea…Actually I hesitated for a moment when I went down the first flying fox on the blue course as well. I think this was just all so new to me. For this part my legs physically could not reach the first step, and the only way to get on is to pull it closer and get on the wobbly suspended piece of wood. Which is what I eventually did, with lots of swaying too and fro. There were three part to this section, and once I got past the first big step, it was alright until I reached the middle where there were vertically suspended pieces of log with small steps to support yourself. Prepare yourself for more swaying then. This time I did use the safety to support myself but never once did I just let go and take the easy route out. I was determined to own this.
Looking back at another accomplishment. This time I was even more exhausted, my arms had scratches and I was a breathing a little hard. I took a mini break to enjoy the view from the platform. The forest was beautiful.
I had a bit of an Assasin’s Creed moment right here, but no way was I going to be doing my leap of faith. I was getting ready for the flying fox at this point.
Tunnels and tunnels, fairly easy I’d say. The next part though, if you can just make it out in the distance with floating logs and random dangling ropes was also quite challenging, more in terms of trying to stay balanced though. Pretty cruisy otherwise.
At the end of it, were more smaller tunnels, tightrope walking and a final long 100m flying fox. And that was the end of the black course. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and would probably go back again if only once more to do the red course and own the black course. Time goes by quickly once you’re up in the trees and the view is just absolutely stunning. You really feel like you’re in a different place, even if for just a moment.
Trees Adventure is located at:
Glen Harrow Gardens/Old Monbulk Road
Ph: (03) 9752 5354