On a bright Monday morning I set off early to catch a shuttle bus to ThunderBird Park on Mt Tamborine, ready for a half day of action-packed adventure and rainforest exploration. The TreeTop Challenge is a sprawling high ropes course with over 120 obstacles and ten zip-lines, all varying in difficulty and length. If you think high ropes courses are just for kids then you'd be dead wrong - some people even use the Adventure Park as their gym!
On arrival guests must sign-in using computers in the reception area, before storing bags in the lockers and getting kitted out in climbing harnesses, gloves and helmets. We watched a video on how to use the equipment and the various rules of the adventure park, tried out the carabiners (known as Click-Its) on the test course, and that was that - we were off!
What I hadn't appreciated was that the TreeTop Challenge is largely unsupervised by staff - of course there are instructors on the ground if you get into trouble or need some emotional support, but up in the trees you're left to your own devices. Guests must clip themselves in and out of every obstacle, every ladder, rope swing, and zip-line, but after doing this a hundred times you get into a good rhythm.
All in all there are four courses; green, blue, red and black, which take around 3-4 hours to complete. Since there's no way of escaping, I mean, exiting the course once you've started (although the instructors will come get you if you're really stuck), you spend the whole time surrounded by the same people in front and behind. This sense of tackling something out of your comfort zone with the same few strangers creates a feel of community that's really quite heart-warming; everyone encouraging each other and laughing over failed attempts to reach the end of the zip-line in one go... The guests can be what really makes this experience!
Huge thanks to ThunderBird Park for inviting me along, and to the amazing instructors who made us feel confident and safe throughout the adventure. This activity makes a fantastic day out for families in Gold Coast, just expect to have a few sore muscles the next day!