When I found out there was ziplining just an hour down the road from Brisbane, spread over 12 acres of world heritage nature, I was sold. Better yet, I discovered it’s also family-friendly, has riverside camping and is situated in QLD’s pretty Tamborine Mountain region in the Gold Coast hinterland. Let the zipline Tamborine Mountain adventures begin!
The TreeTop Challenge, as it’s officially named, is located in Thunderbird Park, which is a family-friendly adventure retreat containing all kinds of activities which you can take a look at, here. After arriving, we set up, enjoyed a splendid night’s camping by the river and arose to a sunny morning, ready for the TreeTop Challenge.
Our Zipline Tamborine Mountain Experience
We arrived at the TreeTop Challenge 30 minutes early, signed our lives away and were instructed on the finer art of zipping through the treetops. With helmets, harnesses and a newfound appreciation for the Smart Belay System, we embarked on our first zip across the river.
If you have any trepidation at all about ziplining up to 30 metres above the forest floor, take comfort in the fact the Smart Belay System really is smart, as well as safe. Designed by German company Edelrid, the Smart Belay System has two carabiners connected to your harness that communicate with each other so that neither will disconnect from your cable at once, unless you’re on the ground.
It took us a few minutes to get used to, but the TreeTop Challenge eases you into the experience so that by your first zip, you’ve kind of got it. First up we went on the green course runs, which are the easiest. Following this in order of difficulty are the purple, red, blue and then black runs. You have to be over 180cm tall to go on the black courses (which I am), but I just stuck to the easier courses with Olin, my 11-year-old.
We got into a groove on the red courses – where we spent most of our time – and these are certainly enough fun, even if you’re not timid. Word of warning, don’t punch above your weight here! Olin decided to try a blue run, couldn’t make a section across swinging poles, caused a traffic jam and had to be lowered to the ground.
Luckily for us, everyone was nice about it even though they were stuck for about 30 minutes, while I was balancing on poles in the thick of the jam. My legs certainly felt it the next day! There were a few people on the day we went, which was on the weekend. At various points, we had to wait, but it didn’t detract from our zipline Tamborine Mountain experience too much.
Apart from some lengthy ziplining experiences, we also climbed up nets, crossed narrow planks, ladders, thin wires and wobbly poles, to name but a few obstacles. In all, our TreeTop Challenge went for the typical run time of three hours, which was enough for Olin and my weary bones.
Thunderbird Park Camping
There are some good campsites at Thunderbird Park, and you can put in a request, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get what you want. I requested a riverside camp spot, and we got one! So try your luck…Firewood is available for $22 a bag and it’s worth it. Even though it rained on our first night, I managed to get a fire going on our second. Unfortunately, Olin fell asleep beforehand, so I had a solo, blazing night with some marshmallows and a couple of beers.
There are walks along either side of the river and if you cross the bridge and go right, you’ll follow a path that takes you through forest and to a waterfall. Crossing the river can be slippery and a bit of a scramble at points so bring some grippy, water-resistant shoes. It’s well worth it though as the forest sights and sounds are heavenly.
A Few Fast Facts
- The TreeTop Challenge is suitable for ages 8 and up and costs $65 for adults and $55 for kids aged 8-14. Also, family passes could work out cheaper for you, so enquire at the site.
- You must wear closed-in shoes and you can’t wear a hat. Saying that, the course is mostly shaded, just put on some sunscreen. Also, you can’t bring water bottles but there are bubblers on the course.
- The maximum weight for the zipline Tamborine Mountain experience is 120kg.
- Sessions go for roughly 3-4 hours, which is ample time to enjoy the course.
- There’s also a Juniors TreeTop Adventure for kids aged 3-7, which costs $35 per child.
- Additionally, there’s a Canyon Flyer zipline course for adventurers that want to focus more specifically on gnarly ziplining.
Of course, good idea to check it all out here.