If there’s an upside to having tweens, it’s that you get to do fun activities with them before they turn into teenagers who deny your very existence unless they need you to drive them somewhere. Sigh. So when Miss 12 turned into Miss 13, we grabbed a few of her friends and headed to Rocket Ropes for an afternoon of climbing.
What we did
We booked for a Sunday afternoon slot at Rocket Ropes, which is part of the Butterfly Creek setup near Auckland Airport. We weren’t sure which course we’d want to do, but both the Intermediate and the Advanced courses start at the same time, meaning we could choose which course to do once we got there.
How it went
We got there 15 minutes early as instructed, which was plenty of time to sign our lives away (literally!) and make sure everyone had a loo stop before we got harnessed up.
The safety briefing was straightforward, and it was good to know that their double clip system is foolproof making it impossible for you to accidentally unclip yourself at any given point. At the end of the briefing, we were put through a training run to prove we’d been listening before we were let loose on the course.
There are courses to suit different abilities, including a course for 2-6-year-olds. To my delight, a couple of the tweens opted for the easier Croc Course which meant I could send husband off to the more advanced Rocket Course with the bigger kids.
The courses have three layers with each being higher off the ground and more challenging than the last. They are challenging too – this activity is not for the faint of heart or, as it turns out, for the 40-something year old mum of three who is still recovering from a knee reconstruction.
There’s lots of clambering between things that just won’t stay still and manoeuvring around things that you wish they hadn’t put in that exact spot. There’s jumping from one platform to another, and having to shimmy yourself on your back, head first through a series of barrels dangling 6m above the ground. But there are fun bits too, like the ziplines – and there are plenty of them!
While I nailed the first two layers of the Croc Course, the third layer just about did for me. I completed the whole thing – not in record time as was politely, but rather too frequently, pointed out by the young lady behind me – and felt super proud of myself. Big thanks to staffer Matt – I’m pretty sure I’d still be on that last bit of the course if it hadn’t been for his encouragement.
Husband also found the advanced course tough going, but a lot of fun. The kids bounced through the whole thing without any many problems at all and had big smiles on their weary little faces at the end.
What I’d recommend
Make a booking – especially on the weekends and school holidays. The courses start at specific times, so you can’t just rock up when it suits you. Also, check the minimum height rules to avoid disappointment.
Make sure everyone goes to the loo before they start. The courses take at least 2 hours to complete and the location of the toilets plus the complexity of the harnesses means toilet stops aren’t quick or easy.
Plan on hanging around or having to climb. Kids under 15 must be actively supervised and younger kids may need an adult to climb with them so you won’t be able to leave them while you go next door for a coffee.
You don’t have to do all three layers of the course. If you have any doubts about doing the third layer, you can repeat a layer that you’ve already done. Once you start a layer there really is no turning back, so proceed with caution!
Don’t take your camera/phone with you on the course. It’ll just get in the road (especially when you have to shimmy on your back, head first through the “barrels of doom”), or drop out of your pocket from a great height. Besides, you’ll need both your hands for hanging on!
What to take
Closed-toe shoes – you won’t be allowed to climb without them.
Dress sensibly in longer shorts or leggings. If you’re wearing short shorts, those harnesses will leave nothing to the imagination from down below.
Hair ties, sunscreen and lots of water (you can refill your water bottles but it’s quite a walk). Oh, and a snack to recharge the batteries once you’re done!
A sense of adventure! Kids love it when Mum and Dad join in, so take a deep breath and have a go!
It’s not too pricey for what it is, but there aren’t any ‘family pass’ deals so it does add up quite quickly. If you can get a group of 10 people together then you’ll get a 10% discount. Or keep an eye on Grab One for a deal.
This experience was chosen by me for my family. We weren’t invited or paid to do this by the experience organisers.