Strap yourself in for a thrilling, challenging and hair-raising experience at Adelaide's first aerial adventure park.
BY CRAIG MALIN
Playing totem tennis is fun but when you’re perched on a step the size of a pizza box, 20m above the ground ¬- wobbling frantically on cables while trying to hit a ball - well, that’s just insane.
That’s just one of the heart-pounding thrills at the new MegaAdventure Aerial Park at West Beach, where you can pay good money scare yourself silly. Towering over Adelaide Shores Caravan Park like a scene from Star Wars, the 26m-tall SkyMate is a labyrinth of white-knuckle aerial challenges or “crossings” - each guaranteed to give you a case of the terrors.
There’s nothing like the high anxiety of riding a bike along a narrow path metres above the ground, or swaying Tarzan-style rope-to-rope or, for that matter, doing tributes to Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball while sitting on a giant round buoy.
Making all of this safe were the harnesses we wore, with a clever system that ensured we were always attached to the safety cables above our heads. Before we began, the MegaAdventure crew carefully checked we were properly harnessed and gave us a lesson on using the heavy duty clips that would keep us safely attached to the rigging.
Rigged-up and ready to take on the SkyChallenge at Adelaide's MegaAdventure Aerial Park.
From the ground, it’s hard to fully appreciate how high the SkyMate is, but imagine standing on a 10m diving platform, then double it…and forget the platform. On each crossing, the only thing between you and the ground is a cable about 1cm thick.
Many of the challenges are quirky and fun. Fitting the beach location, we gripped on to a lifebuoy then dived out towards a tinnie that was rocking on cables as if it was sailing a stormy sea. We pretended to grab a bite at a picnic tabled suspended in mid-air, hauled ourselves along on a floating esky and hung off a MegaAdventure sign that would make a great photo opportunity for any concerned family and friends on solid ground below.
Other crossings were worthy of a Hollywood movie stunt – finding my inner chimpanzee on the high-rise monkey bars, leaping between platforms and stretching spider-like between cables as we were buffeted by the sea breeze.
And despite knowing the harness would support you if you ever lost your grip, letting go and trusting it was another thing altogether. This was something I realised as I dangled underneath a horizontal ladder, doubting at the half-way point if my aching arms would get me to the other side but just too chicken to let go. It is these sort of personal challenges that also likely to make the MegaAdventure Aerial Park a hit for corporate or team-building get-togethers.
From all levels, the views of the Adelaide coastline, Hills and city are fantastic and anyone not keen on high-flying escapades can keep their feet on solid steel and check out the scenery from the Skywalk platforms that circle through the middle.
And while the photo opportunities are endless, if you’re taking the SkyChallenge and want to get your phone or camera out, you’ll need a special carry bag that attaches to your harness.
The tower’s design allows them to constantly create new challenges and already they’re working on a rock-climbing-style stunt with branches swaying 10m metres off the ground – because rock climbing needed to be made scarier – and to end your adventure, a vertical plunge from the very top. But that’s for next time.
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