The thrill of tree-top team-build­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

An ad­ven­ture course-cum-play­ground, Adren­a­line For­est, opens at the end of next week, and Porirua has one ex­cited French­man on its hands.

Jean Cail­l­a­bet is per­son­ally over­see­ing the con­struc­tion of the plat­forms, wires, ropes and nets in the tall pines next to Gear Homestead, and is ‘‘over­joyed’’ that his vi­sion is tan­ta­lis­ingly close to be­com­ing re­al­ity.

Mr Cail­l­a­bet runs an Adren­a­line For­est ad­ven­ture park in Christchurch, but moved to Ti­tahi Bay as his Porirua project neared com­ple­tion.

He told Kapi-Mana News in Fe­bru­ary 2009 that the Gear Homestead site was ‘‘ab­so­lutely per­fect’’ and he stands by that to­day.

Al­ter­na­tive sites in Lower Hutt and Welling­ton – such as Mt Vic­to­ria – were scoped, but he kept com­ing back to Porirua.

‘‘This, for me, is so fab­u­lous here, it is my favourite place. The trees are taller, there is no veg­e­ta­tion, lit­tle wind and [it is] easy for park­ing.

‘‘Peo­ple are go­ing to love it and I think it will be some­thing good for Porirua.

‘‘There were some pro­cesses to go through but it has been good, the coun­cil have been great to work with.’’

There are six routes and more than 100 chal­lenges in­ter­con­nected by rope bridges, fly­ing foxes, nets and steps with vary­ing de­grees of dif­fi­culty, depend­ing on the age, skill and self-as­sur­ance of those tak­ing part.

The con­cept was cre­ated in France in 1995 by a re­tired army of­fi­cer, and is aimed at team-build­ing days for busi­nesses, schools, com­mu­nity groups, fam­i­lies, tourist par­ties and in­di­vid­ual thrill-seekers.

At the high­est point, users of the lo­cal Adren­a­line For­est will perch 30 me­tres off the ground, 10m higher than at the park in Christchurch, but at all times will be se­cured by a safety wire.

Mr Cail­l­a­bet said it built con­fi­dence and self-es­teem and that, most of all, peo­ple had fun.

‘‘It is go­ing to be the high­est and hard­est in New Zealand, but any­one can come, of course. It does not mat­ter how fit you are. You are just here for a good time and to test your­self.’’

Speed bumps along the small road, a cabin for an of­fice and brief­ing area still have to be put in.

He said dead trees had been cleared and the liv­ing ones used for plat­forms had not been harmed at all, with ca­bles not touch­ing the bark. A safety au­dit will be car­ried out be­fore the open­ing.

Whi­tireia Com­mu­nity Polytech­nic out­door course stu­dents will use it reg­u­larly and there will be four or five full-time or part-time staff.

Mr Cail­l­a­bet ex­pects sum­mer to be his busiest time,and is con­fi­dent of at­tract­ing 50 peo­ple a day once the word is out through ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing.

There has been lit­tle op­po­si­tion from res­i­dents or the city coun­cil. The only ob­jec­tion was from the caterer at Gear Homestead, wor­ried that ‘‘tra­di­tional pur­suits’’ at the stately home would be com­pro­mised.

Mr Cail­l­a­bet said this con­cern had been ‘‘smoothed over’’.

He has plans to open an­other Adren­a­line For­est in Tau­ranga.

Adrenaline­fu­elled: With in­fec­tious Gal­lic en­thu­si­asm, Jean Cail­l­a­bet says his lat­est Adren­a­line For­est, next to Gear Homestead, is ‘‘the best yet’’.

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