On the weekend we headed north of Sydney to visit Hubby’s mother for Mother’s Day. We decided to take the opportunity to pop in and check out Tree Top Crazy Rider which was in the area. We had seen the Crazy Rider on television and couldn’t believe it had wheelchair access. The website certainly looked promising with an accessibility tab on the front page and we liked what we read – “We pride ourselves on providing everyone an amazing rollercoaster zip lines experience, regardless of ability.”
Due to the storms in the area over the last couple of weeks the phone lines were not working so we couldn’t call ahead to make enquiries. On arrival, Becky, one of the managers, was welcoming and keen to share information about the accessible adventure.
There are two Crazy Riders to experience and both are fully accessible. You can choose just one or book a Combo and do both.
The Xtreme is a one kilometre long twisting, diving, winding journey featuring 40 slaloms (including three 360 degree loops and a 540 degree circle around a tree) as well as other surprises. This is definitely one for the dare-devils.
The Pioneer is the track Hubby did. It’s a shorter version of the Xtreme and is 330 metres long featuring 10 curves including one 360 degree loop and a 2 metre drop.
We had watched the you tube clip of the ride and we weren’t sure whether BJ would like the Crazy Rider. He loved cable hang gliding at the Tahune AirWalk in Tasmania but although it was high and fast, it moved in a straight line with no unpredictable twists. The Crazy Rider has a 360 degree turn and a 2 meter drop so I felt torn about letting him have a go.
We decided to see how BJ felt and when he balked part way through the harnessing process we decided Hubby would have to be our crash test dummy. For the purposes of being able to give a detailed description of how a wheelchair user accesses the ride, Hubby harnessed up and did the full experience as if he was in a chair.
BJ stood up from his wheelchair to put on the harness. If a person cannot stand then the harness can be put on in a sitting position but it does require the person to be lifted so the bottom of the harness can go under them to do up.
The access to the two rides varies.
If you choose the Xtreme ride you can drive and park right at the entrance to the ride.
For the Pioneer there is a short walk to the launching platform. The path is compacted gravel which proved a bit tough with the wheelchair but Hubby, who was pushing BJ, said it was okay. There had been severe weather prior to our visit and the ground was still quite soggy so it is hard to know what it would be like usually. An electric wheelchair would certainly find the path easy. The ramp up to the platform is accessible but steep. I think it would be difficult to self-propel on the incline but Becky and Josh from Tree Top went out of their way to assist us.
Hubby was doing The Pioneer and used the wheelchair that Tree Top have onsite for guests. Once at the top the harness was attached to the handle of the zip line. The rider needs to stand, or be lifted, for a minute while the handle clips into place. Once that happens you are suspended and ready to ‘fly’ through the treetops.
Hubby describes The Pioneer as a good pace, not nail biting but enough speed to feel excited by the ride. He says the “360 degree and drop are thoroughly exhilarating.”
Hubby isn’t a big roller-coaster fan but really enjoyed this experience. I felt a little envious on his return – maybe I’ll have a go next time.
GETTING OFF THE RIDE
At the conclusion of the ride you can either use your own wheelchair or the Tree Top’s wheelchair to get off. Once again the staff were extremely helpful and it was a seamless dismount.
If you are a bit of a dare-devil and feel what I have described is too tame for you, fear not, The Xtreme was built especially for people like you. The ride is three times as long and is the “world’s longest roller coaster zip line.” I spoke to a couple who had done it and they were smiling from ear-to-ear and said that the ride was “absolutely awesome.”
There is disabled parking, a disabled portable toilet and ramp access at both ends of the ride.
If you have questions or concerns contact the staff at Tree Tops prior to booking. They are really enthusiastic about making people feel comfortable about this experience especially if they have special needs.
Bookings are highly recommended as this is popular with groups and individuals.
Check out the online video to get a better idea of the ride.
Staff advised Hubby to keep his legs crossed at the ankles to ensure he didn’t hit any tree branches. If this is difficult for a rider to do due to their disability, Tree Top has straps that can be loosely attached around the ankles to keep feet together.
For someone that has difficulty maintaining grasp they also have adjustable straps to help.
You are required to wear a helmet so ensure the person doing the ride is comfortable with this.
If you have a GoPro camera, take it along and capture all the action. If you don’t have one you can hire them at the venue.
If family or friends will be taking photos of you doing the zip line, wear bright clothing so you don’t blend into the trees. From the ground you look very small.
Check the Tree Top Crazy Rider website here for more information.
Hubby’s experience was complimentary for the purposes of writing a review for the blog. As always, my opinions are my own and honest because I want to ensure our readers are well informed prior to undertaking an activity.
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