From the man that brought you the high flying adventures at Thunderbird Park and Currumbin Sanctuary comes Yatala’s first high ropes indoor adventure course, Planet Commando.
After 22 years, owner Denis Payan has finally completed his dream of opening a military themed adventure/recreation centre. Inspired by his background in the French Special Forces and designed to be mentally as well as physically challenging, this adventure course will have even the strongest of men weary of the gauntlet.
It was a no brainer for Denis to open Planet Commando. He already had a string of successful adventure parks in Europe, and two on the Gold Coast under his belt, so when he found the perfect warehouse in Yatala, with high ceilings to build the type of challenging course he had in mind, he leaped at the idea.
Beaming with pride, Denis tells me every tailor-made obstacle was completed with the help of his two sons Adrien and Arnaud as well as his wife Pascal. Complete with tight rope walks, rock climbs, monkey bars and Tarzan swings all set high above the ground, this test epic of perseverance will have you mustering up every ounce of courage while grinning from ear to ear at the same time.
I gave the course a shot along with super fit Gold Coast trainer Tyrone Jensen and the also fit Marie Claire Lord of Tight Fitness Solutions. We thought it would be a good idea to take people of several different body types. I am relatively unfit, most of my workouts consist of lifting a glass of wine. I could stand to lose a kilo or five and stand about 173cm. Ty lives and breathes gym life, is a beef cake, self proclaimed juggernaut weighing in at 103kg and is around 191cm, while Marie Claire is nicely toned, petite and about 162cm. Adrien and Arnaud also joined us on the course who are both in the 183cm range and have lean body types.
Let me start by saying confidence is key! Unwary of the height and of relative fitness, Adrien and Arnaud floated over and across the course like little monkeys. So from now on, I’ll leave them out.
The course is divided into four sections. The warm-up zone, the main event, the blob and the Navy Seal training course. After learning how to use our safety cables, we then climbed onto the course. Now, I must say, the warm-up looks very easy from the ground, but as soon as we reached the first platform, we were all hesitant. To continue to the next platform, we had to tight rope walk across a metal cable using only a handle bar for balance. Through the course we walked over swinging wooden planks, swung the monkey bars and climbed down rope nets. We had all started sweating and once we were safe again on the ground, we had mixed feelings which were ‘wow I feel accomplished, and holy shit that was just the beginning’.
The main event starts with a climb of a telephone pole up to a platform. Marie Claire was our fearless leader showing us how it’s done. She climbed the pole like her business card said Telstra.
Ty was next and I followed behind. I could feel my hands sweating in my gloves as I got higher and higher off the ground, but I was determined to get to the top. Marie Claire used grace and patience to eloquently make her way over the obstacles. Ty was not so eloquent, but was a fantastic support system for both Marie Claire and I encouraging us every step of the way (must be the trainer in him).
Half way through the main course, the fear of heights hadn't worn off, but was definitely quelled. By this point I was tired and realised my wine workout was clearly not enough. This is when I started to fall, over and over. First I fell on the Tarzan swing, then the rope climb and then over the hanging ropes (thank God for safety cables). Marie Claire and Ty had the hang of it and were having tons of fun, but I was wishing I had hit the gym a few more times. My fingers had zero strength left in them, and again, I was just thankful for the safety harness. I kinda cheated over the horizontal rock wall climb. Lesson learned, I need more push-ups in my life.
The blob (for lack of better terms) is a giant inflatable landing cushion, just like the ones the stuntmen use. Fearless Pink Power Ranger Marie Claire climbed the ladder then stepped off the platform perfectly landing on the mat. I went next. My fingers were mad at me for continuing on, but I ignored them and climbed up the ladder. Walked to the edge and hopped off. I landed with a bang and thought, ‘yes finally something I'm good at, falling!’ I liked the blob. Ty did well also.
The Navy Seal course was next (yes it keeps going, value for your money!) but I sat this one out. Marie Claire and Ty were full blown expert Ninja Warriors by this point and made their way up and down the vertical course no problem. They climbed poles and rock walls, jumped from platforms, hopped over wooden frames, climbed over nets, and finally completed the army crawl.
Whether you complete the course, or simply give it your best, you leave with a sense of accomplishment. I was proud that I got as far as I did and I left with a realisation that if there were a tsunami I would probably die, so I need to get to the gym more.
Denis and his family have built something truly original, and unique to the Gold Coast. It’s challenging, it’s fun and it’s eye opening. Don't forget to celebrate your success with a crepe (Denis is French after all) or a famous Yatala pie on the way home!
Want to save $15 on this experience? Click here for a $15 OFF discount voucher!
Open daily - 76 Business St, Yatala QLD 4207
By Marleigh Kelly