As I mentioned in my week-in-the-life of shooting a tv show post, one of the adventures we got to experience was a half day at Agroventures (now known as Velocity Valley). It’s best described as an adult playground, with a collection of fun activities that will get the adrenalin pumping.
Please check out this video of my Adventures at Agroventures to see it in action!
Note: This post was published in 2010, and has been updated for accuracy of links. Agroventures is now called Velocity Valley.
As a quick summary, here is some of the fun we had there:
Jet Boating: We veered around corners at break-neck speeds (literally) on the only commercial jet boat track in the world, driven by a world champion jet boat driver. No pictures can convey the speed factor, and we were almost certain we would end up upside down on the bank more than once. But in the capable hands of our driver, we (obviously) survived to tell the tale.
Schweebing: This is another world first (something we came to understand is common in New Zealand), and something that could (will?) eventually become a viable form of transportation. It was designed by an Australian who lived in Japan and rode his recumbent bicycle to work, wishing he could just ride over top of the traffic. Hence the Schweeb: a monorail with recumbent bicycles inside pods dangling below.
The track was great fun, and I don’t know how, but I clocked a time 13 seconds ahead of the Canadian average for my age group and gender. Trying to walk afterwards was absolutely hilarious, as I used muscles in my legs that obviously hadn’t been used in a while. While I think that the Schweeb is an excellent – and environmentally friendly – form of transportation, I also believe that developing the infrastructure for such a program might be a challenge. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.
The Freefall Extreme: I always wanted to try this. I’ve known them to be called wind tunnels in North America, but “freelfly simulator” is a more appropriate term. And in the spirit of Agroventures, it’s the only one in the Southern hemisphere. It’s basically a huge engine blowing up enough air for you to “fly” on it. It’s harder than it looks!
The Swoop: I’ve done this before in Canada, but it was a first for Aaron & Fletcher. Once strapped into a cocoon-like harness with a friend or two, you are hoisted high into the air. When you’re good and sure you’re going to die and there’s no way down, they give you a count down and tell you to pull the rip cord at your side. It releases the winch, which in turn sends you plummeting towards earth head first and swinging out before impact with the ground. I had control of the rip cord, so the staff prepared me:
“Okay, when you get to the top, we’ll count 3-2-1, then you just pull the cord.” I told them if I didn’t pull it right away that they weren’t to worry, because I would be having a little fun with Aaron. I didn’t realize that Aaron didn’t actually hear me say this, so when we reached the top and I didn’t pull, he asked me what was supposed to happen.
“I’m trying to pull the cord, but it’s stuck!” I said, slightly panicked.
“What cord?! What are you doing?! DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!!!” was Aaron’s exponentially more panicked response.
And with that, I pulled the cord. The expression on his face in the video is all you need to see to know what happened next.
Once at the bottom, Aaron gave me a dirty look, then smiled and climbed out of the harness. Fletcher was keen to try it, and I said I’d have another go when given the option. I waited about five extra seconds after the countdown until I heard him start to say something along the lines of “what’s wrong” before pulling the cord, and, well….the video tells it all.
Bungee Jumping: The last activity on offer at Agroventures was a bungee jump, but since Aaron did the world’s highest bungee jump in South Africa for the first episode of “Alive” and because we were running out of time, we gave this one a miss.
Please have a peek at the video for all the fun!
Editor’s Note: This experience was part of a week-long trip organized by Destination Rotorua Tourism Marketing in conjunction with shooting an episode of the tv show “Alive” .