Uh oh. My eight-year-old son was calling me over…
He’d just finished Level 1 of the Enchanted Adventure Garden tree-surfing-course and wanted to talk with me – urgently.
Hmm, this could be interesting I thought remembering how nervous he’d looked a few minutes earlier as he was getting all harnessed-up.
When I got over to him he leaned in-to-me and softly whispered in my ear…
WOW. I was gobsmacked. In shock I nearly lost my own balance and I wasn’t even doing any tree-surfing! This was coming from a kid normally obsessed with apps or an iPad rather than the great outdoors.
What a great start to our visit and it only got better from there!
Enchanted Adventure Garden – what you can expect
This enduring family-favourite was opened approximately 25 years ago and was originally named the Enchanted Maze. You may have also heard it referred to as Arthurs Seat tree surfing across the years. Whilst the name may have changed over time the high standards on offer haven’t.
Over the decades the grounds, facilities and attractions here have been continually expanded and upgraded. They don’t seem to be a business to just rest-on-their-laurels.
When we visited – in August 2018 – the grounds were abuzz with improvements and new building. Pleasingly however none of this impacted in any way on our day’s enjoyment.
The most obvious update that I noted from an earlier visit about a year prior was a massively enlarged ‘Tree Surfing Grand’ course. But more about that later…
There is actually so much to see and do here that the map you are given as you enter comes in super handy!
General Park Admission
The first thing I want to stress is that you don’t have to do the tree surfing or zip lining here to have an incredibly enjoyable day out in this enchanted garden! There is so much else on offer. Highlights include:
- The hedge maze
- Children’s Maze and the fun surprises lurking inside
- Canopy Walk
- Wandering amidst the stunning gardens and sculptures
- Lolly Shop (sorry dentists!)
- The ridiculously beautiful view from the deck of the cafe
- And the super fun Tube Slides
Oh and speaking of those…
The inner-tube ‘donut’ rides were actually my sons equal-favourite activity of the whole day. Which is saying something because, as I mentioned, he’d already told me earlier that he’d become “addicted” to tree-surfing!
I think he did about 15 rides all up and I’m sure the super-friendly attendant – Dylan – was happy to see us go eventually!
The slides are great for children and adults alike. There are about five different courses to choose from and they all actually crank up to impressive speeds.
I guess it depends on how much ‘ballast’ you are carrying as to how fast you can go. These days I’m certainly carrying more than I used to! So hurtling down the dead-straight slides I ramped up to some decent velocity!
You can choose to ride in single or double inner-tubes which is good if you have younger children in tow (under 5) who can’t ride by themselves.
The views from the top of the slides are well worth the short trek up the hill even if you aren’t riding. The vista across the ornamental lake and beyond to the rolling hills of the peninsula is wonderful.
Tree Surfing Nippers
In mid 2017 a completely new tree-surfing challenge was built for adults and children over 135cm to tackle. Beforehand everyone shared the same structure. This original course has now been handed over to the kids. This now means that ‘Nippers’ is spread out across three separate courses.
The circuits increase in difficulty the higher the number.
- Nippers 1 – Easy and Beginner
- Nippers 2 – Intermediate
- Nippers 3 – Advanced/ Most confident
Your child’s one-hour-session will begin with signing in, being fitted with helmet and harness and a briefing. They will then do a short practice course under the watchful eye of your Enchanted Adventure Garden instructor.
Depending on the proficiency and confidence of your child on the ropes they can do as little or many circuits of the courses as time allows. It will also depend how busy it is and how many children are in front of them on the ropes and obstacles.
My little chimpanzee managed to do seven circuits in that time which was a shock to me. He is normally very reserved and even shy. It was amazing to see how this outdoor activity had super-charged his confidence!
All children’s comfort & confidence levels of course will differ. What I noted was how our guide – Jake – was across these differences. Giving more guidance and attention to those who needed it more.
In fact I couldn’t speak more highly of the staff at the Enchanted Maze… oops (slaps hand) – I mean the Enchanted Adventure Garden.
Both Jake and Dylan were so friendly and professional. In fact there wasn’t a staff member who didn’t say “g’day” to us as we simply wandered by them. Having people who look like they really enjoy being-at-work and are super friendly really takes your experience from good to great in my books.
It was something that made our visit to Sovereign Hill shine for the same reason.
Tree Surfing Grand
Have you ever done a bungee jump or skydive before? Well if you have you will know that feeling of elation after you have jumped… and survived!! You will also recall the fear beforehand as well. That knot in your stomach. Tree surfing is a little the same.
Similar to Nippers the course is designed to align with your competency levels. Put simply as your confidence grows so too does the difficulty – and height – of the course. Your allotted time on ‘Grand’ is two hours and there are…
- 5 Levels of courses. Ranging from 3m to 10m in height
- More than 50 obstacles to negotiate per course
- A ‘rock climb’ and ‘Tarzan Swing’ for the most confident climbers
- A zip line ride to finish each of the five courses
You also have the ability to control how much you dare and push yourself.
It’s likely that you will start on the ropes gripping your harness tighter than an industrial vice. But over time try and loosen your grip and god-forbid at some stage even try and let go completely and rely solely on your own balance. I have to say I didn’t quite get there when I did it but it’s a goal for another time.
I will just say – potentially risking divorce by doing so – that I did still do a little better than my darling wife however. After a couple of minutes on the ropes she yelled out “I’m a celebrity GET ME OUTTA HERE” before decamping to the Nippers course!
So as you can see everybody will have different experiences and set their own limits during a day of tree surfing.
However one uniting factor seems to be the desire to push yourself. To challenge your boundaries. There is an incredible sense-of-achievement afterwards. It’s hard to wipe the smile off your face and ~ yes ~ even my wife enjoyed herself once she found her own comfort level.
Big Zip zip-lining
I should say that I didn’t actually try the Big Zip. But from the amount of beaming smiles and yells of “Yeeee Haaarrrr” I saw and heard from those on it, it looks like a huge amount of fun.
Similar to tree surfing you will be harnessed and have a safety briefing first up. And I should also just say that you again need be more than 135cm tall to ride.
You will actually ride two zip lines across the picturesque lake and stunning gardens. (See photo at the top of this post) The first being 170m long and the second 100m. Your ride will see you sail at 20m across the lake and parklands. After your flight you simply wander back to your starting point to return your gear.
There was only one negative about my time at the Enchanted Adventure Garden. And that was we played too long to allow me time to get a coffee at the cafe and drink in that view from the deck. Next time for sure!
You see because there definitely will be a next time. Remember that tree surfing “addicted” son of mine I mentioned right at the beginning. He’s already asking to come back!
A trip to these wonderful grounds is an experience not just a visit. And it’s likely that each person that leaves will do so having had their own unique day including a personal highlight. Maybe the hedge maze, Tarzan Swing, Nippers course, Canopy Walk… It will be different for each person.
This enchanted garden truly is a place that is all about the sum-of-the-parts. Adventure and adrenaline mixed with calming and beautiful surroundings sure makes for a great recipe!
A visit here is highly recommended!
Pricing and More Information
How to get to Enchanted Adventure Garden:
It’s actually super easy to get to. Just take the Mornington Peninsula Freeway and take the Arthurs Seat exit. Easy!
Because the peninsula is such a pretty part of Victoria I actually got off a few exits earlier and drove along the scenic back roads around Red Hill. Whichever route you take it will likely take you around 75 – 90 minutes outside of peak hour to reach the car park from central Melbourne.
General Admission – Adults $30 | Children 3 – 17 $20 (excludes zipline & tree surfing)
Tree Surfing Grand – Adults $60 | Children under 18 $50
Nippers Tree Surfing – Adults $50 | Children under 12 $40
Big Zip – Adults $40 | Children under 18 $30 (excludes tree surfing)
Combo Ticket – Adults $70 | Children under 18 $60
Seniors pricing (60 years and over) the same as children prices.^
^Prices correct as of September 2018 and subject to change
Children need to be 135cm or taller to ride the Big Zip and go on Tree Surfing Grand.
Tree Surfing and Zip lining operate at set times that can be booked onsite beforehand. Enchanted Adventure Garden recommend pre-booking before your visit during busy periods such as school breaks, summer holidays and weekends to avoid disappointment.
Use this link to go to the Enchanted Adventure Garden FAQ page.
At time of writing there was no public transportation available to the park gates. However you can click this link for options on getting there without a car.
All photography, unless otherwise credited, © Thirty Summers. All rights reserved. Please note that we visited as a guest of Enchanted Adventure Garden. All views and opinions expressed are our own without influence.