Townsville, Queensland, Australia
October 22, 2003
The choice of activities is wide. As always, we seemed to be limited for time, so we settled for just two of the activities – claybird shooting and a 4WD Bush Safari. Both were excellent.
I’ve seen European aristocracy claybird shooting, but never dreamed I would have the chance to blast away in the same manner. At Off Road NZ, there are no castles, but the shotguns, the live ammunition, and clay targets are just the same. Our instructor briefed us for safety, handed out the earmuffs and instructed us to call "fire." Ten shots later, I had still not hit a clay target, but boy, was I having fun.
The four-wheel-drive Bush Safari is billed as the ultimate 4WD adventure. I’ve been four-wheel driving in a dozen countries around the world, but never like this. The first challenge was accepting that my wife, who had never been behind the wheel of a 4WD vehicle in her life, was going to drive me. The safari covers an extreme off-road trail set in beautiful native rainforest. Each vehicle has a CB radio, and the trip is fully guided by professional instructors. You need them! You, however, do all the work. The drive allows you to conquer your fear as you negotiate a variety of challenges: no lights through the "chunnel," a plunge over a waterfall, a temporary bridge crossing, and a controlled slide down a near-vertical luge.
The safari is a real challenge, but we felt safe and confident due to the pre-briefing and the constant radio comments from the guide. There were three driver changes during the trip, so both passenger and driver share experiences. My wife was so impressed with her own driving ability that she voted this our best experience in New Zealand’s North Island.
Off Road NZ has other attractions. There are sprint cars for racing around a track to challenge the lap record. There is a monster 4X4 thrill ride, archery, and a golf hole-in-one challenge. We were impressed by the professionalism of the operation, but the instructors were still keen to emphasize the challenge and fun of activities. Costs were from NZ$5 for golf, through NZ$17.50 per person for claybird shooting to NZ$80 for the 4WD Safari. Sprint cars were NZ$30 for the driver for 12 laps and the passenger goes free. Don’t miss this.
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From journal Around Rotarua