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I slowly tip toe my feet backwards on the cliff. Heels dangling over the edge, eyes trying not to look 25 meters down, I lean back until my feet are flat on the side of it.
Arms shaking. Body tense. I look up at Bec, my instructor, calm and collective.
“The hard part’s over,” she says. “How bout you do a few bounces?”
Bouncing is out of the question. In fact, it takes all my might not to fling my body to the wall and beg her to pull me back up. But I keep calm and follow her directions, lowering myself little by little.
Another cliff approaches and I think let’s just get it over with. My right arm gets tighter and tighter as I hold on to my descending rope, refusing to let it drop me too fast.
This is the last time I ever do this. What was I thinking?
Finally, I hear the sound of grass crinkling under my feet.
I made it.
Excited that I successfully completed my first abseil, I run up a steep flight of stairs to my group to celebrate.
“Want to go again,” Bobbi-Jo, my travel partner, ask.
The second time I loosen up and even do a few bounces down. Third time I’m try to descend as fast as I can.
Located at the base of Kangaroo Point Cliffs, only a five-minute ferry ride across the Brisbane River from the city business center, Riverlife Adventure Center offers activities for all levels that will make visitors feel worlds away from city life.
Kayak on the river, peering up at skyscrapers on one side and rocky cliffs on the other. Climb up Kangaroo Point Cliffs as people picnic in the park below. Or do all the above and more as the center offers all its activities at prices affordable for even the most thrifty of travelers.
Day Kayaking: The center’s 1.5-hour, guided kayak trip is easy enough for most. The River is usually very calm with the exception of minor wakes by slow-moving boats. Groups do not travel too far and kayaks come with back rest, which make the ride a lot more enjoyable.
Abseiling: After a few times down the 25-meter cliffs, you’ll wonder what you were so nervous about, but for first-timers this is moderately difficult. It doesn’t involve much, if any strength. It just requires a clear mind, sense of adventure and ability to relax. The most strenuous part is actually climbing stairs to the top of Kangaroo Point Cliffs.
Rock climbing: It’s a lot harder than it looks. In fact, I found this activity incredibly difficult. It takes a lot of strength as well as strategy. I only made it a quarter of the way up the cliffs, but did so with bruised shins and trembling arms. Like anything, it’s probably a bit easier with one-on-one attention from the instructor, but in a ten-person group and no more than two hours to climb, that’s not feasible.
Precautions were taken with every activity to prevent people from great danger, but people may get a bit beat up while partaking in some activities.
Kayaking was completely safe. The group was instructed to stay on side of the river away from boats. Any waves I saw were not drastic enough to capsize a kayak and everyone wore life jackets just in case.
Most will walk away from abseiling with only the stiffness they brought on themselves out of stress. But those that don’t follow directions about placement of feet and proper body-position, could fall into the cliffs and get a little banged up. Luckily, Bec, my instructor was very attentive and assisted abseilers throughout their descent preventing anyone from even minor injuries. All the equipment is properly installed and durable, so even with minor slip-ups, most will not suffer serious injury.
While the equipment and direction from staff was great during this activity, because it is people in the group ballaying for each other, this can be a bit dangerous in certain cases. Ballaying isn’t rocket-science, still I don’t want to place my life in a stranger’
Bec was my instructor for all three activities and maintained her enthusiasm and attention over eight hours of instructing. Her calm mood actually made me feel a lot more at ease trying the riskier activities. The rest of the staff was very kind and laid-back as well.
Riverlife is affordable for its location and the caliber of its equipment. Most adventure-sport centers charge a lot for the more daring activities, but at Riverlife rock climbing costs $45 for two hours and abseiling costs $39 for 1.5 hours. At $45, instructed kayaking was a bit over-priced. Since the route is so straight-forwar
Just being able to sit in stillness on the dock at the center and watch the city move, makes it worth a visit. It’s incredible that a place like Riverlife exists in a city a moderately busy city like Brisbane. The center has activities for all levels, from rollerblading to rock climbing. It even offers some great meal and adventure deals like its Sunday brunch and adventure ($45), which includes a traditional Australian barbie and any daytime activity offered at the center.
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