Take to the trees
Trees Adventure started in 2010 in the green and hilly township of Belgrave, on the far eastern outskirts of Melbourne. As the name suggests, the company runs adventure parks featuring climbing courses slung high among the treetops, catering to a wide range of ages and abilities. “Our high ropes adventure parks—big playgrounds for people of all ages—appeal to anyone who likes climbing and being outdoors,” says Ashton Williams, Equipment and Sales Manager at Trees Adventure. “We cater to a wide range of different ages and abilities—we have courses for children as young as four years old, but we’ve also had people over 90 climbing at our parks. The courses progress in height and difficulty, and we’ve found this model works quite well.” So well, in fact, that the company now has seven courses around Australia. When the first adventure course opened, the business needed reliable, tailored fastening solutions, and was looking for a local supplier. Through word of mouth, Trees Adventure struck up a relationship with CSS member Ferntree Gully Bolts—a small, independent business in a neighbouring suburb—to supply a range of materials for the climbing courses, including a large variety of fasteners, zip lines, safety gear, power tools and varied rated lifting, material handling and height safety products. “We first met Trees Adventure through their first park in Belgrave, which is geographically close to Ferntree Gully Bolts. We struck up a good business rapport that has benefitted both businesses as each have grown over the years,” says Ferntree Gully Bolts’ owner, Justin Moore. This relationship continued even after Trees Adventure went national, rapidly expanding to seven adventure parks in multiple states all around the country, including in West Australia, NSW and Tasmania. “As we expanded interstate, building new parks in Victoria and on to NSW after that, it made sense to go directly to Justin because he already knew what we needed, and it made the process a lot simpler for us,” says Williams.
Building in the trees
Trees Adventure is currently building an eighth park at the Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore. This new project has a twist. “We have in the past looked for locations with tall trees—the site is always important because you want to make sure that you primarily build on trees,” says Williams. “A place with a wide variety of large trees allows us a lot of flexibility in our course design and enables our visitors to get up high, which is what they like to do.” The project on the Sunshine Coast involves no trees at all—it’s an outdoor location that crosses a river and uses poles for the climbing course. “It’s an exciting project in a stunning location,” says Williams. “We’re going to be right next to the water, crossing the river that’s here. We’ll have an adventure that crosses the river multiple times on a total of 140 zip lines and involves a range of different challenges.” The course will reach a height of 23 metres and will be the largest pole-based adventure course in the world. “It will be the largest by height, and also in terms of the number of challenges—there will be 150 challenges in total,” says Williams.
For obvious reasons, Trees Adventure courses need to be absolutely failsafe. “If you haven’t built the course with the right materials, it’s a pretty scary prospect,” says Williams. “Our challenges are more adventurous than the usual canopy walks—there are bridges, climbing nets, barrels, lots of different hanging obstacles, and they get quite hard. Some of them require substantial physical strength, balance and coordination—and all at considerable height.” Ferntree Gully Bolts rises to the challenge—even when the business relationship calls for products to be supplied thousands of kilometres away from where it first began—with a little help from CSS connections around the country. Supplies are packaged up and sent from Victoria to all the Trees Adventure locations. “Through our CSS connections we have been able not only to source a vast range of products but also to offer local support via interstate CSS members,” says Moore. “The team at Trees Adventure are great to deal with and I believe we have an excellent understanding of each other’s business,” says Moore, who has taken his family to Trees Adventure several times and loves the variety and challenge. “This allows us to work well together to provide a great range of products and solutions for the parks.” Ferntree Gully Bolts has also expanded over time, with three stores in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. “We see ourselves as a business where you can get the best of both worlds— expert knowledge with national capabilities and the benefits of dealing with a local business,” Moore says. Williams agrees. “The service is next to none, and we’ve formed a close relationship over the years because we’ve always had so much work for them. We know we’re getting the best deal we can at the best price because of that loyalty and relationship. We’ve always noticed that even with the added shipping costs, Ferntree Gully Bolts is still the best supplier for us.”