Take two fearless Hukerenui farm boys with a passion for adrenaline adventures, a big dream, a lot of hard slog with help from family and friends and what do you get? A pumping Adrenaline Adventure Park in Northland.
Growing up on a Northland farm, brothers Cody and Klay Rouse were never short of adventures. Scaling trees, building tree huts, quad biking and wake boarding along the river were just some of their antics.
"There was a lot of friendly, brotherly competition going on," recalls Cody. "Since the age of 18, I had this dream to build a full-size wake boarding cable system but it's definitely evolved along the way."
With the backing of parents Roger and Leanne and sister Jayme Whetton, the family began searching for the ideal land when they chanced upon a nearby 12ha fresh-water lake for sale on 110ha owned by an elderly family friend. Together, with the family friend, they worked the land and lake, with Cody sourcing a company to make the equipment as their idea evolved.
After a winter of hard labour, the Hikurangi Adrenaline Adventure Park, ten minutes north of Kamo, opened in November, amid much anticipation from locals, and has since seen hundreds of thrill-seekers flock to the remote location.
Today it boasts a blow-up obstacle course, featuring the popular Blob, a 45m slide, which fires people into the 12m-deep (at places) lake, human foosball, six glamping tents, cabins, paintball, a wakeboarding cable system, jet skiing, kayaks, paddleboards, a swimming area and with plans to add claybird shooting, mounting biking, horse trekking, motor cycling and more.
While no bookings are required during weekdays, weekend bookings fill up quickly with the park popular for end of year school trips, camps, holiday programmes and team-building with groups travelling from near and far to partake.
Says Cody's dad Roger: "It's entertaining for all the people on the water and for those watching. A lot of dads get out there on the blob and send their kids flying."
The blob is an inflatable bubble which one person jumps on to and catapults another person into the lake.
"We've got families who rock up and stay here till 5pm and the kids still don't want to go."
While Jayme runs the admin side of things from abroad, Leanne added the feminine touch setting up the glamping which hosts up to 60 people.
"My wife has done a beautiful job setting it up. We didn't want to start putting buildings around the place as we have kiwi reservices 100m from where the tents are sitting."
Some of the kiwi have GPS trackers which are available to school groups to find kiwi in the wild.
There are age restrictions on certain activities and participants are given a safety talk prior to partaking. Life jackets are worn and Cody and Klay have undergone first aid training and a lifesaving course.
Despite reaching their summer deadline, because of the popularity of the park, the family are still rushed off their feet.
"We're pretty buggered actually," laughs Roger, when asked if they have time to partake in the adventure park they created.
"After closing we usually have a bit of a play," says Cody. "I love the water – in the summer I spend more time on the water than land.
"We're definitely on track to be living the dream."