MEG LAW and her family get into the action at the new Bear Grylls Survival Academy available at NRMA Parks and Resorts
Did you know about the rule of threes? You can survive three hours in a harsh environment (extreme heat or cold), three days without drinkable water and three weeks without food? Or what about the fact that tree sap can help you light a fire in the wild? Or that mealworms are a high source of protein? Our family of four was about to learn all this and more as we conquered the Bear Grylls Survival Academy — five missions over three days at NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Resort at Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast. The company has partnered with the UK-based Academy to bring an action-packed survival and adventure program to life for kids. And big kids can join in the fun, too! The new experience is available at several NRMA holiday parks in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
Based on the legendary adventures of Bear Grylls and operated by an elite team of survival experts, the program aims to take kids out of their comfort zone with fun, challenging and interactive activities and obstacles. Whilst the TV star himself isn’t there, every mission has been carefully curated and crafted by him to ensure the children benefit from learning fundamental survival skills. Prior to each mission, there is even a personalised message from Grylls.
Bear Grylls Survival Academy Family Mission
The first mission was an hour-long family adventure with plenty of belly laughs. First up, we had to paint our faces with war paint so that we camouflaged into the wild. Imagination is key with these activities and the kids really enjoyed pretending they were commando crawling upside down over swamps rampant with crocodiles, hiding from predators and learning new navigation skills when they were “lost in the jungle”.
Next up, Dad was blindfolded and led by his youngest son along a series of obstacles, while Mum was wearing camo netting and hiding behind trees from her daughter. Hilarity followed as we each had to complete a race carrying precious water to find a key that unlocked a box containing a sound horn to call for a rescue helicopter! Suffice to say, the competitive spirit was alive and kicking in our family!
The courageous spirit of our nine-year-old thrill seeker of a daughter was evident on day one as we watched her make new friends, show off her athletic prowess with the rope course and spear throwing challenges and embrace new leadership and team building skills, giving absolutely everything a crack.
Four Bear Grylls Survival Academy missions
Our five-year-old was also right in amongst it. His favourite activities over the four hour-long sessions were the ‘hide to survive’ challenge, making a protective shelter with his sister, learning how to tie survival knots and to light a fire on his own using a flint and steel. His least favourite? Eating cooked worms around the fire…
Over the few days we watched his confidence and self-esteem grow, his fiery determined spirit remained unchallenged (despite being visibly worn out) and his imagination soared to new heights as he bravely informed the experts there was a giant tyrannosaurus rex hiding behind us in the jungle.
When each mission was complete, the kids proudly carried their certificates back to our Lagoon Villa, swapped their camo gear for bathers and spent the remainder of the day swimming and playing in the water park and in one of the four pools at the resort. At night, they would happily swap tales of their conquests around the dinner table and test each other’s newfound knowledge and survival skills.
Learning life-saving skills
An added perk of this Survival Academy is that the kids were utterly exhausted, so by 7pm each night the lights were out and Mum and Dad got to enjoy a cocktail on the deck under the stars (all in the name of survival, of course).
Over the three days, the kids both tested their agility, precision, memory, knowledge, and communication skills. They worked together as a team and then broke off into solo missions and cheered each other on. They pretended they were hunting, tracking, and stalking predators and wildlife, protecting themselves from harsh conditions and navigating wild terrain.
Whilst we were busy creating family memories, these fundamental life-saving skills will no doubt stay with the kids for a long time as they learn how to be quick on their feet, think independently and get themselves out of difficult situations.
After all, as Bear Grylls says: “Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it.”
As published in Out & About with Kids, June 2022