1 – Introduction

Refer to the Core Good Practice Guide for additional introductory information. (A copy of the Core Good Practice Guide is available on the download page.) [add link]

The following key words occur frequently throughout the documents:

MUST: used where a provision is mandatory, if the provider is operating fully in accordance with the standards. (MUST is equivalent to SHALL used in Australian and International Standards.)

SHOULD: used where a provision is recommended, not mandatory. It indicates that the provider needs to consider their specific situation and decide for themselves whether it applies or is relevant.

CAN/CANNOT: indicates a possibility and capability.

MAY/NEED NOT: indicates a permission or existence of an option.

BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO: used to indicate that a list is not definitive and additional items may need to be considered depending on the context.


1.1 Activity

A Challenge Course is a temporary, mobile or permanent physical structure comprising of either an individual or series of elements, where a person requires a fall protection system should they fall from an element. A challenge course may include slacklining and activities at ‘play centers’ and ‘climbing adventure centers’. A Challenge Course excludes structures or elements that involve abseiling, rock climbing, artificial surfaces climbing or bouldering (refer to the Abseil and Climb activity standard for these activities).

Challenge courses are also known as challenge ropes courses. Participants are required to use dexterity, strength, balance and complex physical movements to successfully traverse the element or course of elements. Challenge courses are often used for experiential learning, personal challenge or team building purposes but also for entertainment. Adventure games and low obstacles may also be a part of the challenge course.

Fall protection systems differ for low elements, adventure games and high elements.

Low element(s) (also known as low ropes or obstacle courses) is any element or series of elements for which the appropriate fall safety is achieved through spotting and/or an impact absorbing system. Some physical structures do not require fall safety and are called low obstacles to indicate when this is the case.

Spotting is a support process provided by a person, or persons, who offer physical protection of the head and upper body of a person should they fall.

High element(s) (also known as high ropes) is any element for which safety can no longer be achieved by spotting and requires a belay system using harnesses and specialist safety equipment or other established methods or systems. High elements may include but is not limited to swinging elements as well as flying foxes. In some circumstances spotting may be required while transitioning from a low to high fall height or visa-versa, as the ‘stretch’ in the belay system means it can only function as intended over a certain fall height.

An element is considered a temporary element when it remains in place no longer than seven consecutive days.

Adventure games are activities which are not identifiable as a low element or high element activity, but which require spotting to ensure participant safety. Adventure games may be conducted as separate activities or as part of a warm-up for challenge course activities. Adventure games are covered by this AAS.

1.2 Exclusions

Activities that are not covered by this AAS are:

  • Abseiling either on natural or artificial surfaces (refer Abseiling and Rock Climbing GPG)
  • Bouldering either on natural or artificial surfaces (refer Abseiling and Rock Climbing GPG)
  • Games, sports or activities that are not Adventure Games
  • Rock climbing either on natural or artificial surfaces (refer Abseiling and Rock Climbing GPG)
  • Activities that do not involve a belay system (g. mud runs, ‘playground equipment’, etc)
  • Competitive activities (g. adventure races, etc.)

1.3 Related activities

Possible related activities may include:

  • Abseiling, Climbing or Bouldering either on natural or artificial surfaces (refer Abseiling and Rock Climbing GPG)
  • Camping while on overnight or extended activities (refer the Camping GPG)



Copyright 2018 Outdoors Victoria Ltd.

Outdoors Victoria Ltd currently acts as the copyright holder as Secretariat for the Australian AAS project and its project partners. Please refer to the website for details of the project partners http://australianaas.org.au/about/


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