Throwing sharp objects certainly makes for an interesting date night, but that is exactly the point at MANIAX Axe Throwing.
Located in Thebarton at the old Coca-Cola factory, MANIAX invites guests to hurl a hatchet for a bit of fun, and anyone can do it. It turns out, axe throwing requires more finesse and practice than strength.
Learning How to Throw an Axe
During our two-hour Date Night session, our Axe-pert, Bridget, took us through a safety introduction before explaining how to throw an axe – there’s a one-handed and two-handed method. After the introduction, we stood on the throwing line in a two-person lane with chain link fencing down the sides and woodchips underneath the wooden targets. Bridget watched our throws as we tried four different axe types and suggested adjustments to our technique until we were both able to stick the target. The more we practiced, the more consistent we got.
The trick is to stand the right distance from the target, too close or two far and the rotation of the axe will be wrong and the blade won’t lodge in the wood. Same for the amount of power you put into the throw, too little and there won’t be enough force to lodge the blade but too much and it will bounce back.
Landing the target was also about choosing the right axe.
The standard axe is designed to rotate once before striking the target and is the best for beginners; it’s what our session started with. The large axe is designed to rotate twice and anyone under 6-foot will likely need two hands to hurl it at the target. Meanwhile, the mini can only be thrown one-handed and is a more difficult for most people to aim than the larger axes. Finally, we tried the standard axe, which is used in competition. (Yes, there is actually a competitive league.) After trying them all, I preferred the competition axe; Hubby preferred the mini – apparently common for people good at bowling a cricket ball.
Axe throwing is safer than it sounds. MANIAX claims to have had more than 15 million axes thrown at its venues across Australia with no accidents besides a splinter. That said, I was still a little nervous standing behind the lanes waiting for my turn because the fencing only runs down the sides. With nothing at the back of the lanes, I worried that it wouldn’t take much more than a sweaty palm for an axe to accidently come flying backwards into the spectators. On our Date Night session, we spent about half the time spectating.
The Date Night sessions are less intimate that the title suggests; four couples get grouped together over two pairs of lanes. The couples take turns trying the various axe types. Then, once everyone is warmed up and knows how to find the target you play a couple of games, which are four-on-four. The session completes with a round-robin competition to find an individual winner. I made it to the semi-finals but choked on the second half of the round: four bullseyes in a row, followed by four total misses.
Overall, axe-throwing was a fun activity and made for a good Friday night out. Date Night might not be the best way to experience it though. Bridget did her best to encourage interaction between the couples and make the games and competition fun, but it was a bit awkward. No one seemed to care about the games; it was more like they were just taking the opportunity to throw the axe when it was their turn.
Hubby and I are both very competitive, but when up against total strangers it can be hard to know how far to take it. We would have had more fun being able to compete against each other, knowing that we could go all out and banter without anyone getting offended. For this reason, we were a bit disappointed when we realised that we were being grouped with other couples.
We booked our session through with a South Australia Great State Experiences Voucher – designed to support the state’s tourism suppliers post COVID lockdown. On the voucher website it wasn’t clear that the Date Night session was with other couples. That said, we would have probably still booked it since we were keen to try the activity.
If you book directly on the MANIAX website, there are several other session options including individual, private and group sessions. Group sessions are similar to the Date Night session, except with people you already know and some of the options include food and beverage.
Regardless of which session you choose, your Axe-pert will make sure you find the centre of the target and you will have an interesting night out, even if the Date Night slightly misses the mark.
MANIAX is located in the old Coca-Cola factory at Thebarton, across from Bonython Park on Port Road.
Being on the edge of the city, it is easy to get to by car. There is onsite parking behind the building off Light Terrace. There is also free parking in the surrounding streets and across Port Road at the Bonython Park Free Carpark.
The Thebarton Tram stop is across the street from Maniax. The stop is within the city’s free tram zone.
Opening Hours and Fees
MANIAX is open daily: Monday from 2pm to 8pm, Tuesday to Thursday from noon to 9pm, and weekends from 9am to 9pm.
There are a variety of packages to book with various inclusions.
The Quick Chuck sessions are $45 per person for one hour and include a brief coaching session.
The $110 Date Night is a two-hour package for two people ($55 per person).
The various private group sessions ($103 per person) are two hours and include coaching, time to practice, a tournament and a food and beverage package.
Food & Beverage
MANIAX Adelaide is a licensed venue, but you can only drink after you’ve had your throwing session. There are pizzas available onsite, as well as chips and other small snacks.