Maniax Axe Throwing
Since Maniax in Sydney opened in 2015, tens of thousands of people have come through its doors; Saturday slots are booked out four to six weeks in advance.
With that success and growth, co-owners Stephen Thomas and Adam Schilling quickly drew up plans to open a Melbourne location, knowing they’d need a larger space this time. After an eight-month search they found the ideal location next to Collingwood station. Maniax Melbourne, which opened in 2018, is twice as big as the Sydney original.
Anyone over the age of 15 years old can axe-throw, and it’s a pleasant surprise when your weapon hits the target board. There's the regular session axe (16 inches), league axe (14 inches) and the functionally named Big axe (comically oversized, two-handed throw only).
Axe-throwing at Maniax is essentially just an exaggerated version of dart throwing, but the drama of the build-up to a throw, and the feeling of satisfaction you get when you hear the thud of an axe successfully thrown into the board, gives the sport a serious competitive edge.
The fit-out reflects axe-throwing’s potential mass appeal. It would have been tempting to file a design brief that fell somewhere between man-cave and what would happen if Mjølner opened a gym, but Thomas and Schilling have wisely gone the other way. The non-throwing areas of the straightforward warehouse spaces are dark and have comfortable living-room-style chairs and couches. That gives a theatrical effect to the wire-caged throwing-lanes – three on either side, with two boards to a lane – which are given all the spotlights and attention.
The only nod to the sport’s origins as a Medieval pastime is by the front-desk, where you’re greeted with an enormous four-and-a-half-tonne tree, which just about scratches the ceiling. The modernity’s still there, though: the trunk is embedded with Ipads attached to axe-handles, where you’ll sign a safety waiver before you throw.