Zip-line designed for minimal impact
Sat, 01 Sep 2012 6:29p.m.
By Sanele Chadwick
A new tourist attraction in Rotorua is a match made in heaven for adrenalin-seekers and conservationists.
It's New Zealand’s first-ever native forest zip-line.
It's a lot of fun and it has taken a lot of hours to plan, but New Zealand's first native forest zip-line tour is finally here.
“Oh man it was awesome,” says tourist Austin Ferranti. “I can't describe how fun it was going over trees, and that nervous feeling you get stepping off there.”
Austin Ferranti was one of the first people to brave the heights to get stunning views over Roturua's native forest.
The tours are popular overseas, so structural engineer Andrew Blackford thought why not build one here.
“We just basically thought what an amazing way to improve people's appreciation of native forest,” says Mr Blackford. “Get them out here, get them involved.”
Mr Blackford helped designed the 1.2km network, including 800m of suspended zip-lines.
The longest zip-line on the course is more than 200m long, and 20m high.
But the tour isn't just about thrill-seeking. There's a strong sense of caring for the environment as well.
“It was so interesting how everything that was put together was just minimally impacted,” says one tourist. “They designed it that way so it creates the least amount of impact [on the environment].”
They went to the extent of carrying in 8-tonnes of equipment by hand, choosing not to use machinery.
Safety hasn't been compromised either.
“We could put you inside your car, hang you off the line and you'll still probably be okay,” says Mr Blackford.
A portion of ticket sales will be reinvested back into the native forest in a bid to make it pest-free.
The Department of Conservation says they're right behind the idea.
“To work with these guys and to create a management plan that we're working through at the moment for pest control, which will gradually get much larger, is awesome,” says DOC ranger Rob Griffiths.
DOC says it’s open to more commercial opportunities on public conservation land, especially those that look after the environment.
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