Adventure swing planned for Northburn Station

Northburn Station. Photo: Charmian Smith
Northburn Station. Photo: Charmian Smith
A $5 million development with an 1000m-long adventure swing is proposed at Northburn Station, near Cromwell, as investors are sought and the project’s business case is refined.

The project was still subject to due diligence, but it was hoped the adventure swing could be operating by the 2020-21 summer season, developer Darron Charity, of Christchurch, said.

Mr Charity is the adventure park developer who told the Otago Daily Times in July this year he was "looking into opportunities in the Cromwell area".

He is also a director of SCNZ Capital Cromwell Ltd.  Half of its shares are owned by Mr Charity and Andrea Charity, and the other half by Canadian company Select Contracts Holdings Inc, which is behind adventure park developments in Canada.

In New Zealand, the Select Contracts group is behind a $30million adventure park development in Porirua and was involved in setting up the Port Hills chairlift and zipline in the Christchurch Adventure Park. It is also one of the stakeholders in the zipline project

that has been proposed for Oamaru.

When asked if the Northburn adventure swing project could be expanded into a bigger development, Mr Charity said it was important to make the adventure swing "as successful as possible", but after that "I don’t see why we wouldn’t look at future opportunities, there [at Northburn] or elsewhere".

He said the Northburn development would help spread tourists in the region and "give people a  good reason to come out of Queenstown".

The applicant for the 2007 amendment said the only part of the swing structure visible from the Cromwell basin would be the cables that spanned the valley over John Bull Creek, and only because of their coloured aircraft hazard marker pods.

The swing would not be visible from State Highway 8, and any view of the swing and aircraft marker pods from State Highway 6, from Lake Dunstan or near the Lowburn dog trial grounds, "will remain at considerable distance (in excess of 5km),"  the applicant said.

The Northburn project was first publicised in 2006, when Big Daddy Adventures Ltd was granted consent by the Central Otago District Council (CODC) hearings panel for a 170m-high, 800m-long adventure swing on Northburn Station.

Big Daddy Adventures — whose directors were Clive Stephenson, Fiona Stephenson and Terence Nuthall, all of Cromwell — was registered with the Companies Office from 2006-11.

But a new company, also called Big Daddy Adventures, was registered with the Companies Office on July 23 this year. Its directors are Mr Stephenson, now of Richmond, Tom Pinckney, of Northburn, and Mr Charity. 

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