Zipline testing well under way over Ox Burn Gorge (+ video)

Testing a new zipline is serious business - and involves some nerve and leather gloves.

Paradise Ziplines' venture, the region's newest adventure activity, involves a series of wires over the Ox Burn Gorge, near Glenorchy.

It is due to open before Christmas, and owner and designer Chris Russell, who also co-founded Canyon Swing Queenstown, said the next stage was compliance and safety testing.

Adventure-seekers will ride a series of eight ziplines, set high in the trees, criss-crossing a canyon, slipping through red beech canopy and taking in spectacular views of the area, including rivers, blue pools and steep cliffs.

Initial testing includes sending a heavy barrel down the zipline to replicate the weight of people. Once Mr Russell is satisfied it is safe, it is his turn to ride.

His temporary braking system was "rudimentary - a leather glove'', he said, laughing.

With speeds of up to 60kmh on the wire, it is not for the fainthearted.

The actual braking systems will be installed in spring, ready for a launch date in December.

Mr Russell was granted resource consent two years ago and also plans to add a bungy jump at a later stage to the maze of ziplines.

He has just done a full run-through of all eight ziplines.

 - by Louise Scott 

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