'Exhilarating' ride through tree canopy a step closer

Man on zip wire in forest. Photo: Getty Images
A proposed zipline venture for the Hokitika Treetop Walkway has bypassed the hearing stage. Photo: Getty Images
A proposed zipline venture for the Hokitika Treetop Walkway is moving unopposed though the Department of Conservation's submission process.

In fact, only one submission - in support of the 450m dual zipline - was received.

The redacted submission says the Rimu air walk was the only one of its kind in New Zealand and any additional attraction at the site would be a further drawcard, and boost for the local economy.

With only one submitter, the application to vary the existing DOC concession has bypassed the hearing stage.

West Coast Treetop Walk managing director Shane Abel said the zipline cable would not be seen by the naked eye against the forest background.

Riders would also be seen from the walkway for the first 100m of the ride.

"Then they will disappear into the tree forest, reappearing at the visitor centre in open paddock."

There would be no audible noise from the zipline itself, while the sound of "exited riders" would not affect nearby Lake Mahinapua or West Coast Wilderness Trail users.

Mr Abel also clarified that no trees would be removed for the zipline alignment.

He said the zipline would provide an "exhilarating" ride through the tree canopy and was seen as a natural extension of the walk through the forest at tree canopy level, 20m to 45m off the ground.

It would start from the existing 45m high spiral tower on the walkway.

The application shows the new feature requires investment of about $350,000. Owners hope up to 7500 riders a year will use it.

  - Janna Sherman of the Hokitika Guardian

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