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Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk reaches 10 years of operations
Treetop walkway the Illawarra Fly will this month be marking 10 years of operations, during which time it has become one of the most popular visitor attractions in regional NSW.
Suspended 20 metres above the forest floor at on the edge of the Illawarra escarpment, the attraction welcomes more than 60,000 visitors per year – the majority from outside of the region – who annually contribute about $2 million to the local economy.
Conceived in 2005 when Kiama Municipal Council approved a development application for the attraction, the eco-tourism development was the first of its kind in NSW. Construction commenced in September 2007 and was completed in February 2008
Following a ‘tread lightly’ approach in its construction, existing farm tracks where used to rbing materials to the site so no trees needed to be cut down. Around 160 tonne of steel was used, manufactured locally at BlueScope Steelworks in Port Kembla.
Supported by 10 towers, the 1500 metre long treetop walkway takes walk guests through the local rainforest environment and features two gently swaying cantilevered arms, plus a central tower (Knight’s Tower) raised from the forest floor that looks across Shellharbour, Lake Illawarra and the Pacific Ocean.
Operated by Merlin Entertainments since 2012, the attraction was expanded with the addition of a the Illawarra region’s first zipline in 2014, featuring a series of integrated cables spanning 247 metres which allows guests to sail through the treetops.
The sky-high Zipline Tour was similarly designed in such a way to have minimal impact on its natural surroundings and be environmentally sustainable and, like the original walkway, was installed manually so no machinery or vehicles had to be brought in.
The zipline’s the individual cloud stations were attached to the trees in such a way that they can continue to grow through the equipment.
Commenting on its value, Destination Wollongong General Manager Mark Sleigh explains “the Illawarra Fly is a tremendous example of what can be achieved by a tourism asset with operators who have commitment and vision.
“One of the great strengths of the attraction is that it continues to evolve, with new reasons to visit added regularly making it attractive to both returning and first time visitors to the region.
“The zip line in particular is a perfect example of what can be achieved with sensible eco-tourism projects, activating the escarpment in an exciting and adventurous way.”
Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures General Manager Kieran McMahon also highlighted that a range of native animals can be seen around the attraction, including wombats, swamp wallabies, long-nosed bandicoots, possums, gliders, lyrebirds, satin bower birds, powerful owls and tawny frogmouths.
Sunday 18th March will see the attraction host a family fun day to celebrate the anniversary with ticketing discounts, a sausage sizzle, popcorn, face painting, ranger talks and a jumping castle.
Image courtesy of the Illawarra Fly.
6th March 2017 - NSW GOVERNMENT ENCOURAGES REGIONAL TOURISM GROWTH
27th April 2016 - MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS MARKS FIVE YEARS OF OPERATIONS IN AUSTRALASIA
5th June 2015 - ILLAWARRA FLY TREETOP ADVENTURES WELCOMES 5,000TH ZIP LINER
30th December 2014 - ZIPLINE CANOPY TOUR LAUNCHES AT ILLAWARRA FLY
1st October 2013 - OTWAY FLY ATTRACTS GLOBAL MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE
17th April 2013 - STAR GAZING AND INDIGENOUS STORY TELLING AT THE ILLAWARRA FLY
10th March 2013 - ILLAWARRA FLY TREETOP WALK TURNS FIVE
12th December 2012 - OTWAY FLY TREETOP ADVENTURES RAMPS UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS
13th October 2012 - MERLIN CELEBRATES TWIN NSW TOURISM AWARD NOMINATIONS
16th May 2012 - MERLIN TO RELAUNCH OCEANWORLD MANLY AS MANLY SEA LIFE SANCTUARY
18th February 2012 - MERLIN CONFIRMS LIVING AND LEISURE AUSTRALIA TAKEOVER
10th March 2011 - MERLIN COMPLETES SYDNEY ATTRACTIONS GROUP PURCHASE
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