INDEPENDENT NEWS

Zipline tours open at Driving Creek Railway

Published: Thu 24 Oct 2019 02:05 PM
Thursday 24th October 2019
The first zipline canopy tour through native Coromandel bush will take off this Labour Weekend at Driving Creek Railway.
Stretching 1km in total, ‘CoroZip’ is the Coromandel’s newest eco-adventure and the start of a magical new chapter in the story of Driving Creek Railway.
Eight separate ziplines, the longest of which is 200m long, guide visitors through the bush canopy alongside kereru, korimako (bellbirds) and tui and over the Copeland Stream.
Driving Creek’s Executive Director Neil Oppatt says the zipline took two years to develop and the team can’t wait to share the exhilaration with its first visitors this weekend.
Once harnessed, zipline visitors will take the rail car up halfway towards Driving Creek’s pinnacle EyeFull Tower observation point for the start of the guided tour back to the Driving Creek village.
The rail car ride to the start, the conservation park setting, ziplining over the Copeland Stream and the guided stories of the land’s history is what sets the new zipline apart from others in the country.
“After our fabulous guides took me on the tour, I truly believe this is a remarkable and unique experience,” Neil says.
CoroZip is part of a major expansion of Driving Creek from a railway tourist joyride and one of the largest potteries in Australasia to the full Driving Creek experience across a 25ha estate, bringing to life the late Barry Brickell’s vision for the property.
Founded by Barry in 1961, Driving Creek’s clay-laden hills were ideal for potting and the ferry at Coromandel provided access to his Auckland market.The venture expanded to include a narrow-gauge mountain railway used to transport extracted clay and large sculptures, a constant flow of resident potters, a museum to house a large personal collection of artworks including paintings by Colin McCahon and Ralph Hotere, and a conservation project to create a native kauri forest by planting over nine thousand kauri and 27,000 native plants. The bulk of the property is now held under a QEII National Trust covenant.
Barry, who passed away in 2016, wanted visitors to experience the true beauty of real New Zealand native bush and learn about native flora, fauna and conservation. The zipline canopy tour aims to align with Barry’s vision.
With capacity to host 120 people a day, the zipline will be a year-around attraction at Driving Creek, which already draws 60,000 people a year and reluctantly turns people away from its railway tours in the peak summer months.
Planning is underway to further open up the park and introduce a series of new tourism products including a forest adventure playground for children, pottery workshops, daily ‘play with clay’ sessions, opening new studios for resident artists and installing a series of curated mini exhibitions throughout the property to tell stories of Driving Creek and Barry Brickell.
Neil has deep experience in designing tourism attractions, such as pioneering white water rafting in New Zealand, and believes Driving Creek is so successful because of the Barry Brickell story.
“Barry had a vision for the property and we’re staying true to that,” Neil says. “People are inspired by what one person can do in their lifetime,” Neil says.
“CoroZip has been developed to further Driving Creek’s core aims of supporting conservation on the Coromandel, fostering the clay arts and enhancing the local economy,” Neil says. “Being a community-based charitable organisation, Driving Creek’s profits go towards improving Coromandel and the wider New Zealand for current and future generations.”
Each zipline canopy tour is led by two guides with a maximum of 10 visitors per trip and takes up to 3 hours. Bookings are highly recommended and can be made online at www.corozip.nz
ENDS

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