For locals and tourists alike, Mt Coot-tha is one of Brisbane's must-see spots, particularly if you like peering down on cities a great height. From next year, visitors won't just drive up to the lookout to enjoy the view, walk along its trails or picnic in its parklands, however — they'll also be able to glide through the treetops and soar down from the summit via a zipline.
Approved by the Brisbane City Council in 2017, set to start construction later in 2018 and due to be fully operational by 2020, the Mt Coot-tha zipline will consist of three parts, each of which will open in stages. Actual ziplines comprise two of the components, and yes, there'll be more than one, with nearly three kilometres of zipline included in the entire project.
Firstly, a treetop canopy tour will span 1.5 kilometres between multiple platforms, starting at the west of the summit and finishing to the west of JC Slaughter Falls. As its name suggests, it'll zip through the trees to take riders on a tour of the site's flora, fauna and indigenous cultural heritage. It'll be the first to open to the public, from sometime in 2019.
In 2020, it'll be joined by a two stage 'megazip' tour that features six parallel lines between the summit and the Mt Coot-tha botanic gardens. As well as that 1.1-kilometre stretch — all in a single span, without any platforms along the way, and with users reaching speeds of around 60 kilometres per hour — there'll also be a second 340-metre run within the gardens, taking patrons zooming over the Melaleuca Lake.
The final section of the project will involve a guided indigenous experience across a new 335-metre suspension bridge that'll be built above JC Slaughter Falls, connecting to the treetop canopy tour and the new arrival centre on Sir Samuel Griffith Drive. And, so that everyone can get between destinations other than via zipline, there'll also be a shuttle bus linking various points.
Brisbane City Council will put $1 million towards the zipline, which will be built by Zipline Australia — and, once it's finished, it'll be the longest zipline in the country.
The project has also attracted criticism, including worries about its environmental impact throughout the vegetation-heavy area. In response to concerns, "extensive independent expert studies have been undertaken as part of the project to ensure the Mt Coot-tha zipline design is sensitive to the environment, including the natural habitat and Botanic Gardens," Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk advised The Courier-Mail.