Orc Chasm’ic new adventure

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Zipline biz: Owner Chris Russell, right, with operations boss Dave Anderson

A mega new 1000-metre zipline experience criss-crossing steep cliffs and blue lagoons opens for business in Glenorchy this coming Monday.

Paradise Ziplines, which features eight lines and a 100m drop on Rees Valley Station, has been six years in the making.

Designer and owner Chris Russell doesn’t want to talk sums but says it’s taken a “big chunk” of money and “sweat equity”.

Lines include Orc Chasm, inspired by Lord of the Rings,Flying Scotts, relating to land owners, and Pogue Mahone, meaning ‘kiss my arse’ in Irish.

Russell, who also co-founded Canyon Swing Queenstown, roped in new operations boss Dave Anderson.

Anderson says they wandered the valley for weeks: “You have to think about how it fits together.

“The first line can take you to the second line, there is a certain gradient you have to hit, and you have to land on a feasible landing spot.

“But you can get seven lines in and then the last doesn’t work and you have to go back to the drawing board.”

The first summer was spent scouting and putting in tricky initial lines. They started out using fishing rods – casting the line as far as possible, finding the end, and hooking them up from either side.

Once an initial line was secure they fed a nylon chord on to it, which in turn was replaced by a steel cable. All equipment, tools and supplies had to be lugged in by hand, including heavy wooden posts for platforms and a 35kg generator for power.

Once the first line was in they used it as a pulley to get gear up the gorge.

Russell isn’t stopping with the new zipline and will add a bungy jump.

“People will get hauled up from the river bed in a cage … a magic lift goes up and you jump straight out. Simple.”

The zipline adventure will cost $179 per person, including transfers from Queenstown.

louise.scott@scene.co.nz