The highest zipline tour in Australia, the Illawarra Fly
If you’re looking for something completely different to do on the weekend that is only 1.5 hours south of Sydney, the Illawarra Fly Zipline tour would certainly tick that box.
It is officially the highest zipline tour in Australia!!
If you’re wondering what a zipline tour is all about, here is a little bit of background…
It is a unique eco-wilderness adventure located a short drive south of Sydney, Australia and is part of the Southern Highlands rainforest. The tour lasts for around 2.5 hours which includes the self-guided treetop walk either before or after your zipline. I’ll get to the treetop walk a bit later… I’ll start with the adrenaline pumping bit first!
The zipline tour involves flying on a series of elevated cable spans and navigating suspension bridges from one tree platform to another, 35 metres above the forest floor. But before you think you can’t do it, you’re scared of heights … Let me just say, Jenna managed to do it and she is so afraid of heights.. so if she can do it, anyone can! In fact, kids as young as 4 can do it, so really how hard can it be 🙂
Participants will soar through the trees and learn about our growing and vibrant forest whilst capturing unparalleled views of everything from the forest floor, into the canopy and a glimpse out to the Pacific Ocean.
The whole experience is with experienced zipline tour guides so there is no need to worry if you haven’t done anything like this before.
Our Zipline Experience
Now for our story…. We left Sydney bright and early on a Sunday morning to get down to Illawarra Fly for 9am. The weather was predicted to be sunny and 19 degrees, so naturally we, well Jenna thought – yep! No jumper required! Well, she didn’t really take into account the fact that we would be amongst the trees or the fact that it was a little windy… so our first stop of the day was to the Illawarra Fly Gift shop where Jenna picked up a fleece jumper to keep herself warm. We then had a little bit of time to kill so we popped over to the cafe and picked up some coffees and cakes. Yum, yum yum – just what we needed after the drive down!
Shortly after, it was time to head to the briefing room where we were fitted with our harness and given instructions on how the equipment works and some of the rules when going on the zipline.
Then, we were off! It is a short walk to the first zipline and we are all connected up and ready to go!
I was worried about Jenna given her fear of heights, but she nailed the first zipline easily! All you need to do is sit in to your harness and the staff will let you go – it is actually quite peaceful!
We all arrive at the first tree platform and learn a bit of history of the trees and try to find the oldest tree around us (hint: it’s not what you probably think!).
Then, the next two parts to the zipline are actually the suspension bridges.
I went first with our mate Luke (@thewelltravelledrider) behind me. We were encouraged by the staff to bounce around and have a bit of fun! So, that’s what we did! I must admit, walking across the suspension bridge with one hand holding the GoPro was quite tricky, but thankfully we both managed to get across quickly and easily.
Then, it was time for the girls to come across. They weren’t quite as fast as us, taking it slower but making it across with no issues to report!
At the next tree platform we learn a bit about how the zipline is connected to the trees which is actually quite fascinating (you’ll have to go to find out!). And then comes the second suspension bridge! This one a bit shorter than the last and us boys again have quite a bit of fun and run the last few steps to the end.
The girls, improved on the first one and made it across with no worries!
The second last zipline is 106m and a heap of fun! Here, you can have a bit of a play around and head on over upside down by kicking your feet up towards the zipline!
It can slow you down a little, but it is worth the helping hand at the end! That helping hand is rather a red rope that the guy at the platform will throw your way to help pull you up on to the platform. Either way, it gets your heart pumping that one – so much fun!
Unfortunately after that, it means you’re up to the last zipline for the tour. Again, this is a great one to go upside down with given you’re heading downhill so won’t need any helping hands!!
Take a look at our quick zipline video.
The Treetop Walk
You can choose to do the walk before or after your zipline tour. We chose to do ours afterwards so we weren’t rushing to get back. The walk is made up of 500m of steel walkway nestled in the treetop canopy up to 30m above the ground and runs for 1.5km.
In the middle of the walkway is Knights Tower. It is a spiral tower (yep, those stairs get your heart rate up again!) and is 45m above the forest floor and the views are just spectacular!
And if that’s not enough for you, there are two swaying springboard cantilevers suspended 25m above the forest floor which takes you right to the edge of the escarpment!
Fun Fact: The treetop walk can withstand winds of up to 280kmh, is 472m long, has an average height of 710m above sea level and weighs over 160 tonnes, the equivalent of a Blue Whale!
It is such a nice way to finish off the day whilst looking at the next group do their zipline!
Here is a short video of the treetop walk!
There is a souvenir shop (where Jenna purchased her jumper!) and a cafe. We had a bit to eat at the cafe for breakfast before the zipline tour. The service was great and the muffins and coffee was great! If you have a zipline ticket, you also get a voucher for a $10 lunch!
Overall, it was such a fantastic day! Here is our fun review!
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck