Hanging comfortably in a harness high above the ground, gliding through the treetops, I can’t wipe the smile off my face.
I’ve heard the squeals and whoops of those before me echoing through the trees and now it’s my turn to fly.
I’m test driving the Central Coast’s extreme tourist attraction – the Treetop Crazy Rider rollercoaster zip line in Ourimbah State Forest – and loving every second. It’s got to be the most fun you can have sitting down.
After buckling an orange helmet on my head, threading my arms and legs through a harness and slinging a triangular pully over my shoulder, my group sets off on a short bush walk.
Another group is heading off to try the shorter 330m long Pioneer ride but we’re heading straight to the top to try Xtreme.
At 18m high and one kilometre long, it’s the world’s longest, and possibly most audacious, rollercoaster zip line adventure.
As we walk through the forest, an information board about yellow-faced whip snakes prompts questions about local wildlife.
Instructor Jessica says she’s never seen a yellow-faced snake but relays the story of a giant python that briefly closed the course while it hung around in nearby branches, and the red-bellied black snake that fell on an unsuspecting driver’s windscreen.
Other signs point to Xanthorrhoea bottlebrush and Peron’s tree frogs. From the car park to the launch platform and back to the bottom, it’s an authentic Australian experience.
At the top I’m slouched in my harness, ankles crossed, with my arms casually resting in a Harley handlebar stance, as Jessica gets the all clear to let me go.
Within moments I’m whooshing past gum leaves and curling around vertiginous tree trunks that are shedding their bark skin, occasionally swinging out wildly after a sharp corner before getting back on track and racing away down the gravity defying ride.
As I gleefully glide and curl around the course I understand why these “crazy riders” have got the world’s attention with their innovative twists and turns. What a rush!
While there are steeper and faster zip lines, none offer the thrill of a panoramic 360 degree loop around a gum tree or the delight of experiencing Australian bushland from this unique perspective.
Jessica says people have travelled from all over the world to try the zip line including a couple who flew from the United States’ Central Coast to our Central Coast to be among the first to try it.
After coming to a surprisingly graceful halt at the end of the line, I instantly want to go again.
A kilometre goes by very quickly when you’re flying through the trees but I like that the course offers a balance between wild and wooly corners, speedy slaloms and a few sedate stretches so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
Coastal Chic Tip: On its own, the Xtreme is $85 for adults and $75 for youths (7-17) which might seem like a lot for five minutes of fun but it is a pretty special experience. For a better value proposition and to get a second go, you can combine the two zip lines for $109/$99.