A Look at Council’s New Eco-Tourism Infrastructure for Mt Coot-tha

Artist's impression of proposed Zipline launchpad at the summit
Artist's impression of proposed Zipline launchpad at the summit

Zipline Australia and Brisbane City Council’s Natural Environmental, Water and Sustainability (NEWS) Branch has submitted an application for the development of a $15 million eco-tourism development including various ziplines, boardwalks, suspension bridge, arrival centre, kiosk, public viewing platform and other associated infrastructure located at Mt Coot-tha.

The proposal, which includes the longest zipline in Australia at 1km long includes the establishment of an eco-tourism development that offers 3 key experiences, being the Scenic Zipline, Treetop Canopy Tour and Skywalk Tour which focus on the natural environment, biodiversity, scenic amenity and recreational values of Mt Coot-tha.

Arrival centre

Artist's impression of arrival centre
Artist’s impression of the arrival centre
Artist's impression of arrival centre
Artist’s impression of the arrival centre

The ‘hub’ of development where users of all experiences will arrive. The complex, located at the existing disused Legacy Way workforce car park, includes 2 buildings that house administration, booking, café, toilet, gift shop, storage, induction, staff facilities and other general facilities. 102 on-site car parking spaces are also provided.

Scenic Zipline

This component of development comprises a launch platform, publicly accessible boardwalk and lookout platform near the summit of Mt Coot-tha, a landing platform and kiosk and viewing deck in the Botanic Gardens and zip lines extending between.

Artist's impression of proposed Zipline launchpad at the summit
Artist’s impression of proposed Zipline launchpad at the summit
Artist's impression of proposed Zipline launchpad at the summit
Artist’s impression of proposed Zipline launchpad at the summit

A secondary structure accommodating a change in direction (the ‘intermediate tower’) for the zip lines is also provided south-east of the landing platform.

Artist's impression of proposed Zipline launchpad at the summit
Artist’s impression of proposed Zipline launchpad at the summit
Artist's impression of proposed Zipline arrival pad at the bottom of the mountain
Artist’s impression of proposed Zipline arrival pad at the bottom of the mountain
Artist's impression of proposed Zipline arrival pad at the bottom of the mountain
Artist’s impression of proposed Zipline arrival pad at the bottom of the mountain

Treetop Canopy Tour

The Treetop Canopy Tour involves 8-9 small single ziplines and platforms extending from tree to tree (or in some instances a structure) to provide a unique experience for patrons to appreciate the scenic and environmental aspects of the open forest by being elevated amongst the canopy.

Diagram elevation example of Treetop tour
Diagram elevation example of Treetop tour
Artist's impression of proposed Treetops Walk
Artist’s impression of proposed Treetops Walk

The alignment of the Treetop Canopy Tour has been sensitively located and designed to allow for different directional finishes to avoid impacting on sensitive fauna habitats during different times of the year, particularly for the Powerful Owl.

Skywalk

Skywalk Tour (cultural heritage walk including suspension bridge) – which includes 321 metres of boardwalks and a 349 metre long suspension bridge above JC Slaughter Falls which will form part of cultural heritage interpretive tour.

Diagram of proposed suspension bridge
Diagram of the proposed suspension bridge
Artist's impression of proposed Skywalk suspension bridge
Artist’s impression of proposed Skywalk suspension bridge
Artist's impression of the proposed suspension bridge
Artist’s impression of the proposed suspension bridge

The suspension bridge will be used as the last leg of the Treetop Canopy Tour outside of sensitive periods for the Powerful Owl.

“A world-class ecotourism zipline experience will help to solidify Brisbane’s global reputation as Australia’s New World City.” – Graham Quirk Brisbane Lord Mayor

Proposed Benefits

According to the development application, the proposed development offers a unique opportunity to capture Mt Coot-tha’s proximity to the Brisbane CBD and showcase views across the city towards Moreton Bay and, to further appreciate and promote the forest landscape, natural environment and cultural heritage values of the Mt Coot-tha precinct.

The development aims to offer a variety of experiences that promote and ‘celebrate’ Mt Coot-tha as a significant ecological, recreational and scenic asset for the city.

The development will offer increased recreational and adventure tourism experiences, whilst protecting the ecological, scenic and cultural heritage values of Mt Coot-tha and offering enhanced opportunities for community appreciation, awareness, viewing and education of this landmark.

Map of Eco-Tourism infrastructure
Map of Eco-Tourism infrastructure

The project will create a myriad of social, environmental, cultural and economic benefits for Brisbane City and the wider region. From a social and economic benefits context, the proposed development will result in increased job opportunities and cultural awareness for Indigenous people, improving outdoor activities for physical wellbeing, as well as increased opportunities for physical activities, and increased demand for tourist accommodation and business activities for the wider Brisbane community and protecting and enhancing natural environment values.

The improved ability to capture tourism expenditure (visitation and spending at the eco-tourism attraction) will allow for the continued visitation and enjoyment of Mt Coot-tha as a destination for visitors from within Australia and overseas.

Environmental protection and appreciation

  • Vegetation disturbance is limited to a total of 1.947ha or approximately 0.1% of the remnant Mt Coot-tha Forest. This has been achieved by locating structures above the ground and sitting buildings within existing disturbed areas to the greatest extent possible
  • Taking a ‘whole of mountain’ and holistic approach to the restoration and enhancement of ecological values that is not limited to focusing on areas within the development footprint
  • A net gain for the environment where disturbance and clearing impacts will be offset through rehabilitation activities undertaken within an area of 8.7 hectares of degraded forest within the Mt Coot-tha Precinct
  • Increased research opportunities for detailed scientific studies by academics of key habitat species, including the Powerful Owl, Greater Glider and Koalas
  • Citizen science and community partnership programs for interest groups and the general public interested in becoming involved with monitoring programs
  • Invasive species management (i.e. weeds or other pests) jointly undertaken or funded by Council and Zipline Australia
  • Increased community awareness, education and environmental appreciation of the mountain’s ecological features and Indigenous cultural heritage will be provided to patrons through guided interpretative walks and signage
  • Habitat restoration around the project site including pest species removal (e.g. lantana removal) and placement of hollow and large logs in areas of low log density and/or the construction of log ‘stacks’ or windrows are proposed
  • Installation of nesting boxes for habitat including for arboreal mammals which are prey for the Powerful Owl and in areas where hollows are scarce around the mountain.

According to Zipline Australia, it is expected that there would be an average of 330 visitors per day on the Scenic Zipline, increasing to 800-1,000 per day during peak periods.

Proposed hours of operation would be between 7am and 10pm. There would be limited lighting confined to launch and landing platforms as well as personal lights for guides and patrons.

The development application number for this project is A005011420.

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