Australia’s longest zipline, 35km of mountain bike trails, and NSW’s first Via ferrata rock climbing route are just a few of the adventures that’ll be on offer at the newly announced Lost City Adventure Experience near Lithgow in the Blue Mountains.
Over 30,000 Hectares Protected
The adventure experience is part of a $50 million project to protect an additional 31,500 hectares in the western Blue Mountains and transform the area into an eco-tourism and adventure hub, which also includes a new six day hike.
The announcement comes after 87 years of campaigning by the Colong Foundation for Wilderness to have the area formally protected.
Colong Foundation for Wilderness Director, Keith Muir, told the Sydney Morning Herald,
‘I am more than pleased because the area will be recognised as an outstanding natural area with the highest sandstone landscape in the Blue Mountains. It’s a really critical area and it contains 1000 plant species and 300 vertebrate animals, and that is amazing diversity.’
Almost 29,000 of the hectares will be protected through the creation of the Gardens of Stone Conservation Area, which’ll include the transfer of Newnes, Ben Bullen and Wolgan State Forests, as well as additions to both the Wollemi National Park and Gardens of Stone National Park.
‘We’re investing record amounts in our national parks to protect our natural gems while also generating new industries in our regions to support jobs and creating new iconic experiences so more people can enjoy our natural wonders,’ said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.
Lost City Adventure Experience
The Lost City Adventure Experience will be the cornerstone of the project, and will feature an array of adventure activities, including;
- Australia’s longest zipline
- NSW’s first Via Ferrata rock-climbing experience (i.e steel rungs, ladders, and cables fixed to the rock for safe climbing)
- A new 4WD circuit
- A new 35km mountain-bike network
- Upgraded lookouts and walking trails
It’s estimated the new adventure area will draw an additional 200,000 visitors to the region every year, and will create at least 190 jobs in Lithgow.
‘This investment will deliver an iconic tourism and adventuring experience right on Sydney’s doorstep and represents one of the State’s largest ever investments in a regional ecotourism project,’ said Deputy Premier Paul Toole.
A New Six Day Hike
On top of this, a new six-day hike will be constructed from Wollemi to the Gardens of Stone.
Along the hike expect spectacular views across the Wollemi wilderness, the chance to visit Capertee Valley, a fabulous birding destination, and of course the iconic ancient rocky pagoda’s that the Gardens of Stone is known for.
The five night hike will also feature purpose-built eco-cabins so that you can enjoy a comfortable end to each day’s hiking.
Protecting Flora, Fauna, and Culture
The newly protected areas are home to a number of rare and threatened species, including regent honeyeaters, spotted-tailed quolls, koalas, and the Blue Mountains water skink.
A collection of flora species, like the Wolgan Snow Gum which is not currently found in any existing Blue Mountains reserve, will now be protected.
There are also a number of recorded Aboriginal sites in the new reserve, including art engravings, carved trees, grinding grooves, and Mayinygu Marragu Aboriginal Place, a place of great meaning to the Wiradjuri people where rock shelters with painted art is found.
‘This new set of reserves will rival the Three Sisters in Katoomba as the destination for visitors and tourists to the mountains west of Sydney,’ said Treasurer and Environment Minister Matt Kean.
Photos thanks to Jan Dee