Walk the line! A group of slackliners recently walked a 1290m highline in the Blue Mountains, smashing the Australian record and the 1km milestone. We reached out for a chat.

These adventures take place on and above Dharug and Gundungurra Country, the traditional Country of the Dharug and Gundungurra peoples. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded.


Highlining is a type of slacklining that involves walking along a taut piece of webbing at a great height. It’s an extreme sport that combines adrenaline with peacefulness and balance, and rigging the line is half the battle! Highliners use a leash to catch themselves in the event that they do fall, but it’s by no means risk free.

Recently a crew of highliners from the Sydney slackline community have set their sights on pushing the limit, and their most recent mammoth effort smashes the Australasian record, which they also held. We talked to Arthur Pera (@arthurjpera) from the Australian Slackline Association about their feat!


Read more: New Highest Highline Record for WA!

These Slackliners Used Drones To Rig and Walk a Record 1290m Highline in the Blue Mountains, Aidan Williams, NSW, rigging

The effort to rig a highline this large is an adventure of its own | @aidanwilliamsphoto

AF: Can you tell me a bit about who you are and how you got into highlining? 

AP: I’ve been slacklining for almost 10 years. I started practicing back in Brazil, although I was still close to the ground. In 2015, when I moved to Australia, I met the Sydney slackline community and got introduced to highline shortly after that. From then on I never stopped and kept growing a desire to push the limits in Australia.

I’m also the President of the Australian Slackline Association, the representative body for Slacklining in Australia. We’re committed to providing support and developing the slackline community. We aim to protect land access rights for all forms of slacklining in Australia. We encourage Aussie slackliners to become members so we can keep making progress with land managers across the country.


You’ve just smashed the record for the longest successful highline in Australia – Congrats! Can you tell me about the length, height, and location of the highline?

The record holders are Gabriel Camolesi (@gabrielcamolesi) and Nathaniel Glavurdic (@humanmoovments) who both were able to walk the whole line without falling on the way. The line was rigged in Blue Mountains of NSW and was 1290 metres in length and around 200m high.

What was the previous record in Australia? Is this also the first highline over 1km long in Aus?

The previous record in Australia was a line also rigged by us in the Blue Mountains region measuring 777m and about the same height. The recent record is the first line over 1km rigged in Australasia.


How did you decide on the location?

After spending a lot of time in the Blue Mountains over the last few years, our Lead Rigger Nathaniel Glavurdic already knew that this location would be perfect for a line of this length. He has walked 90% of all the highlines established in the area and knows every corner and every cliff around. When we all decided to get a plan together, he went out to scope out anchors and double check the terrain and access to the site.

These Slackliners Used Drones To Rig and Walk a Record 1290m Highline in the Blue Mountains, Aidan Williams, NSW

Golden hour on the line | @aidanwilliamsphoto

Feats like this don’t just happen on a whim. How long have you been planning this trip and who’s been involved to make it happen?

Since we finished rigging the previous record we’d been thinking about cracking the 1km mark, however it was only 3 months ago that we actually put all the team together and started organising things to make it happen.

These Slackliners Used Drones To Rig and Walk a Record 1290m Highline in the Blue Mountains, Aidan Williams, NSW, meeting

Just a few logistics | @aidanwilliamsphoto

I saw that it took you 10 hours just to set up the line – can you briefly explain what’s involved in setting up a line this long and what techniques you used to do it? 

Correct, it took us about 10 hours from the moment we left the cars to the moment the first walker got on the line. There’s a lot involved in setting up a big line like this.

All of the steps are important and require a certain level of skill, however the most important one I’d say is the connection between one side to the other.

To link the gap, we flew a fishing line via two drones: a leader and a follower. The leader was pulling the line while the follower drone was clipped with a carabiner to the line and lifted it, keeping it up off the trees.

Once the lead drone reached the other side, the team grabbed the fishing line and connection was made. The follower drone hovered. The tension side started to pull back the fishing line, and the follower drone slowly came back in. It continued to keep the fishing line out of the trees, and did not get snagged while coming back. The follower then landed back where it started.

Once the connection was completed, the hauling team started to pull the fishing line in, which was connected to 1200m of 4mm tagline. To the end of the thick tagline, we connected the highline webbing and when it got too heavy to haul by hand, a riggers winch was used to do the work.

These Slackliners Used Drones To Rig and Walk a Record 1290m Highline in the Blue Mountains, Aidan Williams, NSW, rigging winch

The riggers winch helped once the load became too heavy to hand haul | @aidanwilliamsphoto

You walked the line yourself a few times – what was the experience like for you? 

Yes, I had a chance to get on the line twice. On my first go, I was calm and super focused; the line was still and stable. I started walking around 6:30am and made it to the other side in one hour and 44 minutes. It was so beautiful to be in that space, in the middle of the valley by myself enjoying the view and watching nature from an angle that only few are able to do so. 

When I was reaching the end, about 70 metres from the anchors, my attention went away for one second and I lost balance and fell. So close but yet so far. I was still super stoked and happy with my performance of crossing 1290m with only one fall close to the end.

These Slackliners Used Drones To Rig and Walk a Record 1290m Highline in the Blue Mountains, Aidan Williams, NSW

Arthur floats through the valley | @aidanwilliamsphoto

On my second chance, I decided to walk as fast as I could to the other side because we were supposed to start de-rigging the line before the wind got strong. I let go of the pressure, fear, and anxiety, and allowed myself to just enjoy being up there every second. I ended up falling three times on the way, but quickly recovered and kept ‘running on the line’. I ended up crossing the line in 52 minutes this time and met all of the crew on the other side.


How long does it take on average to walk a line this long?

These are the times that people took to cross the line, but only Gabriel and Nathaniel completed without falling:

Gabriel Camolesi – 2:30
Nathaniel Glavurdic – 1:45
Arthur Pera – 0:52
Drew Abernathy – 1:13
Brendon Plaza – 1:25
James Collins – 2:00
Tom Oliver – 2:30

These Slackliners Used Drones To Rig and Walk a Record 1290m Highline in the Blue Mountains, Aidan Williams, NSW

The breeze can cause ‘side sag’ which makes the highline more challenging to walk | @aidanwilliamsphoto

Were there any adverse weather conditions during the set up and walking of the line? How did that impact the trip?

In the afternoons, the wind started to increase and some people attempted to cross the line during that time. The best conditions will always be no wind. A little bit of constant wind is not too bad and sometimes helps you depending where it is blowing from. But gusty and windy conditions are very hard to walk in. 

In one of the photos, you can see how the line was getting blown by the wind, forming what we call a ‘side sag’. It’s pretty spectacular to see, however very challenging to walk.

And finally, how was the view?

The view was amazing. Depending on the time of the day, the sun would hit the cliffs and remarkable features on the rock would appear in different colours. The exposure to the valley below us gave a great sense of how small we are in the scale of the land. Birds cruising past and sound of water falling from a cliff nearby enhanced the connection with nature and provided a unique interaction with the environment. It was really special to be walking through a space where nobody has passed before in history.


You can follow and get involved with the Australian slacklining community over at @slackmate and @australian_slacklining, or head to slackmate.com.au.