David, Max, Julie and Stephen Taylor at the 2017 Queensland Tourism Awards (AAP/Gold Coast Tourism)An adrenaline ride over the Gold Coast rainforest seems to be the new ‘must do’ for visiting celebrities and Hollywood stars.
Business tycoon Elon Musk, American actor Mark Ruffalo – best known for playing the Hulk in the Marvel movie series – and actress Amber Heard are among those who have faced one of these TreeTop Challenges.
There are three at the moment, across two locations, with a fourth in the wings.
One, the Canyon Flyer, bills itself as ‘s largest, highest and fastest guided zipline tour of the treetops.
Built in rainforest surrounding Thunderbird Park on Mt Tamborine, it consists of seven huge ziplines, also known as flying foxes, that cover 1.4 kilometres.
They cross Cedar Creek gorge multiple times, as high as 60 metres above the ground in some sections.
There is a thrill of adventure and glorious scenery as you “fly” across the gorge before descending to just above the treetops.
Those who have taken this ride include 38 international extreme athletes from the 2016 GoPro Athlete Summit.
Held outside of the US for the first time, brand ambassadors including American professional surfer Alana Blanchard took on the zipline, and other adrenaline-fuelled activities, creating videos that were shared with millions on social media.
The idea of building ‘s largest guided zipline tour and adventure park came to the Taylor family – Max, Julie and their two sons David and Stephen – while on a holiday overseas.
“We did a jungle zipline adventure tour in the South Pacific and thought: why not do something like this on the Gold Coast?” David says.
“None of us had any previous experience in tourism, but once we got home we started investigating options. In 2013, we found an old, high-ropes adventure park in the Gold Coast Hinterland (about 45 minutes from the beach), rebranded it as TreeTop Challenge, and the rest is history.”
In just four years, TreeTop Challenge has recorded a 400 per cent increase in visitors. The Taylors are set to also develop parks in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast.
They had the Best Adventure Tourism product at the 2017 Queensland Tourism Awards and will contest the n Tourism Awards in Perth on February 23.
For the Taylors, their success is driven by a desire to provide an unforgettable n experience combining adventure and nature for visitors.
They also have a smaller TreeTop Challenge operating within the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, another award-winning attraction on the Gold Coast. There, people can zipline over animal enclosures containing crocodiles, kangaroos and dingoes.
“All our experiences start off easy – and then you decide how adventurous you want to be,” David says.
“Our customers have to face their fears and go outside their comfort zone. A personal challenge is involved, and it gives you a great feeling of excitement and accomplishment at the end.”
All their adventure park courses are designed by the family, led by Stephen, an experienced construction rigger.
“It’s really exciting. Many times you’ll have the whole tour filled with international visitors, all wanting to experience this challenge because they’re doing something really unique and really n,” David says.
Mark Ruffalo found the zipline challenge exhilarating, posting a video to his 6.4 million Instagram followers.
Ruffalo took his family along and they navigated their way through the heights with nerves, laughs and an adrenaline rush. They’d never experienced like this before so it was a thrill for us to share the experience with them, David says.
AAP, in collaboration with the City of Gold Coast and Gold Coast Tourism, is publishing a range of newsworthy content in the lead-up to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.