Don’t try to zipline across the Yarra in the middle of a thunderstorm. That’s my first tip.
At best, you – like me – get drenched waiting, turned away for safety reasons and told to come back the next day. At worst? Well, let’s not go there. (Though, would my obit read, “He died the way he lived – chaotically”?) I don’t dwell on it and return the next day.
It’s a balmy, blue-skied summer morning. So, as I stroll towards Firefly, a 130-metre pop-up zipline behind Fed Square, thunderstorm fears subside, and I fear simply being suspended above the river. Our photographer arrives to capture me in all my vulnerability, as does fellow Broadsheet staffer Steph Vigilante, who’s tentatively agreed to zip with me.
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We’re greeted by the friendly crew, one of whom asks: “Have you checked in and signed the waiver?”. The waiver? It’s routine – obviously. But I’m starting to question whether my editor really handballed this to me because he was “too busy”.
While we’re taken out back to get kitted up, some incognito speakers start blasting rock’n’roll. But we don’t feel very rock’n’roll as our harnesses are yanked tight, our helmets are secured, and our phones are strapped to our wrists. It’s showtime, though.
With slight fredgies (front wedgies), we climb the stairs to the take-off point – and the music intensifies. There’s a man waiting to hook us up to the zipline. And as he does, I realise two (sturdy) carabiners are all that’s preventing me from my first Yarra swim sesh. Suddenly, I have the impulse to ask a bunch of questions. “How high above the river are we?” Fourteen metres. “How fast does this thing go?” About 40 kilometres per hour.
And then, three … two … one … Weeeee. (Sorry.)
I’m not a zipline connoisseur, but I’m satisfied with the pace as we whiz alongside each other (it’s a dual-zipline sitch). Not too quick that you can’t take in the view. Not too slow as to underwhelm. But I must be a bit too eager to take in the full panorama because I, like Kylie, seem to be Spinning Around an awful lot.
All in all, it lasts less than 30 seconds, but – in this instance – I focus more on experience than endurance. Before I know it, my feet are firmly planted in Alexandra Gardens.
Afterwards, I check my phone. A couple of new emails. I think about the absurdity of the auto-reply their senders would’ve received:
“Out of Office – Ziplining Across the Yarra”.
Firefly Zipline runs until December 28. It’s currently sold out, but sign up here to be first to find out if more tickets become available.