Tahune Airwalk, a short day trip from Hobart in Tasmania, provided us with one of our best travel days ever. It was so liberating being a part of nature and the cable hang-gliding experience gave BJ the ride of his life.
The drive to the Tahune Airwalk is worth mentioning as much as our experience at the attraction. At first the drive out of Hobart didn’t seem all that remarkable until we hit the Huon Trail.
I could then see what the hype was about. We drove alongside the most beautiful bays. We stopped at one to take a photo. We were the only people there until we heard a splashing sound. There in the water was a seal doing its laps with the same regimented determination you may see of an Olympic swimmer doing their training.
The only sound breaking the peace was the seal’s exhalation of breath. We continued on the trail and we were amazed at how once again Tasmania’s scenery wowed us. One moment green pastures with cows grazing, the next stunningly blue bays with sailing boats sitting on the calm water and then as we headed up the mountain we were greeted with tree ferns and lush landscape.
On arrival at the Tahune Airwalk Visitor Centre we chatted to the staff about our options for the day. We decided it would be best to do the Eagle hang glider experience first, in the hope it wasn’t busy. We thought this would allow BJ plenty of time to get ready for the ‘flight’ and to decide if he was comfortable enough to give it a go. The staff were fantastic and suggested they transfer us in an off road buggy to to the Eagle hang glider. They lifted the wheelchair into the buggy and as there was only enough room for the driver and the rest of the family, I walked. It was actually extremely peaceful and gave me time to appreciate the ferns, moss and trees surrounding me.
It was only a short trip down to the hang gliding and it is possible to walk with a wheelchair but it isn’t paved. It is a mixture of dirt road, a few tree roots to negotiate and a few inclines. I imagine an electric wheelchair would find it easy going.
We decided it was best for Hubby to go first (the sacrificial lamb) to show BJ what it was all about and what was involved, if he decided to go ahead. Hubby loved it and it did look awesome, even to me, a usually stay-away-from-the edge type of gal.
After watching Hubby, BJ was really keen and it was his turn to be harnessed up.
The only time BJ showed hesitation was when he had to sit down on the ground in the harness. It felt quite unnatural sitting in a large kind of harness backpack on the ground.
There wasn’t much time for BJ’s hesitation as he was quickly pulled backwards on the cable. He had the largest smile on his face and I felt relieved and excited for him to be having such a liberating experience. When the ascent finished there were a few minutes where he was just hanging (50 metres or 165 feet above the Huon River), waiting to come back and he looked a bit worried at not moving. Once he was hurtling back towards us at 40km per hour (about 25 mph) he could be heard squealing with delight and he had a cheshire cat smile.
The experience was like nothing else he has ever done before, so we were all thoroughly ‘high’ with excitement after it.
AJ decided it wasn’t for her but I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a go. I’m a squealer, so I broke the peace and serenity of the forest for the short time I was doing the ride. I absolutely loved the adrenaline rush and as I mentioned before, I’m not an overly adventurous person in that regard.
I highly recommend this experience.
Next stop on our agenda was Tahune AirWalk. The views of the forest canopy and the Huon and Picton Rivers from the canter lever make for a spectacular photo opportunity. The air is crisp and fresh as the area is surrounded by 1.6 million hectares of World Heritage Listed forest. This is Tasmania showing off its beauty at its best.
The AirWalk was longer than we had anticipated and the kids particularly liked the wishing tree. It is a tree stump which has become like a wishing well. People throw coins at it with the aim of landing them on the stump itself. This is no easy task given that it is a hard surface and small compared to the surrounding area, where most of our coins seemed to land. I am not sure how much we spent before Hubby finally landed a coin on the stump. Fortunately, all money raised goes to the conservation of Raptors and the rehabilitation of injured Raptors.
The AirWalk is made accessible to those with a wheelchair by staff organising vehicle access to a parking space closer to the walk. There is one disabled parking space close to the start of the walk which avoids the stairs.
HUON PINE WALK
I absolutely loved this trail. It is so nice to get among the trees and let nature envelope you. It is something we always took for granted before a wheelchair became part of our family life. We walked through the rainforest on a mixture of boardwalks and track. Once the track leaves the side of the river there are some stairs. We managed to bump BJ’s wheelchair down the few stairs and did the loop. For those self-propelling or unable to do this it is very easy to turn around and return via the same boardwalk.
After enjoying the great outdoors we had worked up quite an appetite and had lunch in the cafe. Sitting outside we could enjoy more of the views of the forest and the sound of the river running nearby.
The gift shop, I would realise later, had local goods at a very reasonable price. I bought a few things there but would have solved a few more gifts for family in their gift shop had I known my prices.
The Visitor Centre has a good stand-alone disabled toilet facility.
There is designated disabled parking spaces at the Visitor Centre and the cafe is wheelchair accessible.
We had a wonderful experience and loved the fact that it was an easy day trip from Hobart which was our base for five nights.
We would like to thank Tahune AirWalk for providing our Eagle hang glider experiences and entry for the day so we could review their wonderful facilities. As always, my joy and exuberance in this blog is purely as a result of an awesome experience and a truly exciting one for BJ.
If you would like to find out more information or plan your visit to Tahune AirWalk head to their website.
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