Christchurch Opens The Longest Chairlift in New Zealand

This week has seen the Christchurch Adventure Park commence the installation of the towers for the longest chairlift in New Zealand. The chair is designed and manufactured by Doppelmayr, with manufacture taking place in Austria and the component parts shipped to New Zealand ready for installation. The chair lift runs 1.8km from the Adventure Park village in Worsleys Valley up through the Cashmere Forest to the very top of the Port Hills.

The high speed chairlift will transport up to 1200 visitors and their bikes per hour to the top of the Port Hills where visitors will be able to connect to the Crater Rim walking tracks, the parks mountain bike tracks and a custom built dual 4 leg zip line tour.

Select Evolution New Zealand have been the developer of the Christchurch Adventure Park and their New Zealand Director Darron Charity says the chairlift has been the most technically challenging part of the parks development. “The quantity of civil engineering and precision that has been involved in the design and construction of the chairlift is something else. Not only have we had to navigate the power lines we are building on a wide variety of ground conditions from clay to rock and everything in between.”

"We have had to develop new access tracks within the forest so that we can get equipment to the towers. We have flown in over 195 cubic metres of concrete by helicopter during the winter as the terrain simply wasn’t able to accommodate the concrete trucks” says Charity.

The foundations for the chairlift which comprises of a station at the top and bottom of the Forest and 14 towers that run the length of the valley contain over 33 tonnes of steel and 400 cubic metres of concrete. There is 75 cubic metres of concrete alone in the base station that sits on a site the equivalent size of a single garage footprint. All 14 towers have been earthed which has seen excavation go as far down as 4 meters.

Karl Randall Project Manager for Doppelmayr New Zealand is delighted to bring this world first to New Zealand. “This chairlift is a world first for Doppelmayr, we are delighted to have been able to bring new developments to Christchurch.  This chairlift will have unique features including a new bike carrier specifically designed for this project. The bike carrier looks simple but a lot of design work has gone into this to ensure that it was tested for different variations of wheel sizes, bike design and most importantly loading and unloading. It has been a co-ordinated approach to design, involving specialists both here on the ground, Australia and in Europe.”

“This project from start to finish has been an exciting challenge. Not only have we designed a world first we have had challenges of surveying within a forested area, terrain, weather and time constrains and on top of it technical details such as the installation between the base station and tower one supports only having a 5mm margin for error. So we have had to get it right. I’ve had a few sleepless nights but seeing it all come to fruitition has been well worth it“ says Randall.

The chairlift is an integral part of the Stage One development which will also see the construction of the Adventure Park village which will house the ticketing office, bike rental and storage as well as a café seating over 200 people, and a world class 4 stage Zip Line tour.

The Christchurch Adventure Park remains on track to be officially opened in December 2016.