Is The Matagarup Bridge Zipline Safe?


With the Matagarup Zipline opening nearly a year after first projected, you might have reservations about buying a ticket. After all why did it take so long to complete? What could have caused such delays? In other words, is it safe to use?

Now, SAFEZIPLINE (that's us) did not contribute to the original construction. However, we played a big part in the testing, fine tuning and improvements for the final product.

This involvement has given us initimate knowledge of its systems and a confidence to assure the public. Yes, we believe the Matagarup Bridge Zipline is structurally safe. Remember, our reputation is on the line here!

Of course, this is easy to claim. But in case you are still not convinced, here are some of the reasons why.

These are things that could go wrong and the measures implemented to make sure they don't. We are happy to say that this zipline was completed to comply with Australian Standard 2316.

What happens if the cable snaps?

Both zipline cables are 19mm steel wire rope. It's the same type of cable used to suspend the walkway under the bridge itself. They can't break with anything under 92 tonne of force. Unless you binged continuously on Maccas for 10 years I doubt you weigh anything near that much.

A more possible case is one of the anchor pins gives way. If that happens both ends are backed up with secondary anchors. These are designed to "catch" the cable in case it comes loose.

Stainless steel chains
Stainless steel back-up chains with 32 tonne breaking load each!

Sure it's safe now. What about next year or later?

Running a public zipline is not a set-and-forget affair. Law requires it to be inspected by an Advanced Rigger or Engineer every 6 months. This means lowering someone slowly down the lines, physically touching every inch of the cables.

Any nicks in the wire from damaged trolleys, erratic drones or suicidal seagulls will be discovered long before they become serious issues. Plus, the Department of Main Roads have tasked us to inspect it every 3 months during the first year of operations. That's way more than the minumum required by regulations.

Could I be injured by using it?

By reaching speeds over 60kmh I can see why this might be a worry. The descent wouldn't kill you but a sudden stop at the end might. Fortunately that can never happen.

Zipstop magnetic brake
Zipline magnetic brake system

The zipline has a magnetic breaking system designed to slow you down gradually. Pulleys engage a strap that gets more resistance the further it plays out. Completing a zipline descent will make you feel like James Bond after a hair raising stunt. Just adjust your tie and walk away. Or flick your ponytail back as the case may be.

Getting the brakes right was one of the many things that took time. It's a credit to management that they want to make the experience available to as many people as possible. That includes young children of 30kg right up to 120kg adults. This range is much more than most ziplines.

Obviously slowing a light child is easier than a heavy adult. We didn't want anyone left dangling over the water or slamming into barriers. A perfect descent at one extreme made it a challenge at the other. The adjustments seemed to take forever but we got there.

OK, but what if the braking system fails?

I hear you. Well, the braking system has its own backup brakes. If something goes boing or the decelleration is too fast a sequence of springs are engaged to finish the job.

Zipline braking springs.jpg
Heavy duty springs back up the magnetic brakes
Zipline crash cushion
Crash cusion to further soften a potential impact

Springs may seem low tech but they're very reliable. And, if you haven't slowed to a complete stop by then there are some comfy crash cushions. You can see them in the photos looking like blue boxing bags. There's really no need to worry.

Everything is in place to guarantee you that "magic moment"

I could go on in minute detail covering every component. But you get the point. Every system that supports life is backed up by at least one other system.

Using the Matagarup Bridge Zipline is safe. Plus it's regularly inspected (by us) as required by law.

Add it to your bucket list.

Book a ride on the Matagarup Bridge Zipline.