Over 30,000 hectares of NSW state forests, including the iconic Gardens of Stone will be transformed into a new eco-tourism and adventure destination on the edge of the Blue Mountains near Lithgow.
The centrepiece of the investment will be the Lost City Adventure Experience, an iconic project, that will include Australia’s longest zipline and a spectacular elevated canyon walk.
It will also feature NSW’s first Via Ferrata rock-climbing opportunity, a protected climbing route employing steel cables, rungs or ladders, fixed to the rock that climbers can safely attach to.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government was investing $50 million to transform the area, which will be added to the national parks estate, into an eco-tourism and eco-adventure destination generating jobs and economic growth for the entire region.
“We’re investing record amounts in our national parks to protect our natural gems while also generating new industries in our regions to support jobs and creating new iconic experiences so more people can enjoy our natural wonders,” Mr Perrottet said.
“This new set of reserves will improve access to this spectacular region attracting domestic and international tourists with upgraded lookouts, walking trails, a 4WD circuit and a world class 35km mountain bike network.”
Deputy Premier Paul Toole said this will be a massive boost for Lithgow’s local economy, drawing an estimated 200,000-plus extra visitors to the region every year.
“This investment will deliver an iconic tourism and adventuring experience right on Sydney’s doorstep and represents one of the State’s largest ever investments in a regional ecotourism project,” Mr Toole said.
“We expect this new set of reserves to create at least another 190 jobs for the Lithgow region, not to mention the millions of tourism dollars that will flow into the local economy.”
Treasurer and Environment Minister Matt Kean said the new reserve will also feature one of the world’s great long-distance walks extending from the Wollemi to the Gardens of Stone.
“This new set of reserves will rival the Three Sisters in Katoomba as the destination for visitors and tourists to the mountains west of Sydney,” Mr Kean said.
“It will also provide a much-needed lasting legacy for the environment, protecting and providing habitat for numerous threatened and endangered species for future generations.”