International investment in adventure tourism operation
Tuesday 3 December 2013
International investment in adventure tourism operation for Rotorua’s Redwoods forest
A German couple have been so taken by Rotorua that they are about to start building an adventure tourism operation in the city’s Redwoods forest, including a canopy walk, treewalk and sleeping pods.
Redwoods Outdoor Adventure Activities is currently applying for resource consent, and hope to get construction of their treewalk feature underway in February and completed by May/June 2014. The canopy walk and sleeping pod components of the new operation are to be developed later.
Rotorua District Council’s Tokorangi Forest manager, Julianne Wilkinson, said the council licenced the operation last year and would be working closely with the operator to ensure disruption to forest users is minimised, and branding complements the existing Redwoods brand.
“Redwoods Outdoor Adventure Activities director Alexander Schmid and his wife Andrea owned and operated a similar tree park adventure operation in Germany for seven years,” said Mrs Wilkinson. “They fell in love with New Zealand, particularly Rotorua, and it’s their wish to stay here and make a valuable contribution to the local economy and growth of our district.
“The council is very conscious of the attachment locals have to The Redwoods. So we wanted to ensure that in offering visitors and residents a new way of experiencing the forest we didn’t compromise the very special nature of the environment. We’re committed to protecting The Redwoods’ unique characteristics while ensuring free public access remains available to our community and visitors.
“Alex and Andrea have a genuine connection to the forest and an appreciation of its natural and spiritual aspects. They’ve demonstrated the sort of values and reverence that Maori have for Tane Mahuta. That respect and their conservation ethic were important factors in the proposal being approved by the Maori land owners and the Department of Conservation as managers of the Redwoods conservation covenant.”
Mr Schmid said he was looking for local investment partners to join him and wanted to offer employment to locals with outdoor adventure qualifications.
“Our operation is guided by a deep seated care for the surroundings in which we live and work. We look forward to creating a truly magical experience that will give our guests a new appreciation for the special wonders of The Redwoods.
“Our tree and canopy walks will heighten visitors’ experience of the essence of The Redwoods - the peace, the silence, and the majesty of the trees. At the same time the tree and canopy walks will respect and blend in with the natural environment rather than compete with or detract from it.”
Mrs Wilkinson said the location of the new venture is between Rifle Range Rd and the main Redwoods car park, so it will not impact on the Redwood Memorial Grove. Because the activity is carried out at height it was not expected to affect any existing walkways other than some short diversions during the construction phase.
A number of adventure activities in Tokorangi Forest were considered through a process in March 2012 when requests for proposals were called for.