Visitors to Port Stephens could be experiencing a thrill of a different kind with plans to operate a glass bottom cable car skyride to the summit of Tomaree Head.
A business delegation, known as Port Stephens Skywire, is proposing to invest millions of dollars into the venture, allowing locals and visitors to experience the natural beauty of Port Stephens like never seen before.
The purpose built ropeway, to comprise eight glass bottom cabins, each with a capacity to carry six people up and down the 161m high summit, is expected to draw tourists worldwide.
Skywire investor Michael Mace said the proposal had the support of the Tomaree Business Chamber, Port Stephens Council and Destination Port Stephens.
He said that all relevant state ministers and shadow ministers had also been made aware of the proposal.
Mr Mace acknowledged that access to the proposed Shoal Bay Road entrance would need to be upgraded and the number of carparking spaces greatly increased.
He said that discussions were ongoing with the council to have these issues attended to.
"It is proposed for the ropeway to begin at the base of Tomaree Head, close to Shoal Bay Road, for ease of access. The current road infrastructure is unsuitable for ease of use for a large number of tourists and would require significant upgrade," he said.
"The current number of car spaces would also require attention, as would the introduction of a bus turning circle. Street lighting would need to be upgraded, as would appropriate signage. No trees will be removed in the process."
Mr Mace said the delegation would be seeking to utilise the incredible views of Port Stephens in a new and unique way, seeking to increase tourist numbers, create greater relationships between businesses, and make Port Stephens a destination of choice for all ages.
"The depth of our national parks, harbour and beaches often goes under-appreciated. This will allow everyone to access to the 161m high summit, not just the select group who can manage the climb."
The proposal also calls for a glass viewing platform, complete with safety guards, to be erected at the summit of Tomaree Head.
"It will feature a large viewing deck, as well as the provision for a tourist shop and leisure activities, such as bungee jumping," Mr Mace said.
"It could also feature historical information, created in collaboration with Port Stephens Council, the Local Aboriginal Land Council, NSW Parks and Wildlife and various other stakeholders, creating a community-based approach."
Mr Mace said that efforts to source an Australian supplier went unrewarded, so the Chinese-based Beijing Goodyou Ropeway Engineering Company Limited had been contracted to design, manufacture and install the ropeway.
"They are the largest ropeway manufacturer in China, and have built over 200 such structures and exported around the world."
He said that the attraction would operate on a daily basis throughout the year, with additional hours during peak tourism periods.
"We have a strong management team already appointed to steer the project and we expect the skywire to be operational within four months of receiving approval."
Peter Clough, spokesperson for the Tomaree Business Chamber, said there was general support for the installation of a skywire-style development as it would provide "an additional opportunity to access the Tomaree Headland peak where presently accessibility is limited to those that have good mobility and fitness".
"Our support is tempered by the need to ensure any such development would require substantially increased parking and public amenities," Mr Clough said.
The business proposal includes letters of support from Port Stephens mayor Ryan Palmer and Destination Port Stephens. A launch of the Skywire was expected to go ahead on Wednesday, August 14.