Bald Hill, Stanwell Park overlooks Wollongong beaches and the Grand Pacific Drive. I went there with a few friends on a road trip exploring natures’ adventures. A popular place for hang gliders to take off with winds from the southeast. A secondary location further south in Wollongong at Hill 60 if the winds are from the northeast.
Hang Glide Oz offer tandem (or instruction flight) that last for around 30 minutes, during which the passenger (that’s me) is able to have a go at flying the glider – all under the strict supervision from Tony Armstrong. What an exhilarating ride, soaring through the sky with a magnificent birds-eye view of the Grand Pacific Drive, the coastal escarpment and the Royal National Park. With winds speeds from 12-25 knots is key to a great glide.
Your instructor will assist through all the red-tape, briefing and safety harness check prior to take off. Taking off was different to what I expected, as I thought we would have to do a running jump. “Was I wrong”, it is simply taking that first step off the cliff, “a leap of faith”, holding on and enjoy the uplift exhilaration of the wind, carrying you up. Amazing!
We are now high above the trees, the people below growing smaller and I can see across the ocean, the Grand Pacific Drive and the Royal National Park scenery beyond. It feels a little unnatural to be holding onto Tony with my body suspended by a sling attached to the glider. I am a human kite. Tony explains to me how the glider works, shows me how to turn and we talk about how long he has been hang gliding. I am comfortable, oddly not at all scared, just peacefully enjoying the incredible views.
I feel weightless as we spend some time taking some turns and going faster as we descend on a dive and pull the glider up.
The experience left me with a true sense of adventure, and I made some friends along the way. I enjoyed getting to know Tony and the hang gliders I met at Hang Glide Oz, everyone involved there has a real passion for the sport that is truly contagious. It was definitely an experience that I will remember for a long time and one of Wollongong’s favourite things to do.
It’s an empowering feeling to push back fear, something that makes you feel like you can do anything. That’s something that you would love to experience.
Meet the team
Since 1987 HangglideOz has introduced more thousands of students and tandem passengers to the sport of hang gliding, operating from the Stanwell Park and Wollongong sites. They are Australia’s most experienced and professional instructional and tandem hang gliding flight centre, and are open seven days a week – weather permitting.
Tony Armstrong, Chief Flying Instructor is one of the most experienced instructors in the country with 33+ years experience. Ex Australian hang gliding freestyle champion and has compete in national and international events.
Mark Doherty, has flown hang gliders for many years in Australia and Europe and particularly enjoys cross country flying in alpine areas. He is also a keen” dune gooner” and spends many hours flying coastal sites.
Chris Clements, an integral member of the team, is a fully endorsed flight experience hang gliding instructor, as well as a experienced paraglider pilot. He enjoys the challenges of flying coastal sites and has flown more than 30 sites from Sydney’s northern beaches down to Merrimbula.
Tandem hang gliding flights cost:
$220 mid week or $245 weekends
HD photos cost $45 – $75 HD photo packages
$125 for flight videos
Hang Glide Oz