In the heat of the Rio de Janeiro sun, Santa Claus traded in the chimney for a more extreme arrival this Christmas, zip-lining down the city's iconic Sugarloaf Mountain.

Dangling from the wires which carry hundreds of view-hungry tourists in cable cars between the mountains each day, Santa zipped down towards the city on Thursday (December 18).

Watching the year-long-awaited bringer of gifts bundle down in his full furry red regalia, were crowds of parents and children, eager for Christmas to arrive.