Long time readers of Go Visit Hawaii know that I’m a bit of a chicken. I have an adventurous spirit that’s in conflict with a cautious chicken that’s constantly “bahking” away inside my head. For quite a while I’ve been wanting to zipline in Hawaii, but it wasn’t until this last trip to Kauai that I was able to find the time and nerve to try it. So, what did I think? It was exhilarating!
After check-in at the Princeville Ranch Adventures office off of Highway 56 in near Princeville, we took helmets and donned our harnesses assisted by our guides Cary and John. Then we hopped into the open-air vehicles (photo) for a five minute ride into the ranch. There were fifteen people on this tour, which I believe is the maximum number that they take.
When we approached the first zip line, a 170-foot “bunny” line, I got butterflies in my stomach and that internal chicken was obnoxiously loud. Our guides did a great job of giving us safety pointers and telling us what to expect. So, with excited reluctance, I climbed to the platform, allowed John to hook my harness to the line. I watched him pull on the harnesses and double check the connection for safety. I asked again what I needed to do and John kindly explained it all to me again. I said a prayer, took a deep breath, and ran off the platform. It was fun and I survived.
I really liked the fact that the guides were there to help control the speed. They did the braking for us, so that took one less worry and one less risk away. One of my friends tried zip lining in Belize where she had to do the braking which made it more complicated. I believe her husband didn’t brake at the right time and practically slammed into a tree. Ouch!
Slowly the chicken got quieter and quieter with each line. We were encouraged to scream as we zipped, if we wanted. I have to say, that was quite cathartic. Where else can you yell out at the top of your lungs like that? We were on 2,500 pristine acres of private land and the only “neighbors” were cows on the ranch.
We zipped across nine lines in total. The longest line is 740-feet long. There was enough variety that you couldn’t possibly get bored, plus the North Shore scenery was fantastic.
We also got to cross a suspension bridge that was 80-foot long. Our harnesses were also connected for safety while we traversed the wobbly bridge.
We were on the Zip n’ Dip tour which includes a dip into a chilly waterfall-fed swimming hole and a picnic lunch. (Note that you are required to bring your own drink.) At the swimming pool, you could float on inner tubes. If you aren’t interested in the swimming portion, you can opt for their Zip Express tour which allows you to zip on all the same lines as the Zip n’ Dip but doesn’t include lunch or swimming. The price for Zip n’ Dip is $145 plus tax, while the Zip Express costs $125 plus tax. Zip line tours are offered throughout the day.
We enjoyed our Zip n’ Dip tour with Princeville Ranch Adventures. We had actually reserved the Jungle Valley Adventure ($145 for adults and $89 for children) which includes kayaking, hiking and two ziplines. When we arrived to check-in, there was a mix up with our reservation and weren’t able to take the Jungle Valley Adventure. So we opted for the Zip n’ Dip instead. In hindsight, I think the Zip n’ Dip was the better choice. So, I think we got lucky.
The chicken in me is always safety conscious. I felt like the guides emphasized safety. They checked the equipment with each zip. Each guide is CPR and first aid certified.
What to know before you go:
- You must weigh between 80 and 280 pounds and be age 12 or older.
- You need to be in average or better physical condition to zip. You can’t zip if you’ve had recent injuries or surgeries. Expectant mothers can’t zip either.
- You shouldn’t have a fear of heights.
- You should wear sunscreen and mosquito repellant.
- Bring water, 16-oz per person is recommended.
- You should wear shorts that are mid-thigh length or longer. If you are going for the Zip n’ Dip tour, wear your swim suit and bring a towel.
- Bring a hat
- If you have long hair, bring something to tie your hair back.
- Be prepared for the possibility of rain. Tours will operate rain or shine. Actually, we experienced rain on our tour. We were wearing quick drying clothes.
Here’s a video that we took on the tour. The first part shows me zipping to the end of a platform. The second part shows Andy taking the camera with him while he’s zipping. Notice his Tarzan yell.