The Hamakua Coast welcomed a new tourism venture on Thursday, as the “Zip Isle” Zip Line Adventure officially opened with a traditional Hawaiian blessing.
The newest attraction, located around the scenic valley land of Umauma, complements the already existing World Botanical Gardens and Waterfalls, operated by the same company.
The zip line features seven zip lines through the rainforest on long cables and one suspension bridge. Owner company WBGI says an additional 1,100 foot long zip line was recently added at the ride’s seventh stage, allowing riders to race and enjoy the excitement along side each other.
“With Zip Isle, we sought to create a new kind of world-class adventure that would complement the popular other attractions at the gardens,” said Ken Francik, chairman of the board for WBGI, in a press release. “We are excited to add this new attraction that fits so well with our waterfalls, magnificent flowers and plants, guided tours, arboretum, and fun family maze. Its success strengthens our acting as a repository for rare and endangered plant species from around the world.”
The first zip line rides have been underway since the attraction’s soft opening kicked things off this month. On Thursday, the first “official” Zip Isle ride was undertaken by Hamakua councilman Dominic Yagong, who overcame his fear of heights in order to make a last minute “substitution” for Mayor Billy Kenoi, who declined the ceremonial first trip.
The Zip Isle ride is located at about the 350-foot level at the base of Mauna Kea, about one-half-a-mile from the WBG’s Visitor Center, on a small portion of the 200 acre World Botanical Gardens. The zip lines begin shorter zip line rides through seven stages and with ranges in elevation from ground level to approximately 100-feet in heighth and all tours include safety training and special electric transport from the Gardens to the Zip Isle Zip Line Adventure starting point.
The World Botanical Gardens and Waterfalls also announced the new opening of Kamaee Falls to visitors.
Video by David Corrigan