Zip Lining on Hawaii’s Big Island

There are very few things in life that have the ability to captivate just about anyone from the often fearless, little four year-old to the brave but wiser adult and everyone who falls somewhere in between. Zip lining in Hawaii IS one of those things. A fantastic family adventure on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Umauma Falls & ZipLine Experience is entertaining, exhilarating and memorable, to say the least. Pinky swear!

Getting There
Just a short distance from the Big Island’s most popular tourist lodging areas and the cruise ship port — under 30 minutes from Hilo and less than two hours from the Waikoloa resort area — the superbly scenic and pleasant drive to the town of Hakalau and Umauma Falls only adds to the beauty of the entire experience.

If you’re coming from the Waikoloa area, like my family who stayed at Hilton Waikoloa Village, your journey will lead you through a few small towns, like Waimea — home to the Hawaiian Style Café, an eatery known around the island for tasty and HUGE meals — in addition to a multitude of breathtaking terrain that is truly awe-inspiring.

From rugged, volcanic covered lands to rolling hills, grassy pastures and even tropical paradise complete with lush foliage, steep mountain cliffs, and picturesque ocean views, it is a breath of fresh air, literally, around every turn. Taking in all the natural beauty (and a super yummy breakfast) nurtured our spirits and had us pumped and excited for the fun that was yet to come!

The Experience
Let me just say that from the very first moment we set foot on this beautiful, expansive property we were delighted. We were delighted with the surroundings (both landscaped and natural), delighted with the friendly staff and delighted with all that the Umauma Falls & ZipLine Experience had to offer.

We started at the Visitor’s Center which has a quaint gift shop, a deli/snack bar, and picnic tables on the back lanai where you can enjoy your treats overlooking the river. Exploring the grounds, we discovered spectacular scenic waterfall viewing points, perfectly manicured tropical gardens — including the garden of peace where you “bury” the enemies of all that keeps you from your full-potential, like hatred, fear and worry — and a tree whose leaves welcome the signature of its visitors. This place, as they promise, is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

John and Mary Ellen sitting in a tree...
John and Mary Ellen sitting in a tree…

My family participated in the Zip & Dip Experience (although there are many experiences to choose from) which let us swim, eat and zip. Honestly, that’s a ridiculous understatement though. Not only did we swim, kayak and explore a natural plunge pool at the base of a double waterfall, we also got to do a bit of cliff jumping too. And, the cliff was over 50 feet tall! Just kidding. It was about 12 feet tall but when you looked over the edge, IT FELT LIKE 50 FEET! The adrenalin rush from leaping combined with that brisk, chilly water was a loop-de-loop of excitement that was completely invigorating for each of us! And, I almost forgot to mention that this is also the exact spot where the ABC Season 5 Bachelorette, Jillian Harris was filmed swimming with one of her many suitors. Fancy!

Swimming in Umauma Falls
Are you sure it’s not a 50 ft. jump?

After the swim we had a delicious picnic lunch and then it was time to try zip lining.  And, boy did we zip…Right-side up, upside-down (by our choice, of course), side-by-side (double lines) and solo.

Ziplining in Hawaii - Upside-down!
Zip lining in Hawaii – Yep…That’s me. Upside-down!

All-in-all we conquered a gigantic suspension-bridge (on foot) and nine zip lines, that together covered over two miles of some of Hawaii’s most spectacular, natural landscape. Waterfalls included! It was amazing and, coming from someone who is a bit afraid of heights, that’s an amazing statement. Although we found the starting platforms to be a bit “scary” (because you are thinking “Am I really going to step off of this?”), the experienced guides were awesome at keeping it positive, making you laugh and cheering you on.

Zipling in Hawaii - Getting pumped-up before the leap!
Getting pumped-up before the leap!

Once you take the leap, you actually feel snuggled by the support of the harness around your body and that assurance allowed us to take in all the beauty and fun of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The After-Glow
Overall, zip lining in Hawaii was an unforgettable experience that earned two thumbs up from everyone in my family. It offered excitement, apprehension, amusement, fear, elation, gratification, courage and even accomplishment, too. In a nutshell, it is dynamic and sure to fill up your “mojo” reserves.

It’s also especially memorable to experience this with your family, too. That way, when you have one of those days that you need to be reminded of just how brave and awesome you really are, this experience can give the encourager plenty of ammunition.

Priceless – On all counts!

Know Before You Go

  • Hawaii consists of eight main islands: Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe, and The Big Island.
  • Hawaii has its own time zone (Hawaiian Standard Time). This time zone is 2 hours behind Pacific Standard Time. Hawaii also doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time!
  • It is considered rude to refuse to wear a Lei if someone offers it.

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Mary Ellen M. Are you interested in traveling to ? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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