Ziplining is something that I’ve always wanted to do. The thought of ziplining always seemed safer than skydiving, yet more adventurous than a controlled roller coaster ride. I recently had the chance to zipline for the very first time with my wife of just one week. It was actually Michelle’s idea to go ziplining and so if anything were to go horribly wrong, say an unforgettable wedgie at 600 feet, then I would place all blame on her.
Zipline tours aren’t the best of quality on Oahu. To seek the more adventurous lines you would have to travel to one of Oahu’s neighbor islands. Fortunately, I was on Maui to give a talk at the University of Hawaii Maui College. Michelle decided to fly in from Oahu and spend the weekend with me on the Valley Isle. The first thing on our list of things to do: ZIPLINING.
We settled on the Piiholo Ranch Zipline for one reason: the other zipline tours were sold out. Piiholo Ranch had a last minute opening for an 8:30am tour and so we snagged it. That turned out to be a good thing, considering that Piiholo Ranch offers a 5-line tour with the last line being the longest side-by-side line in Hawaii. What’s more romantic than ziplining side-by-side with the one you love? I’ll let you ponder that one.
The drive out to Piiholo Ranch was a long one. We were coming from The Ritz Cartlton in KapaluaÂ and so the travel time to Makawao, where Piiholo Ranch is located, was about 1.5 hours. I really didn’t mind it though, the drive to Makawao was a scenic one that constantly stimulated my visual sensory receptors.
Once at Piiholo Ranch, we checked in, got weighed, and signed our lives away. The staff was very friendly and helpful. I had brought along my GoPro HD HERO but didn’t have a helmet attachment. They graciously let me use a helmet with the GoPro attachment built-in. They also offered GoPro rentals, but unfortunately, the person with the GoPro’s did not show up in time for our 8:30am zipline appointment. One GoPro would have to be enough.
The tour starts off with basic instructions from the friendly zip staff. Local boy Chad (a University of Hawaii at Manoa graduate that now teaches at a Hawaiian immersion school on Maui) would follow us from line-to-line, strap us in and then send us zipping, while Caleb and Ryan would be part of the receiving crew that assisted us as we landed. The zip staff also teaches you three basic moves: the default arrow position (a leaned back position that allows you to zip with speed), a slow-down position (arms and legs spread out like an X), and the landing position (legs crossed with hands gripping the zip bar in preparation for landing).
The first line of the 5-line zip adventure is really a test line. It’s short and low, but it will still test your nerves. If you’re truly afraid of heights then this will surely be a challenge for you. For us, it was easy as pie. The excitement level increases as you move from line to line. The height off the ground will vary from a few hundred feet to up to 600 feet off the ground. The lines also vary from over 400 feet in length to up to half-a-mile. The one constant was that each and every line featured a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop featuring Maui’s rainforest, located northeast of Haleakala.
I had an incredibly fun time ziplining. It’s something that I would definitely do over again. It is a rainforest, so do expect some rain. The rain started to come down on us at around the third/fourth line and was most intense during the fifth and final zipline, which was also the longest and highest line. Nonetheless, sunshine or rain, the Piiholo Ranch Zipline Adventure Tour will provide you with a unique island experience like no other.
Piiholo Ranch Zipline
1156 Makawao Avenue
Makawao, HI 96768
Explorers: Coty Gonzales and Michelle Sagucio