Ziplining With Zip Isle

World Botanical Gardens and Waterfalls to open Zip Isle, the Big Island’s upcoming zipline attraction

By: By Marty Wentzel

Ziplining With Zip Isle // (c) 2009

Future site of Zip Isle

Big Island visitors will soon be able to soar through a rainforest canopy thanks to a zipline adventure, which is currently under construction on the island’s east side. Dubbed Zip Isle, the new attraction is scheduled to open in mid-November on a small portion of the 275-acre World Botanical Gardens and Waterfalls (WBGW), located 16 miles north of Hilo.

Comprised of five zip lines and one suspension bridge, Zip Isle begins with shorter rides of 150 to 450 feet and ends with a line extending 1,500 feet. The platforms and suspension bridges linking the zip lines reach as high as 100 feet.

“Along with safe excitement, our top priority for Zip Isle is to be an environmental leader on the Big Island,” said WBGW garden director Lanny Neel. “As a botanical garden and repository for endangered plant species, the environment is extremely important to all of us. We carefully chose a zip line construction method using utility poles to ensure preservation of the forest. This way, not only will our guests will not only enjoy the adventure ride of a lifetime, they will also experience a beautiful environmental classroom with all the magnificent beauty that Hawaii offers.”

With the addition of Zip Isle, WBGW will become a complete family experience in one location, said spokesman Ken Francik. Other WBGW features include Umauma Falls; Hawaii’s second-largest maze; 5,000 species of flowers and plants; a ten-acre arboretum; guided tours and lunch with a horticultural expert; and self-guided tours on easy, level trails through a natural rainforest.

Zip Isle is set at the 1,300 foot level at the base of Mauna Kea volcano, one-half mile from the WBGW’s visitor center. The total adventure takes a little over two hours.

Admission is $87 per person. The rate includes safety training and eco-friendly electric transport from the gardens to the start of the Zip Isle course.

Zip Isle