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Take a stunning setting in the West Maui Mountains and add speed, safety and seasoned guides. The result? A tour with Kapalua Ziplines, which hits plenty of high notes during its lofty adventures.
Whether guests sign up for shorter or longer itineraries, each tour dazzles clients thanks to the natural surroundings. The course provides spectacular views of the northwest Maui accommodations of Kaanapali Beach Resort and Kapalua Resort, along with the beaches that hug them. Participants are treated to panoramas of the sparkling seas of Pailolo Channel and the islands of Molokai and Lanai. The zipline layout borders a 9,000-acre biological treasure called Puu Kukui Watershed Preserve, the largest private nature preserve in Hawaii and home to precious flora and fauna. Clients rise above hidden valleys, tree canopies and waterfalls.
“Some of our guests say that it’s life-changing to experience such a thrill in an extremely gorgeous environment,” said David DeMarco, director of sales and marketing for Kapalua Ziplines.
During my recent Kapalua Ziplines excursion, participants initially chatted only with their friends and family members while waiting for the tour to start. But by the end of the morning, cliques fell apart, and the group bonded. I chalk it up, in part, to our mutual sense of accomplishment. I also credit the guides, who skillfully orchestrated the conversation and elevated our spirits. Throughout the tour, our congenial leaders talked about all things Maui, from the setting, history and heritage to insider advice on activities to try and places to eat. Any pre-tour jitters were quickly replaced by laughter and camaraderie.
Gearing Up, Getting AirborneA 20-minute uphill van ride from the company’s headquarters at Kapalua Resort transported us to a scenic mountain outpost. Perched 1,400 feet above sea level, a 3,000-square-foot observation deck presented us with postcard-perfect views of land and sea. There, each of us geared up with helmets, harnesses, trolleys and pulleys — weighing up to 14 pounds — which became ours to carry during the adventure.Although five-and six-line tours are offered, I booked the seven-line option, which lasts 3.5 hours. I’m glad I did, because once I started flying, I didn’t want to come back down to Earth.Before any zipping, however, we encountered one of the tour’s major lures: a stroll along a 360-foot-long suspension bridge, the longest and tallest of its kind in Hawaii. Just 5 feet wide, it wiggled as we walked across it. What’s more, it stood 200 feet above a ravine. Still, each person on the tour willingly posed as our guides snapped commemorative photos.Next, we climbed into open-air ATVs that rumbled up rugged dirt roads to the summit of the course. Clients should know that the tour necessitates some hiking, including along several steep trails — but that’s a small price to pay for the aerial antics to follow.
Side-by-Side Soaring One of Kapalua Ziplines’ biggest selling points is that all of its runs are dual-line. Since many guests in our group traveled in pairs, they shot the breeze side-by-side as guides photographed the action. Clients careened down lines to the platform below, where previous zippers cheered their landing. Among the perks of the seven-line tour was a stop after the fifth run for energy bars and fresh-cut pineapple wedges. The longest line stretched a whopping 2,300 feet, making for a lollapalooza of a ride. As the expedition ended, we had zoomed a total of 9,750 feet — sometimes as fast as 40 mph.“We hope our guests will have an amazing and unforgettable experience,” DeMarco said. “We want them to have a great time and, at the same time, learn about Maui’s culture and geography.”It’s hard to imagine a more exciting northwest Maui pastime than Kapalua Ziplines’ seven-line tour. However, during the summer months, the company presents full moon tours, with a trio of runs under the celestial glow. That’s reason enough to return to Kapalua next June, July or August.Kapalua Ziplines’ year-round tours range from $180 to $210 per person; the full moon tour is $160.The DetailsKapalua Ziplines www.kapaluaziplines.com