ZIPLINE ADVENTURE AT KUALOA RANCH, OAHU
Apr 5, 2016
An amazing sunrise cruise along the east coast of Oahu followed by a morning of zip lining through Jurassic Park.
TEXT BY JACKSON GROVES // IMAGES BY JACKSON GROVES & JESSICA BLACKMUN
Video and Photos taken using GoPro
OUR JOURNEY TO KUALOA RANCH
The sky was dark and the roads were empty as we were headed out on a 1.5 hour moped adventure along the East Coast towards Kualoa Ranch. We were booked in for the 8:30 am Zipline adventure at the historic ranch in Kaaawa Valley.
Riding a moped in the dark through imposing mountains was an eerie experience, especially when accompanied by the crashing of the waves threatening from below. The sky on east side of Oahu is blanketed with millions of stars on a clear night. We stopped at Makapu’u Lookout for a short rest and to take the opportunity for a quick stargaze.
As we continued on our way through Kaneohe, the sun crept over the horizon and the sky was painted a vibrant orange The sunrise exploded across the sky as we pulled into the parking lot of the ranch, exhibiting a striking red which blanketed the sky and made sure our day was off to an amazing start, despite having numb butts from driving on the mopeds for so long.
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Kualoa Ranch is a busy hub of tourism activity and it definitely has an authentic farm smell. They run tours through the Kaaawa Valley on horses, quad bikes and buses. Kaaawa Valley is also a movie hotspot, having been used as the set for Jurassic Park but it has also been featured in many other films such as Jumanji, Karate Kid, Pearl Harbor, Fifty First Dates and Hunger Games.
TIME TO ZIPLINE AT KUALOA RANCH
Our safari-style tour bus picked us up and we rumbled up towards Kaaawa Valley while the driver pointed out historic agricultural and military sites along the way beginning the 2.5 hour tour.
A quick run-down of the safety gear, a short stroll up a hill and before we knew it we were standing on the platform for zip line number one. You fly down the line in pairs on separate wires. The instructor asked who would volunteer to go first. Jessie volunteered, which meant that she volunteered me too.
“Hold on and don’t swing your arms.”
Those were the last words I heard before we leapt away from the platform and off we went, zipping above dinosaur territory. A pretty cool feeling, especially in amongst such mind-blowing scenery.
WHAT TO EXPECT
For those who have bungee jumped or been sky diving, it won’t blow your socks off. It is a short scenic float through amazing surroundings, slow enough to allow you to take in where you are, send a snapchat, or facetime with your family back home! This is why it is a great activity for a family or a group of friends it is a fun day for the thrill-seeker and the non-adventurer of the group.
The shortest line is 200 feet and the longest line is a quarter of a mile. On the longest line we did a ”coconut”, which is essentially tucking into a ball and going as fast as possible. The walk between each zip line is very short although two mini-suspension bridges kept us on our toes.
Each zip line has a culturally significant name and before our take-off the instructors tell a local story, teach a tradition or give a short lesson about native plants.
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Our instructors were really relaxed and took the time to get to get to know all the members of our group. Despite the chilled environment they knew what they were doing and were serious with the equipment at the appropriate times making us feel pretty safe throughout the day.
There were a couple of cameras along the course but the quality of photos wasn’t amazing. We took our GoPro and people even used their iPhone on the zip line, which I advise doing as you will get some cool close-up video and photos without having to pay extra.
This region of Oahu is still worth seeing even if you don’t want to pay for the tour or spend the whole day at Kualoa Ranch. Mountains looming on all sides, fog brushing their peaks, you are surrounded by lush green as far as the eyes can see. It actually feels like you are standing in Jurassic Park, looking around the corner for a dinosaur.
HOW TO GET THERE
If you aren’t trying to be a crazy moped duo like us, Kualoa Ranch offers a roundtrip shuttle service from Waikiki for $15 which is a decent deal. We began our drive back and our early morning began to get the best of us. Nothing a little nap on the sand at Waimanalo Beach didn’t fix!