Everything Guests Want to Know
At Botanical World Adventures, our Zip Isle ziplines run above and through the rainforest canopy, not just across open fields on towers. Fly above the Hanapueo Stream with its small waterfalls, beautiful pools, and flowering trees below. Zoom between rainforest trees almost close enough to touch. As you walk between zips, you can view exotic plants in our gardens and listen to botanical talks by our guides. At the end of your tour, you can visit all the areas in Botanical World Gardens – the Arboretum, the Maze, the Rainbow Walk, the Rainforest Trail, and beautiful Kamaee Falls.
Our zipline is perfect for guests young and old alike, limited only by weight. For people who have never zipped before, it is the safest possible zipline tour to start. But Zip Isle also appeals to experienced zippers who want beautiful tropical scenery with their zipline tour. And our night zips can be a real adventure!
The When & Where
- Where is Zip Isle?
Zip Isle is part of Botanical World Gardens and Waterfalls in Hakalau at the 16 mile marker on Highway 19 going from Hilo toward Waimea and Kona.
- How do I get there from Hilo?
Take Highway 19 toward Waimea and Kona. You will see a pedestrian overpass at the 15 mile marker, then along bridge over a gulch a short time later. At the top of the hill, just past the 16 mile marker, turn left at the paved Leopolino Road. Look for our signs on the left and the King Kamehameha sign on the right side of Highway 19 at the turn. In one block, turn right at the next paved road (Old Mamalahoa Highway) to reach Zip Isle, which is just one block farther.
- How do I get there from Kona or Waikoloa?
Take 19 (or 190) to Waimea and go toward Hilo on Highway 19. We are about 10 minutes beyond the Laupahoehoe Train Museum at mile marker 25. You will come to a bridge over the Umauma Gulch after the 17 mile marker. Look for our sign that will be on the hillside on the right side of the road just past the bridge. Slow down as you go up hill past the bridge as the right turn is partly hidden and easy to miss. Turn right at Leopolino Road, the first paved road past the bridge. In one block, turn right at the next paved road (Old Mamalahoa Highway) to reach Zip Isle, which is just one block farther.
- How do I get there from Volcano?
Take Highway 11 into Hilo. In Hilo the highway will become Highway 19. Take Highway 19 toward Waimea and Kona. You will see a pedestrian overpass at the 15 mile marker, then a long bridge over a gulch a short time later. At the top of the hill, just past the 16 mile marker, turn left at the paved Leopolino Road. Look for our signs on the left and the King Kamehameha sign on the right side of Highway 19 at the turn. In one block, turn right at the next paved road (Old Mamalahoa Highway) to reach Zip Isle, which is just one block farther.
- How do I get there from Keauhou or South Kona via South Point/Volcano?
Follow Highway 11 toward South Point and Volcano. Continue on Highway 11 into Hilo. In Hilo the highway will become Highway 19. Take Highway 19 toward Waimea and Kona. You will see a pedestrian overpass at the 15 mile marker, then a long bridge over a gulch a short time later. At the top of the hill, just past the 16 mile marker, turn left at the paved Leopolino Road. Look for our signs on the left and the King Kamehameha sign on the right side of Highway 19 at the turn. In one block, turn right at the next paved road (Old Mamalahoa Highway) to reach Zip Isle, which is just one block farther.
- How long does it take to drive to Zip Isle?
From Hilo, it usually takes less than half an hour unless there is heavy traffic. From Kona, using Highway 19 through Waimea, it takes 90 minutes to two hours.
- When is Zip Isle open?
We are open every day of the year from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- What times are the zipline tours?
We normally have tours scheduled for 9 :00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m., but sometimes run more often. We also offer special night zips, so be sure to ask. Times are subject to change. Check with our reservations agents at 808-963-5427 on the Big Island or 888-Zip-Isle (947-4753) toll free for times.
- What happens in the event of inclement weather?
Zipline tours run in light rains. If there are heavy rains, lightning, or strong winds, we may have to cancel a tour for safety. We will try to reschedule your tour at the earliest possible time.
What to Bring & Wear
- What clothing should I wear?
We require you to wear a shirt, pants or shorts, and closed-toe shoes. If you want to zip in a skirt, we may allow it, but please remember that there are people, including children, walking in the gardens below you on some of the zips. If you have a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, it helps ward off any bug bites. Bring a jacket if you think you might get cold and rain gear in wet weather.
Please remove any dangling jewelry that could get caught in the equipment, tie back long hair so the helmet will fit properly, and secure eyeglasses and sunglasses with a retainer if you have one. If you have protruding body piercings that might get caught on a harness, please remove or tape them over.
- Can I wear a hat?
Yes, if it will fit securely under your helmet.
- What if I don't have the proper clothing?
We have shoes to rent and T-shirts and socks for sale. You’re on your own for pants though!
- Should I wear bug spray?
Definitely wear bug spray if you do not have long pants and a long sleeve shirt. We do have packets of bug spray for sale. Bug spray and suntan lotion must be applied at least 30 minutes before you zip to avoid soiling the equipment.
- What equipment will I wear on the zipline?
You must wear one of our helmets, which are adjustable to all head sizes, and an adjustable harness buckled around each leg and your waist.
- What can I bring?
It is best to leave valuables in our secured area before you leave as things can fall from your pockets and cannot be recovered from the rainforest. We do supply fanny packs at no additional charge if you want to zip up your valuables and carry them with you. No survey devices are allowed.
- Can I take photos and videos?
We invite you to bring your camera or video recorder, but be sure to secure them to your wrist. Our guides will help you pose if requested. Disposable cameras are available for purchase at our Visitor Center. We often have our photographer on your tour, so ask your guides about photos available for purchase at the visitor center.
- What kind of weather can I expect?
Weather can be unpredictable in Hawaii, but the gardens are open every day except in cases of severe weather. Umbrellas and rain gear are available in our guest services center. Please review up-to-date weather conditions to plan your trip.
The weather for Hakalau usually shows up raining. Even when weather forecasts say there may be a high percentage chance of rain, the rains fall at night 70% of the time. Although the weather widget puts our location in the Pacific Ocean, we are actually on the coast!
The Big Island climate is interesting. We have almost every climate zone that exists on earth here on the Big Island. There is a better chance of seeing a rainbow in Hakalau, because we get pineapple sprinkles on occasion. Seeing rainbows in Hawaii is a special experience; seeing them for the first time at Botanical World is magical.
Reservations & Refunds
- How can I book my zipline?
We recommend that you make reservations through our website, or by calling 808-963-5427 on the Big Island or 888-Zip-Isle (947-4753) toll free from anywhere in the United States. If you have not made reservations and we have room on a zipline tour, we will be happy to take you zipping.
- What is the cost?
The basic rate to ride seven zip lines including our dual racing zip lines and walk across our suspension bridge is $177.00 USD for both the day and night zips. We also offer special prices on a week’s admission to Kamaee Falls, the Rainbow Walk, the Maze, the Rainforest Trail, and the Arboretum at Botanical World Gardens.
- What is your refund policy?
You can cancel your reservation for one to four persons at least 24 hours in advance for a full refund. Groups of five or more require 48-hour advance notice for cancellation.
- Do you have any specials?
Yes! We commonly offer discounts for our garden members, active military personnel, kama’aina, travel agents, and concierge staff. For these discounts, call our Customer Service (888-947-4753) or email us at [email protected].
- Garden members get free passes for their guests above a certain level. See our Membership Program here.
- Kama’aina get 20% or more off every day for gate fees.
- Active duty military personnel get kama’aina prices.
- Concierge staff and travel agents are encouraged to come visit our attractions and inform others about our facilities.
Who Can Zip?
- Do you have to be athletic to zip?
No, anyone who feels fit enough can do it. We have had guests with one arm, one leg, no arms, and severe muscular dystrophy. Since our guides do most of the work of hooking you up and stopping you at the other end, you can just sit back in your harness and look at the scenery as you ride if you want. Or you can twirl around or try to go as fast as you can. But you cannot hang upside down!
If you are pregnant or have back injuries or another medical condition, we suggest that you ask your doctor’s opinion before scheduling a zipline tour.
- How old do you have to be?
To date, we have had riders as young as 3 and as old as 90. For children under 10, a supervisor’s approval is required and the child must fit in the harness. Weight limits also apply. Participants under the age of 18 will need a parent or guardian to accompany the minor and sign their waiver form.
- What are the weight requirements?
You must weigh between 35 and 275 pounds. If you are close to those limits, you may be able to ride with a supervisor’s permission. Guests weighing under 70 pounds will be required to ride tandem and will only ride with supervisor approval.
- Are there any additional restrictions?
Individuals who appear to be impaired due to use of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed to participate and will forfeit their payment.
- How many zip rides do I get?
You ride a minimum of seven zip lines, including our dual racing zip line at the finish, and walk across one suspension bridge. If the tours are going fast and there are a limited number of guests, the guides may allow you to repeat a few of the zip lines. This is not guaranteed.
- Do you have any special zips?
Yes, we have a night zipline tour. This is very fun on a full moon. The tour will start at sunset, so check with our reservation agents if you are interested.
- How long are the ziplines?
The ziplines vary in length from 200 feet to 1100 feet, with shorter lines at the beginning to get you acclimated to the experience.
Zip 1: 300 feet
Zip 2: 250 feet
Zip 3: 250 feet
Zip 4: 200 feet
Zip 5: 300 feet
Zip 6: 450 feet
Zip 7: 1100 feet, dual racing lines
- How fast can I go?
You go 12-16 miles an hour on the first zip line, faster on the later zip lines. You can make yourself go faster by curling up in a ball or putting your legs out straight parallel to the ground if you want. Some zippers have managed to go 40 miles per hour on the dual racing zip.
- How long is the suspension bridge?
The suspension bridge is 150 feet long.
- Is anything else included?
Ask at the visitor center when checking in about the one-week offer that may be available.
- How can I be sure ziplining is safe?
We are accredited by the ANSI Accredited Standards Developers, the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) and Professional Ropes Course Association (PRCA) for meeting all the international standards for zipline operations and canopy tours. Our entire operation is inspected at least annually by independent inspectors to ensure we meet those standards. Our equipment and each of our ziplines is inspected every day, and on each zip, one of our guides crosses the line first.
- How many guides go on each trip?
At least two guides go with each group. Additional guides help at the bottom of the last dual racing zip so you can race side by side.
- How many people are on each tour?
Our normal tour is 12 people. We can accommodate a maximum of 24 guests, but additional guides are added for groups of 16 or more. If only one guest comes, we still do the tour. We have a ratio of at least one guide for every eight people during the day and one for every six at night.
- How do I stop?
All our zip lines use gravity braking, so you don’t have to do anything. Our guides will slow you down or stop you as needed. You can slow yourself down by extending one arm and your legs to the sides, but you must always hold the lanyard with one hand.
- How strong are the ziplines?
The cables have a strength of 26,000 pounds breaking strength and are the same as the ones used to stop jet planes on aircraft carriers. The harness has a strength of 7,000 pounds, and the lanyards will take 5,000 pounds.
- How far do I have to walk to the ziplines?
Our bus takes you to the top of the hill where the zip lines start. There is a total of about a quarter of a mile of walking, mostly along our rainforest trail, in short stretches between the ziplines. Our bus brings you back from the last zipline.
- How high do I have to climb to use the ziplines?
None of the ziplines require a climb up stairs to a tower. A few have a small platform with 1-3 wide levels to help you begin. All ziplines start on the ground at the edges of the ravine through which flows the Hanapueo Stream.
- What if I'm afraid of heights?
Most participants are surprised with the level of safety and comfort experienced during the ride after their first zip. Our entire zipline system is engineered for safety and employs a passive gravity braking system, which allows you an added level of assurance.
- What if I get scared after I see the first zip line?
Our bus driver will take you back to the entrance or you can walk along and watch the other riders. So far, no one has quit.
- What happens if I make a mistake and get stuck in the middle?
One of our guides will zip out and pull you in, but it happens rarely.
- What if I just want to watch other party members zip?
Our bus driver will take you to the top of the Rainforest Trail and you can walk downhill on one side of the ravine as they zip back and forth.
- Are refreshments available?
Zip Isle has water stations available while on the tour. Our Visitor Center has snacks, sandwiches, and beverages available for you to purchase. We also offer free bananas when ripe.
- Are souvenirs available?
Yes. We have our special Zip Isle Survivor T-shirts in a variety of sizes and colors. And photographs of your zip can be purchased in our Visitor Center.
- Is tipping allowed?
If you like the zip, feel free to tip!