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Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

Chicago, Illinois
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Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

We have a week jammed with activities coming up the second week of Feb. For 2 days of land activities, we're interested in doing zip lines and ATV tours. My impression is the better zip lines are in the North Kohala area (only because my research shows the landscape is more interesting up there). But due to time/travel constraints, we're interested in a zip line + ATV combo based out of Kona. This would make it really convenient for us.

Is my impression correct? Should we find the time to travel up to North Kohala (from Hilton Waikoloa) because the lines at N. Kohala would be better? And are the ATV tours better in the Waipi'o Valley? I realize it's probably as long a drive south as it is north, but many of our other activities are already in the south end.

Big Island, Hawaii
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1. Re: Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

Why would most of your activities be south of where you're staying at the Hilton? There's a lot to do around your hotel and most ocean sports should be based from there, other than the manta ray night dive/snorkel. Especially whale watching.

I frankly wouldn't go nuts with the paid tours. I've ziplined in several places and the BI zips are really mediocre. If you must, I would avoid the Hamakua ones like Akaka Falls for soil safety concerns and go with the North Kohala one from Hawaii Forest and Trail.

hawaii-forest.com/index.php/…9

I personally despise ATV tours...such a beautiful island and such sacred spots, and so much noise just ruins it IMO. I would hike into Waipio or horseback ride in if there are fitness issues.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

It seems most of the interesting sights we were recommended to see are south of us, like South Point, Pohue Bay, etc. But if you know the must see's up north, I'm all ears!

Personally, zip lines don't do anything for me. If I were there alone, I'd dive everyday. But I need activities for my wife and 10 y.o. I see your point regarding the ATVs...it's a low priority item, and my 10 y.o. would like the horse ride better anyway.

Thanks!

Big Island, Hawaii
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3. Re: Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

Pohue Bay and Ka Lae would be a big must miss IMO unless you're staying for two weeks or more. There's plenty else to see that's much more interesting within a close radius to your lodging. Check out the Top Questions on things to do and many recent forum topics on the heiaus and historical parks of North Hawaii, the west side beaches, Pololu, Waipio, etc.

Edited: 16 December 2013, 18:27
Island of Hawaii...
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4. Re: Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

There are no ATV rides into Waipi'o Valley in any case. They are up on the rim, but I agree fully with Shea about them and that you should explore the north. I have no clue why you got those recs, but your rental contract prohibits South Point Road.

Kona
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5. Re: Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

Pohue Bay would be an all-day experience and not a very appealing hike for a 10-year old. The trailhead is difficult to find, and the residents of that subdivision are not all that happy about tourists wandering around looking for it. The trail itself is also not that easy to follow - I know some veteran resident hikers who have gotten way off track down there. There are no facilities, so you would need to come prepare to pack out everything you take down there.

Itʻs a beautiful spot, but for a one-week visit, Iʻm not sure why you would include this on your itinerary.

As KK says above, you canʻt take your rental car down South Point Road. People do, but they are violating their rental contract when they do so. I have heard some horror stories of what happens in those cases if you have any car problems down there.

Very glad to hear youʻre open to leaving out the zip lines and ATV tours. These have all sprung up lately - operators hoping to extract fairly large amounts of your hard-earned vacation money for things that you could do anywhere. Instead, you could focus on the activities that are unique and special to this island - and so many of them are free!

For your land activities, stick to short hikes and visits to cultural sites. Your 10-year-old might also enjoy a visit to the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm near the Kona/Keahole airport - itʻs not free ($25, i think?) but kids love it.

Sounds like you already have the water activities (them snorkeling while you dive!) already covered.

Island of Hawaii...
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6. Re: Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

I will say for the Kona zipline, that Eco Adventures is proud that they are highlighting endemic Hawaiian plants on this one. They do see themselves as having an educational mission rather than merely providing some thrills.

I had an opportunity last summer to speak to the lovely Hawaiian lady who does their group bookings, and I was impressed. I also realized that this company does provide jobs for local families who live in an area of low opportunities to find jobs.

In the past, I had felt that ziplining and other ride activities are not what the Big Island needs to specialize in-- we have more to offer than acting as an amusement park. I have since changed my mind when it comes to companies that are really trying to combine fun with a glimpse into nature, culture, history of the island, helping visitors understand this place, with well trained guides.

I still do not think that rides should be the focus of the vacation. There is so much to see. I except Waipi'o Valley because you should not drive in, and that is the way to see it and support locals, by taking a tour such as a mule ride or horseback ride.

Edited: 17 December 2013, 07:54
Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

Thanks everyone for your input. Definitely rethinking our plans to drive afar. ATV rides are out, horseback tour is in...and looking to fit Eco and the sea horse farm in the schedule. I'm aware this traveling we all love to do has an ecological impact, so it's good to both expand our horizons and keep the effects positive. Now back to the drawing board to look at the north & west coast...

Island of Hawaii...
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8. Re: Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

North Kohala is beautiful, and you are staying nearby, so I would put it on your list if you can.

The hike to Moʻokini heiau is great if you can spare a few hours, both for the scenery and the destination.

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9. Re: Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

Could you post your modified itinerary? It looks like something our familly would enjoy (and looks like you have done a lot of legwork that I might not have to duplicate).

Thanks,

Jeanne

Kona
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10. Re: Zip line from Kona VS. from North Kohala

OP, just thought of something that your 10-year-old (and probably his dad, too, since you're an ocean enthusiast) would probably love to do while you're here.

Kona Boys offers a chance to paddle a Hawaiian outrigger canoe in Kailua Bay. The trips leave from Kamakahonu Beach in Kailua-Kona (in front of the King Kamehameha Hotel/Marriot) and your paddle of about an hour includes a bit of a historical tour - and often a chance to have a low-impact (no motor) sighting of the dolphin pods that visit the bay.

This came to mind because a couple of days ago I took out a group of 10- and 11-year-olds from a local school group in one of our canoe club's canoes - and they had such a great time out on the water, connecting with the ancient rhythm of canoe paddling - that they all protested having to go back in! Their smiles and excitement were awesome. It's a great age to introduce a child to this kind of experience . . .

Edited: 20 December 2013, 06:17