Yet another item on my list which I am determined to complete, despite my fear of heights, zip wiring is synonymous with travelling experiences, especially in South East Asia. Charging through the air at about 85mph from a ridiculously high height with only a cable keeping you from falling is enough to get anyone’s adrenaline rushing. Not all zip wires are based on speed however, as some will take you through jungles and across beautiful mountain tops. Below I have listed what I believe are the world’s greatest Zip Wires.
Gwynedd, North Wales
The new zip wire in Wales can stake the claim as the longest zip wire in Europe. The action was undoubtedly a move to increase tourism in the area, however it works for me as I am determined to visit an area I had not previously heard of. The ride goes across a quarry as the final stage on a 2 hour tour of the area.
Icy Straight Point, Alaska
Locals claim it is the longest zip wire in the world, highly understandable considering it stretches more than a mile, however this accolade goes elsewhere. The actual ride only lasts 90 seconds as you race over the 1,300ft vertical drop at speeds of around 60mph. Over 400,000 people have been on the Icy Straight Point and there hasn’t been one death so far, so that’s good enough for me. They can handle approximately 400 riders per day, therefore it is normally recommended you turn up relatively early to avoid disappointment.
Sun City, South Africa
This is another that claims to be the longest in the world, however Sun City might have a stronger claim as it is believed to be 6,500 foot, over a 1,000 feet further than Icy Straight Point. South Africa really has everything for an adventurous person, and the zipwiring doesn’t disappoint, as the views are incredible. You also have to go on the zipwire tied to a mate, flying ‘superman style’ which makes for a good laugh.
Gravity Canyon, New Zealand
Another record breaker, Gravity Canyon is the fastest zip wire in the world, reaching speeds of around 100mph. Obviously with a faster pace and a shorter distance, the ride doesn’t last as long, but it will certainly knock your socks off! Something I really like about this one is at one point you actually go under a bridge, which at a fast pace I can imagine being both scary and impressive.
Zip flyer, Nepal
Seen as the ‘world’s most extreme zip wire’, you will scream your lungs out soon as you fly off the mark from a 2,000 foot vertical drop on the Himalayas. The zip wirers are launched two at a time, meaning you will have a chance to race your mate!
Arenal Volcano Park, Costa Rica
I’m a big fan of the jungle and this zip wire will take you through the Costa Rican Jungle which is a big temptation for me. However, the fear factor is enhanced as you fly past a live volcano (unfortunately not over it for all you daredevil’s), which last erupted in 1984. You can normally combine this trip with a number of other great activities as there are also jungle canopies close by. Recommendation: Get a night tour so you can see eruptions from the volcano as it bursts into life, as well as nocturnal animals in the rainforest. Costa Rica is actually the birthplace of the zip wire, therefore if you are a true enthusiast, this is the place to go.
Dragon’s Breath, Haiti
People often visit Haiti for its sandy beaches and clear blue sea, so the placement of the longest zip wire to go over water was a very shrew decision. You hover very closely over the sea, making it feel like you are running on water, which must be blissful. Unlike the others, this one has a certain sense of tranquillity which is an unusual description for a ride which involves jumping off the side of a mountain.
Captain Zipline, USA
Colorado has such a picturesque scenery, not to mention being the home of the TV series South Park, while the Rocky Mountains are one of the biggest tourist attractions in the area. The Captain Zipline rockets across the rough mountain edges, as there are seven separate cables, depending on the package you pay for (spend the extra cash and get the full on experience).
Flying over the river Meuse, this one doesn’t quite have the same fear factor as the others listed, however being based in Brighton, this is one much closer to home. The price is also pretty cheap, at £20 for a ride. However don’t be fooled by its calm location as you will still be speeding at about 80mph, so still be prepared to scream your ass off.
Flight of the Gibbon, Thailand
I realised that despite claiming that I naturally think of zip wiring when I think of travelling through South East Asia, it barely had a mention (unless you count Nepal, which is more central Asia…kind of). Different to all others mentioned, this isn’t one long zipwire, more a whole set of zip wires, allowing you to fly through the treetops and observe the wildlife from above. This is also a great opportunity to try zip wiring if you have a wee fear of heights (like me). 10% of the money you pay for your ticket will go back towards looking after the gibbons, therefore you can feel happy that you are also helping a good cause. The one key element to the Flight of the Gibbons experience is that you will get the opportunity to also rafting, rock climbing and mountain biking.
Have you been on a zip wire? Is there one you feel should be included in the list, such as the Adrenaline Quarry in Cornwall? Let me know in the comments below!