If you don’t like zip lines, you’re probably dead inside. Not our words, the words of former children’s TV presenter Zippy.
Zippy, of course, loved zip lines so much he even went so far as to have a zip surgically attached to his face. A bit excessive perhaps, but also an indicator of his passion for all things zippish.
Why Zippy never got into the zip line game full-time, after his broadcasting career went to shit, we’ll never fully understand. He could have opened a zip line theme park and called it ‘Zippy’s Ziptastic World Of Zips’, or something. Anyway…
(If you don’t know who Zippy is, look him up).
1) Unreal Zip 2000 – Sun City, South Africa
Located approximately two hours outside of Johannesburg, the Unreal Zip 2000 is one of the fastest and longest zip lines…in the world.
Starting atop a hill, 900ft above the plains, you’ll whoosh down over a mile of cable at an average speed in excess of 75mph.
2) Dragon’s Breath Flight Line – Labadee, Haiti
The Dragon’s Breath Flight Line is the longest overwater zip line on the planet. It starts 500ft above the white sands of Labadee, and stretches for 2,600ft across the bluest waters you’ve ever laid eyes upon. You’ll hit speeds of up to 50mph which, all things considered, is not too shabby at all.
Annoyingly, it’s situated on a private beach owned by Royal Caribbean. Not that you really needed another reason to hate oversized cruise liners, but please feel free to add this zipline-shaped injustice to your list.
What do we want? Zip lines for all! When do we want it? Now, if you’d be so kind.
3) The Great Wall (Simatai Section) – China
Most zip lines offer spectacular views of nature but few, possibly none except this one, involve one of the seven wonders of the modern world. It’s probably not what Emperor Qin Shi Huang had in mind when he ordered its construction in 221BC, but the Great Wall Of China is now home to one of the best zip lines ever.
After exploring the Simatai section of the wall, you have two options. You can either walk down, excuse us while we pry our eyelids open, or zip line down across Mandarin Duck Lake and fill your vision with some seriously epic views of the wall and the surrounding mountains. Look up ‘no-brainer’ in the dictionary…
4) ZipRider – Hoonah, Alaska
To be honest, we’re not really sure Alaska has ever truly recovered from it’s lingering association with Sarah Palin. The very existence of the gun-toting, self-proclaimed, “hockey mom”, who thought her state’s proximity to Russia made her qualified for handling America’s foreign policy, has tarnished the way many of us view this sparsely populated wilderness.
But, hang on there one second. Because Alaska actually lays claim to one of the world’s most epic zip lines. Boasting a vertical drop of 1,300ft, the ZipRider at Icy Strait Point is the longest zipline in North America. Almost as exciting as that, if not more so, is the fact that it’s possible to go 82mph on this thing.
5) Skyline Haleakala – Maui, Hawaii
It sounds hardly plausible, especially when you consider how popular it is now, but the first zip line on American soil didn’t actually occur until 2002.
Established on Haleakala Ranch, by a father and son team, this two hour tour takes participants on five zip line crossings. There are 90ft drops, potential speeds of up to 45mph, and more fragrant eucalyptus trees than you can shake a fragrant eucalyptus tree at. Perfect then, if you like the smell of Airwaves chewing gum.
6) Screaming Eagle At Banning Mills – Georgia, USA
With a name like Screaming Eagle, we just had to put this zip line on the list. Let’s not beat around the bush, it sounds like a saxophonist in a dirty soul band. We like this zip line name so much, we’re going to proclaim it ‘the zip line with the best name for a zip line…in a supporting zip line role’.
If, though, you were sat there thinking this zip line was all killer name, and no filler; think again. The Screaming Eagle is, according to that always reliable source The Guiness World Records, the longest zip canopy tour in the world. Not only that, but it’s called the Screaming Eagle. THE SCREAMING EAGLE!
7) Mega Zips At Mega Cavern – Lousville, Kentucky
Mega Zips is the first, and only, underground zip line in the world. It’s everything you love about zip lines and old limestone pits, wrapped up nicely in one zippy package.
For added awesomeness, why not don an Indiana Jones hat and pretend you’re exploring some old temple…thing. Or not, it’s entirely up to you.
8) La Bestia (The Beast) – Toro Verde, Puerto Rico
With a name like ‘The Beast’, you’d expect this zip line to deliver some serious bang for it’s buck. Fortunately, for all you zip liners out there, this baby doesn’t disappoint.
Strapped face down, into a specially designed harness, you’ll glide through the Puerto Rican air attempting your best impression of a parakeet. 853ft above the jungle floor, La Bestia is, unsurprisingly, one of the highest zip lines in the world.
9) SkyRider Zipline Tour – Hunter, New York
Idea for a zip line jingle: “Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today. I want to be a part of it, New York, New York. These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray. Right to the SkyRide Zipline Tour, New York, New York.”
Ok. So we might have fiddled the lyrics of Sinatra’s classic a tad, but when you see this thing’s gnarly statistics you might understand our thought process: 4.6 miles of cable, an eye-popping 600ft above the valley floor, with the longest canopy tour in America and a top speed of 50mph. How do you like them apples?
10) Zip World Snowdonia – Bethesda, Wales
In recent years, Wales has transformed itself from a land of rugby and male voice choirs into something so much more ‘adventurey’.
Nothing, perhaps, highlights this national metamorphosis quite like Zip World Snowdonia. While riding the longest zip line in Europe, over a mile in length, you’ll soar like a red dragon over Penrhyn Quarry and hit speeds of up to 100mph.