Skyline Eco Adventures Akaka Falls is an awesome zipline experience located about a 10-15 minute drive outside of Hilo in an area called Honomu. It is near Akaka Falls, but you won't actually see Akaka Falls at all on this line, instead you see another fall that you actually wouldn't be able to see otherwise and is just as impressive in my humble opinion.
The place looks like a house and parking is pretty limited, so come early. Not only that, but you'll have to fill out waivers and be weighed. You may also store personal items/valuables in a lockbox they have or just leave your backpack with them at the desk. If you want to bring your phone with you, they do have fanny packs and a limited number of phone holders available for you to borrow free of charge. After that they help you into your harness and helmet and you're ready to go. To get to the first line, you'll actually need to load onto their van, which takes a very bumpy (almost violently so at times) ride up a dirt road into the middle of farmlands.
From the first line, you'll actually be able to see Mauna Kea and some of its observatories off in the distance. Note the sugar cane growing wild in the foreground too. This area used to be a sugar plantation.
The first line is actually really short and boring, but it meant to get you acquainted with the gear and ensure your gear is fitted properly. Also, with every line, you'll learn a Hawaiian word and a little background info. So there is an educational component! Not drawn out boring stuff, but just enough.
The second line is very similar to the first one, but slightly longer, slightly faster, and goes straight through rows of banana trees. The landing is also different, as you hit a platform this time instead of gravel.
The third line is where it actually begins to get interesting. This shot is looking back towards the launch site on the hill above where the poll is. This is the first time you'll zip over a considerable drop, and to top it off, there's a little water fall for you to snap pictures of!
Kind of hard to get a great shot with the intense sunshine and dark shadows, but that's what you see from the zipline!
And that's the view from the landing area.
The fourth line is a pretty long one, which goes over a shallow ditch. The line itself is pretty fun, but there isn't much in the way of a view.
The fifth line is another rather lengthy one, but also a pretty boring one. You're basically riding down a field as a means to get to the next line.
After the fourth line you'll need to take a short walk to the next line. You'll walk along this dirt road with nice views of the ocean beyond.
The sixth line is by var the longest so far and crosses over a valley with a stream below, perhaps some waterfalls along the sides, and nice views of the ocean.
Here's my crummy video of the 6th zipline. If you easily get motion sickness, you may not want to watch this video
After you finish the sixth line, it's a short walk over to the seventh and final line.
Oh, and you'll need to climb the stairs up to the final launch platform!
If you look down while climbing the stairs, you'll see a message.
And don't forget to look up! You may see an 'Io (Hawaiian Hawk), the only raptor in the Hawaiian Islands. It's a near threatened IUCN (endangered Federal Government classification) and while once was found on all the main Hawaiian Island, it's now only found on the Big Island.
Here's what the view looks like from the top of the platform. This is by far the longest, highest and fastest of the ziplines on the course and also has the best views of them all.
This is the view from about halfway down the line. Again, this isn't Akaka Falls, but is equally as impressive. On this line, you'll actually be traveling down backwards and don't have to hang onto the strap like the previous lines. Landing on this line is a bit trickier and you'll have to walk down a set of stair-ladders, but like all the other lines, the staff is always there to assist.
Here's my video of this line. The beginning is VERY spinny and shaky as I stabilize and gain speed, but the view is wonderful!
All in all this was a great experience! And guess what? I'm afraid of heights... but now I'm addicted to ziplines and want to do more. I'd even do this one again! At $160/person, it isn't cheap, but is worth the money in my opinion. If you're heading to be Big Island soon, be sure to checkout Groupon too. We actually bought Groupon certificates for about $130/person and had no issues using them at all.
And you do get a 10% coupon for Mr. Ed's Bakery up the road after you finish the zipline course and take that super bumpy (but shorter) ride back to the office. I highly suggest paying a visit to this place. We didn't try the baked goods, but my goodness did they have a ton of preserves for sale! They had stuff you'd expect like POG (passion-orange-guava) to things you wouldn't expect like sweet potato haupia and ohelo berry.