Zip Line Adventure in Iceland
Being told to walk until you can no longer feel the ground beneath your feet and leap into the air can seem very daunting. But then you take a deep breath in, the adrenaline starts to pump and it suddenly becomes very exciting. The tour includes 4 different zip lines all different and all equally as exhilarating as the last.
The name of the specific tour I am talking about is South Coast, Waterfalls and Zipline Adventure. True to its title, this is exactly the experience you will get. After living in Iceland for 8 months now, I have done many tours and activities, but I really have to say that this was by far one of my favourites. I started the day by meeting my guide, this tour does not have a meet on location option and for me, this is an advantage. The drive to the South Coast can be quite long and having an experienced guide meant I could gather some really interesting information about the Island.
Personally, one of the best things about living in Iceland is that, at almost all times, you can see some type of mountain. This is completely different from the stacks of buildings I am used to seeing in London. Immediately after driving out of Reykjavik we were greeted by the Blue Mountains. They stood tall above the ground and as the mist fell, it gently created a cloud-like effect, very picturesque. Driving further away from the capital, we passed a geothermal plant in the Hellisheiði hills. Steam rose from the rocky lava fields and it was very interesting to see how modern industrial equipment worked in such harmony with natural resources. I won’t say too much about the geothermal plant as it will ruin all the facts your guide has to tell you on the tour.
The drive itself to the South Coast is full of amazing things to see. We passed through the town of Selfoss, stunning mountain ranges, views of the ocean and many Icelandic horses roaming the fields. As the sun peeped through the clouds the visibility became a lot clearer and white triangular shapes took over the horizon. Although mountains are rocky and rugged, the snow that had fallen upon them significantly changed their appearance into soft, fluffy marshmallows.
The first stop on our tour was the mighty Skogafoss Waterfall. The sun had made a full appearance by the time we had reached the waterfall and it made all the difference. This 60-meter high waterfall is known for rainbows decorating its rocks – as it is in the perfect place to catch the rays of the sun. Rainbows were appearing left, right and centre. I have visited this waterfall many times but in this instance, I was with my auntie who was visiting from the UK. As I was the first time I was in the presence of such beauty, she was in awe of the sheer amount of water cascading down from the rocks. I knew how wet you can get if you walk close to the waterfall, so when taking photos of her, I told her that she needed to get closer in order for me to get the rainbows in the frame. This was a lie, but it did make me laugh – her not so much. If you are a Game of Thrones fan then you will instantly recognise this waterfall, so it really does make for a great stop on the tour.
We then carried on our drive to the town of Vik. Being in an active volcanic area this town has an element of intensity to it. Katla Volcano sits not far from the town, although it has not erupted in the last 100 years it is still considered an active volcano. In Vik, there is a chance for you to grab some food in the restaurant or the supermarket. Overlooking the town is the red-roofed church. I can imagine that if you have looked at any photos of Vik, this church will have been noticeable in most of them. There are also great views of Reynisfjara beach on a clear day and stunning views of the rock stacks standing fiercely in the ocean.
So, now that I’ve told you all about the lovely sights of Iceland. The time has come that I got geared up in all of the zip lining equipment and put my life in the hands of some ropes attached to the side of a mountain. Putting on my helmet and my harness, I felt like the real deal, a real adventurer. Then I saw how silly my auntie looked and realised I probably looked very similar. However, we did not care, we were too excited. Due to the weather not being the best our guides told us we would be driving to the starting point, but if you are blessed with good weather then you will be able to hike up.
There is a short hike to the starting point, it’s a very easy hike and gives you a chance to take in the beautiful surroundings. The first zip line was very new so you could say that we were part of the ‘tester group’. Wide-eyed we let the guides clip us onto the line. Being a new line, there was not yet a platform to stand to jump from. So we were told to simply walk off the mountain and that’s what we did. The thrill of soaring in the air, over the most insanely beautiful landscapes, is the most incredible feeling. The shades of green and brown whirl underneath you as they mix into the blue of the stream that flows over the ground. As the world glided by, I was caught by the guide at the other end who caught my line and stopped me being flattened on the other side (as there was no platform to walk on to).
We were also joined by an Icelandic Sheepdog who belonged to one of our guides. It was unbelievable to see the path that she had created for herself below to get to the other side. The lines took the shape of a zig zag going down the mountains and her dog-made path followed this direction. First one down, three more to go. The exhilaration had taken all of my fears away at this point, so I was ready to go.
The second line was slightly longer and because of the wind, it meant that my auntie and I had to go at the same time to ensure we made it across. We thankfully had a platform for this one so it made it a lot easier for my auntie to wrap around and hold onto me. By this time we had got the complete giggles and couldn’t bring ourselves to jump off of the platform. So our guide, equally in hysterics of laughter had to give us a slight push. Zooming over the world as it blurred by we started to spin due to the wind, which just added to the fun. Stumbling on to the platform we caught our sense of direction and unclipped.
We had a short walk to the next line and this gave our guide the chance to tell us some facts about the area that we were in. Just like the geothermal plant, I don’t want to ruin everything for you so I won’t spoil all the facts. We stopped in a small sheltered area resembling a cave and were told that the pass that we were ziplining down was often used by people on their travels from Reykjavik to Vik. How they did this journey I have absolutely no idea, but that’s Icelandic Vikings for you. The small caves sticking out were often used as a shelter on the journey. We also walked close to the stream we had been ziplining over and took a drink of the freshwater.
On a side note, it might be a really good idea for you to bring a reusable water bottle. You will be able to fill up in this small river and have a taste of fresh Icelandic water. Some plants had started growing on the sides of the river now that it is approaching the summer season. Our guide picked them for us and we had a taste. None of us knew exactly what it was, but it had a bit of an apple taste to it. Maybe you will be more knowledgeable and know what this plant was.
After the small stop, we continued to walk further until we reached the next stop. I say walk, but it more resembled a stumble due to the rain making the ground so wet, but I guess this is all part of the adventuring experience. This, however, was not a Zipline. This was the Leap of Faith, and leap we did. Instead of being attached to the line in front of us, we were hooked on by the back of our harnesses. As we were attached I realised that I had not taken the name seriously, and we really were leaping until we got to the other side. I looked at my guide as if to say ‘Where am I supposed to hold on?’ for him to meet me with a laugh. The words that followed were ‘Run and jump!’. I knew that if I thought too much into it I would stand on the platform all day, so I ran and I jumped. Over in a flash, I realised I had put faith into my leap and here I was, still standing.
As the laughing continued, we all made it across, safe and sound, including the dog. We carried on walking a little further and as we emerged to the last line, flowing water gushing over a dip in the mountain created the pleasing sound of a waterfall. This last line was probably the most impressive as the scenery was just something I would have thought up in a dream. The line was quite long and this meant that as we whooshed by, we were really able to soak up the views.
As I said before, the weather wasn’t the best and therefore we drove back to the base. But I can imagine the chance to walk back is wonderful. We stepped out of all our equipment and said goodbye to our amazing ziplining guides. Meeting back with our Arctic Adventures guide we started to head back to Reykjavik eager for our last stop. Last but not least, is the impressive Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. The experience you can get when visiting this waterfall does differ slightly depending on what season you decide to go in. If it is in winter when I’m sure there will be a blanket of snow covering the ground creating a magical winter wonderland. In the summer months, you will be able to walk behind the waterfall which is a truly unique experience. I have visited in both seasons and each experience left me in disbelief that our world has formed such beautiful things.
Climbing back into our guide bus, we got comfy and enjoyed the sights of the journey back to Reykjavik, this is also the perfect opportunity to take a quick nap. Being excited can leave you quite tired. An absolutely amazing tour that I would recommend to anyone thrill seeking with the added bonus of sightseeing on the way.
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