Zipping along on adrenaline

Zipping along on adrenaline

The sport of ziplining - gliding on a rope above waterfalls and ravines in Hong Kong's countryparks - is not to be missed.

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Young Post cadet Miranda Yeung goes ziplining above a waterfall in Ma On Shan Country Park.
Young Post cadet Miranda Yeung goes ziplining above a waterfall in Ma On Shan Country Park.
Photo: Ariel Conant

Sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking the rushing waterfall below was nerve-racking. It was a long way down. But there was no turning back. With a quick push off the ledge, I was flying through the air, gliding down the zipline that had been set up between the two cliffs in the heart of Ma On Shan Country Park.

Not many people have heard about ziplining in Hong Kong. It is a breathtaking and exciting sport - one that creates a real rush of adrenaline - but also requires lots of effort and the right equipment.

Staff at Hong Kong Canyoning Guides, led by Gordon Hon, take adventure-seekers canyoning - the sport of jumping into fast-flowing mountain streams and allowing yourself to be carried downstream at high speed - abseiling and, of course, ziplining, on all-day excursions throughout Hong Kong.

Just to reach the cliffs was difficult enough; they led me and a group of Young Post cadets on a trek along a narrow dirt path running over rolling hills, and through thick woods and tall grass that grew above our heads.

In the distance we could see clusters of Hong Kong apartment complexes, but all around us was only nature.

"It's so beautiful," said Miranda Yeung, 14, a King George V School student. "You'd never know something like this was out here."

Hon and his team are equipped with professional rock climbing and abseiling equipment. They had expertly set up the zipline with nylon ropes over a gorgeous rushing waterfall, so it could be taken down without damaging the natural surroundings.

One by one, we lined up to give it a try. As ziplining can be dangerous, we needed to follow the rules and wear all the necessary safety equipment. Our guides buckled us into our harnesses and made sure our helmets were fitted tightly on our heads. "I'm getting nervous now," said 17-year-old Sally Kim, of Sha Tin College, smiling nervously.

Sally listened closely as our guides explained how they would fix her onto the zipline. With a helping hand from Hon, perched on a rock above her, Sally edged slowly along the cliff to get in position. Hon and his team worked together to tie the ropes and secure her onto the zipline. Then it was time for her to jump.

Pushing yourself off a cliff and trusting a small line of rope to save you takes a lot of courage. On the count of three, Sally pushed off with a yell and took off, sliding smoothly down the line.

Moving along the zipline itself is surprisingly gentle. The rush of the wind and the thrill of swooping through the air is both exciting and terrifying, all at once. With a triumphant shout, Sally landed safely on the far side, pumping her hands into the air.

Miranda and Chloe Fung, 17, of Canadian International School of Hong Kong, were quick to follow. Their excited yells filled the air as high-fives were shared as they landed safely at the end. Then it was my turn ...

Riding on the zipline wasn't the end of the trip though, as we now had to scramble down the rushing river to return to civilisation. The hike down was even harder than making the trip up. By the end everyone was exhausted, but happy.

Hon said ziplining is not the kind of sport for everyone: reaching the locations can be very demanding. But as long as you are willing to give new things a go, and not give up, you can do it, he said.

Chloe agreed. "That was probably one of the coolest things I've done in Hong Kong. It's something everyone should try at least once!"

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Zipping along on adrenaline

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