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How I Fared In The Tunnels Of Terror

Caverns at Zipworld
Cathedral cave at Zipworld

Meltdown in the tunnels of terror

Jason, I CANNOT DO IT!’ I holler. He is looking at me in abject horror, as I cling to the wall, trying desperately not to look down, images of me slipping to a gory death racing through my mind. My legs are shaking so badly, I can barely lift my feet, much less take the leap of faith onto the chain stretching across the chasm ahead. Jason is trying his best to calm me, but I’ve entered the land of irrational thought, as tears start to well in my eyes and I enter meltdown in the tunnels of terror!

Caverns

Rescue me

I’m urging Jason to return to the zipwire platform, so I can take the walk (or zip) of shame and return to solid ground. There, my pulse can return to normal and I will avoid the heart attack which is clearly heading my way if I do not calm down. Evidently the staff are well versed in dealing with panics, as I’m semi conscious of someone whispering to Jason, trying to determine if I am a lost cause or just a drama queen.

Taking the first step

Taking a deep breath, I fix my face to the rock and gingerly slither a foot onto the thick chain. Slowly, I inch along the wall, clipping and unclipping myself from the safety wires. I’m fully aware that these are fool-proof clipits, that even in the midst of full blown panic, I cannot hurtle to my death, but that knowledge is doing little to calm my frayed nerves. My hands are shaking, my mouth feels dry and blood is thundering through my head. It takes an iron will not to have a complete toddler tantrum.

Entering the tunnels of terror
Courtesy of Zipwire Caverns

Blissful ignorance

Sometimes blissful ignorance really is the best policy. If I had actually bothered to check out what I was letting myself in for in the Zipworld Caverns, I might have opted for something tamer. I wouldn’t say I’m especially terrified of heights, but I sure don’t like enclosed spaces and this adventure encompasses heights, tunnels of terror and Indiana Jones style hazards in gleeful abandon. Think rope bridges, tightrope walking and an abundance of zip platforms, intermingled with suspended platforms, eerie lighting and mystical shadows.

Kitting up for the Caverns
Getting ready to enter the temple of doom

I don’t think my pulse descended below critical level for the whole two hours I was attached to my clipits, and I must have burned a day’s calories with the leg shaking alone. I certainly made up for the lack of squeals on Titan, with deafening screams during this activity. Only mildly embarrassing, considering the way the two young lads in front are practically scampering over the rocks ahead.

Training at Zipworld Caverns
Training ground for the caverns
cathedral chamber zipwire
Riding the zipwire (Courtesy of Zipworld)

Zipwires galore

With hands shaking and a steely purpose, I zigzag from side to side across the cathedral-like cave. Terrified screams accompany each slide, but worse is to come. We descend into a tunnel which ends overlooking a sheer drop. The only way out is a tightrope with hand ropes hanging across the chasm. I tiptoe precariously across, holding my breath, wondering if this experience can get any worse.

The tightrope
Courtesy of Zipworld Caverns

Yay, I practically clap with glee as I make it safely to the other side. What follows becomes a blur, as tunnels connect to zipwires, zipwires to perilous foot rings hammered into the cave walls and Indiana Jones inspired bridges lead to ever smaller tunnels.

It’s just one nightmare after another. Whoever designed this incredible maze of tortures really knew how to thrill and terrify in equal measure. The cool lighting is however a welcome distraction.

Zipworld Caverns
Just one of the torture instruments in Zipworld Caverns
Lighting at Zipworld Caverns
Cool lighting in Zipworld Caverns

Temple of doom

A ladder descends into a hole in the ground which leads to a tiny stone platform. From there, a rope walkway climbs up to a series of tiny tunnels and I find myself clambering through them on hands and knees, furiously trying to clip and unclip myself. I feel like I’m in a scene from the Temple of Doom, with one obstacle after another testing my sanity.

Tunnels in the Zipwire caverns
Courtesy of Zipwire caverns

And then we emerge into the huge chamber where we began our journey. I sigh with relief, my heartbeat returning to normal, thankful to be alive. Even the pouring with rain cannot dampen my spirits as we emerge from the bowels of the earth.

Verdict

There’s no denying, I spent the bulk of my experience praying I would make it out without injury. Yes, I feel a sense of achievement for conquering my fear (ok, maybe not quite conquering, but at least taming it!) and I quite enjoyed the zipwires once I figured out how to avoid bashing into the wall, or tumbling to my death. There’s one large cave with a few long zipwires and they were hugely thrilling, especially when combined with the colourful lighting creating eerie shadows and artistic effects.

Caverns Zipworld
Terrified!

This is an experience ideal for adventurous types, hen and stag parties, team bonding sessions and slightly wussy forty somethings on a mission to live life to the max. The creativity of the team who built this master piece is nothing less than awe inspiring and I take my hats off to the plentiful staff who were quick to provide help and advice with endless smiles.

Cost: £60 per person and worth every damn penny for the pleasure of scaring myself to death!

Disclaimer: Please note my knee shaking experience was as a guest of Zipwire caverns but all opinions are honest and truthful. As much as I would like to say I thoroughly enjoyed every moment, most of it was sheer hell. Here’s what my husband Jason thought though: ‘It was incredibly well organised and a truly exhilerating experience. It was great fun and a much longer experience than I imagined.

 

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 80 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money saving travel tips

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37 comments

  1. That looks exciting and that’s the kind of adventure I am looking for! But the names scare me a bit. Hahaha. Suspicious if I can survive! LOL

  2. This seems like the craziest experience! But also one my husband would be pushing for us to do! Glad you made it through, even if your sanity was challenged right in the midst of it! Love your writing – 100% relate!

  3. I am afraid of heights, too. I think I would have had a similar experience! But it is good to test your fears and feel alive 🙂

  4. I salute you for having the courage to do this! Ziplining is scary enough for me but doing it in a dark cave just takes it a step higher. I should learn from you and keep in mind, “blissful ignorance” hehe

  5. Congrats on surviving! I haven’t done a zipline yet, but I remember my legs shaking quite a bit when I bungee jumped for the first time back in college. My body was telling me no, but my mind finally overcame the irrational fear and jumped anyway.

    Have you seen the zipline from the Eiffel Tower in Paris? I totally want to do that!!!

  6. You guys are really brave on having done that. I confess I will be a bit scary of doing, but the adrenaline I could get on doing of sure will push me trying it.

  7. Oh my gosh I would be scared to do this as well but good on your for conquering your fear! It does look like an amazing experience.

  8. Megan Jerrard

    Congrats on facing your fear! Haha yes, blissful ignorance before the event is probably one of the best ways to overcome your biggest fears! Honestly this sounds like it’s right up our alley – I would love to visit!

  9. That is so awesome that you did this!! You’re so brave for facing your fears. It looks pretty intense!

  10. I would probably be right there with you……. Terrified! What is down at the bottom of the pit. You don’t know! It would be scary but at the same time the light show does make it better. I still think I would give it a shot as there can’t be many caves like this in the world.

  11. I’ve been wanting to try this for so long! Looks like a really cool experience, especially the zip line part! Glad you were able to make your way through it and didn’t let the fear stop you–way to go!!

  12. I would bloody love this. I’ve done zip lining In Puerto Rico but nothing like this x

    • Yes I did it in Honduras before but they were quite short zips. Good fun but not quite thrilling enough although I definitely wasn’t terrified doing that!

  13. I can see why they call it the tunnels of terror! Looks great fun though, would love to give it a go

  14. This looks like so much fun!! I was terrified the first time I ziplined but now I love it. I also did caving in NZ which was great fun too. I need to get to Wales to do this, I just love it. Road trip coming soon I think 🙂

    • Awesome. My abseiling, black water rafting, caving/climbing experience in NZ was definitely enough to challenge this but I was a lot younger lol! My fear of dying was considerably less

  15. That looks like a thrilling experience but not sure I will go for that. Not a fan of closed spaces. I better go skydiving and kayaking.

  16. Although I understand you were terrified, I’m impressed you conquered it and also ended up feeling good about it ! It seems to be the kind of thing my husband and I would love to do actually! I haven’t seen any thing quite like it until now.. thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. Crazy! I don’t know if I would be brave enough to do this. But what an amazing experience! Good for you. 🙂

  18. I would love to give it a go but this would be Mrs W’s worst nightmare, she’s not a big fan of caves or heights, so combining the two!!!

  19. That looks scary indeed but really fascinating. Even though I am a little afraid it is an experience I would like to have. Thanks for recommending.

  20. I love how you went through all of the emotions here. I am pretty brave I’m actually afraid of the dark!! Yes – as an adult. Would love to try something like this though!

  21. Now having read your account, I am not sure if I want to head that way 🙂 🙂 🙂 …. For all the screaing , I think you are quite brave. I love the photos though. The way they have lit up is quite smart thing to do.

    • Yeah I think the lighting is really cool and it changes colours. It was one thing to distract me from the fear factor lol!

  22. Wow, I kept adoring what you guys have done in this tunnel. It is truly an extreme adventure that I want to experience as well. I like how challenging it is to traipse your feet on the hanging bridge going to the other side. The lights inside really makes the adventure great and its stunning. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  23. You had me hooked to the post with the opening lines. It really looked like the opening of a Robert Ludlum novel.. This sounds like an exciting adventure. But quite brave of you to fight and ultimately overcome your fears.

    • Thanks Sandy. I suspect it is more the case that I’m just too damn stubborn for my own good. I’m really glad I completed it though

  24. Hahah your commentary is hilarious. I feel like I would be just as terrified but still want to do all the activities anyway. Maybe not the tightrope though – I have no coordination! Glad you enjoyed it and survived in the end 🙂

  25. I’m sorry that were terrified but, Oh my gosh I have to try this when I return to England! Looks like so much fun!

  26. This looks very scary. I think I wouldn’t do it

  27. Whoa, I don’t know if I could find enough courage to do this! That tightrope thing looks intense! Im sure you were so relieved by the end!

  28. This is in the UK.

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