Austria

Activity vacation in Zillertal – the best way to escape daily routine

Activity vacation? You thought that’s just a bit of wandering around the mountains, drinking something here and there, but most of all – Dead boring for two young tourists who want to experience an adventurous summer. NOT CORRECT! So far we only knew the Zillertal from various skiing trips, but it was about time to explore it in summer.

 

 
We initially assumed that we would go hiking in Zillertal, borrow bicycles and enjoy the scenery until the moment we got our program – compiled by the Zillertal Tourism Association for our trip. We count believe the exotic things which were in it: Canoying, white water rafting, archery, etc. our eyes began to sparkle with excitement. So totally different than hiking and chilling or cycling to the next villag –this actually will be a lot of fun!

 

 
We stayed at the Aktivhotel Tuxerhof in Zell. The hotel is located directly at the cable car and is the ideal starting point for activities in in summer as well. Mayrhofen is about 10 minutes away, the center of Zell about 2 minutes by car. The rooms were very clean and spacious, and the staff in the hotel was always in a good mood and welcomed us wonderfully.

 

 
Breakfast and dinner was located in the restaurant next to the hotel: Teufelsküche, but this fact did not bother us, since it was warm outside. In winter, this might be a bit awkward, put on jacket, and take off jacket. Nevertheless, the food was amazing and we tried some pretty good Gin.

 


 
We would have liked to chill at the hotel pond, but unfortunately we didn’t have the time and energy after our activities.
 
 
 

3D archery

Our first program point was 3D archery with Aktiv Zentrum Zillertal in Laimach. Easy we thought, what can be exhausting at archery? HAHA – we were proven wrong. The Archery activity is located at the Talbachstüberl in Laimach.

 

There are different types of archery courses. We did a hunting bow course. This course is an intensive course and lasts 2-3 hours. Our “trainer” Tanja explained the different bows as well as some background information about the 3D park, the shooting and the equipment.
 


 
We soon realized that archery is more important than aiming and shooting. Shooting an arrow is not that easy. After an hour of training we finally went off to the forest – the actual park. We were able to shoot over 30 3D animals in total and we had 5 arrows each per animal.
 

 
To shoot the animals is harder than expected: our body needs to be in the correct position and of course it has to be targeted correctly. After initial difficulties we finally “killed” a few more animals. Altogether we were 2 hours in the woods and had a lot of fun.
 

 

After our adventure in the woods, we enjoyed a good “recover” Zillertaler beer as we have totally underestimated the terrain and the activity.
 

 

But fortunately we had Tanja, who took care of us and learned to us archery like a pro. Usually there is no guide who joins you in the forest – but Tanja made an exception for us, thank you again, otherwise we would have probably shot each other.
 


 
 
 

Rafting

On the second day we left early in the morning to go to the Mountain Sports Base Camp in Mayrhofen, from there we started our rafting on the Ziller tour. Despite the uncomfortable wetsuits we were already very motivated to go rafting. The organization of Mountain Sports was pretty smooth, about 25-30 people were transported to the river with their own buses (the boats in the trailer).
 


 
Our guide Andi, who by the way really understood what he was doing, quickly explained to us rafting, and he managed to make us a team and win his trust. He taught us the “commands” and taught us how to row. Finally we were off into the wild waters of the Ziller. Our personal highlight: the whitewater swimming! A one-time experience that sounds pretty scary in the beginning, but in reality it’s safe and an amazing feeling (if the guides instructions are followed).
 

 
We rushed for through wild waves and whirlpools before we arrived on the shore. Wet from the water, but still not cold through the suit, we were richer by an awesome activity experience.
 

 
By the way, rafting is also something for children: There was a little boy (5) in our boat and celebrated the water and waves so do not worry dear parents, your children can manage :)
 
 
 

Canyoning

Full of adrenaline from rafting we were on our way to the next activity on the program: Canyoning in the Blue Lagoon, with Mountain Sports Zillertal. At first we did not really know much about canyoning, but after a few videos and a Google search, we knew what to expect. Canyoning is to climb a gorge from top to bottom, either on foot, by abseiling or jumping into the water. Honestly, canyoning was our biggest hurdle to be overcome in the program: unfortunately, one of us suffers from extreme fear of heights, and we were not sure before the tour whether we could really do canyoning without quitting. Nevertheless, we took our courage together and went with our wetsuit into the gorge of the Zemmbach.
 


 
At the beginning of the tour our guide explained that we almost always have several options and we do not have to jump if we did not want to. That calmed us a little bit, because we were not the only ones who were a little bit scared in the beginning. The group constellation in canyoning was a little bit funny: we were 4 couples in total, but one partner was a bit more afraid and it seemed that he/she  did this activity probably only for the sake of the partner.
 

 
Nevertheless, we made every effort to follow the quick steps of the guide and geting used to the cold water, the stones and the environment (you are not in a gorge every day). And suddenly the moment was there: the first jump rock. We were all very excited. Although it was only about 1.5 meters, it was already a first hurdle. Our whole team mastered this jump.
 

 
You could tell how happy different people were about this achievement and we were all happy for each other. Then we continued until we came to a crystal clear pool where we had to swim through. Have you ever swum in an ultra-blue “wild pool”? No? Well it’s like being in another world. So beautiful and pure. The next challenge was already infront of us: abseiling over a waterfall. OMG we thought.
 

 
But we followed the instructions of the guide and arrived safely. We have to say that we could not build a trustful relationship with this guide compared to Andi, it would have helped us a lot if he had explained different things better and more often, or took a bit of speed out of the hike – after all, we don’t trample every day through a gorge in the middle of the Zillertal in neoprene suit.
 

 
It’s pretty cool that the organizer offers helmets with a GoPro mount, so you could film your whole canyoning adventure. If you don’t have a GoPro, don’t worry, because similar to rafting, the guide also  makes photos of abseiling or jumping, and the photos are provided free of charge. Just remember to bring a stick.
 

 
 
 

High ropes course

Slightly exhausted from the last days, we made our way to the high ropes course in Gerlos. The journey there itself was already a highlight for us as we could enjoy a fantastic view over the whole Zillertal.

Arrived at the parking lot, we went on a 10 minute walk towards the high ropes course. On the way there we even encountered alpine cows (they were running around, not in a fence), a very unknown picture for us, but we were also a little bit frightened, because these cows even had horns.

At the high ropes course we were warmly greeted by the team and we got an enrollment in the equipment and in the park. The park consists of a “smaller” course, the large high ropes course (duration up to 3 hours) and a flying fox course with 15 zip lines.
 


 
Unfortunately, it was a bit wet that day, so the wood of the various stations was slippery.

First we ventured on the smaller course, which was kinda high as well and not only for kids. At this point we need to talk again about the fear of heights, which one of us had to overcome first. Nevertheless, we mastered the first course and were curious about more. The other course was much higher and bigger, but we dared to go up there as well, because there was also the possibility to quit course and get off the with a zip line.
 

 

We tried the flying fox course next: Who did not have the secret childhood wish to be able to swing from tree to tree like Tarzan? :) This course feels the same! You hang in your wire and slide over the rope from tree to tree – so cool. A little tip from us, ALWAYS swing forward with your legs, the finish is at a tree and despite there is a net; this can end with many bruises. But it doesn’t matter; it’s a lot of fun anyways
 


 
The high wire garden is a huge playground for children and adults, where you can spend almost a whole day. The team on site is super cool and allowed us an unforgettable adventure.
 

 
 
 
The highlight of our holiday? Hard to say … The moment we stood in the middle of a cow pasture, and we were not sure if we would come out alive is in the top 5.

In defense of the cows, we have to say that they almost ignored us. In terms of activity, it would probably be canyoning, as it is just an incredible feeling to jump from a 5 – meter rock into crystal clear water, or to roped off a waterfall. Archery has definitely surprised us the most – we can only emphasize it again and again – do not take casual, it’s extremely challenging.

 

We had unforgettable 3 days. From the feeling of pure freedom, adrenaline rush and panic fear, pretty much every emotion was present at some point. Activity holidays in Zillertal definitely means more than hiking and cycling, the range of activities is huge. What we have learned personally is that it does not matter for activities such as canyoning  if you do  all the jumps, its rather about trying new things and jumping over your own shadow. Those of you who are afraid of various things (such as heights, cold, water, etc.), we recommend to try it despite fear!
 
You will be surprised how much fun you will have doing an activity holiday and how much you personally develop in order to overcome fears. Do not be afraid – go for it and with the right guides by your side nothing can or will happen to you. We are glad that, although one of us suffers from an unbelievable fear of heights, we did all the activities as good as possible, and with one exception we only experienced amazing support of the guides.
 


 
We would like to THANK the great team of the climbing park Gerlos, who took our fear at 30m height, THANKS to Tanja from the Aktivzentrum Zillertal, who is not only a great archery teacher, but also a very sympathetic person and without her help, some arrows wont still be found. THANK YOU for the excellent hospitality in the Aktivhotel Tuxerhof and the Restaurant Teufelsküche.
 
A big THANKS to Andi of Mountain Sports Zillertal, the motivated and funny rafting coach – even though we sometimes had problems understanding his dialect, he knows how to shape a group of different people into a team, as we experience it in rafting and last but not least thank you to the Zillertal Tourism Association for the invitation!
We had great experiences and had a wonderful and exhausting trip. Maybe one last tip to you guys: try not to do too many activities on one day, we were already very exhausted and tired after 3 days! It’s better to slow down and squeeze a wellness or shopping day in between.
 
 
 

We were welcomed and super friendly everywhere and through our announcement as LGBTQ bloggers, we assumed everybody knew that we were together. Since activity holidays are also very popular with LGBTQ couples, especially lesbians, we can recommend you the Zillertal or the providers of activities 100%.