Rotorua really packs a punch. There are so many great activities to do there, especially considering it’s quite a small town. I took time out from a packed schedule of rafting and sledging, Maori experiences and geyser trips to try sorbing and to check out the local adventure park – Agroventures Rotorua.
First up was zorbing! I’d always wanted to try this. Rolling down a steep hill in a giant inflatable ball appealed to the big kid inside me. Just a couple of kilometres outside of Rotorua on the main highway is the aptly named Zorb adventure park. You can reach it easily by car or local bus.
There are a few courses to choose from, one being steep and straight and another zig zagging downhill so that you’re constantly sliding in opposite directions.
You can also choose between a wet or dry ride. For ZYDRO, you dive headfirst into the ball and slosh around, spinning and sliding inside with a few buckets of warm water. I wimped out of this option because it was winter and my whole body was numb to the core as I queued at the top of the slope. For the dry ZORBIT ride, you’re strapped into a chair with a harness and handholds. As you tumble down the hill, you’re thrown upside down multiple times and come out of the other end feeling helplessly dizzy, but grinning like an idiot.
Just around the corner from Zorb, you can continue the fun with Agroventures Rotorua. This adventure park has some pretty exciting rides to choose from – and some really unique ones too. You can go all out with a day pass, or purchase tokens that allow you to choose a couple of your favourites.
After being strapped into what feels like a sleeping bag with shoulder straps, you’re winched up to a height of 40 metres. It’s up to you when you pull the cord, at which point, you’ll fall head first towards the ground before swinging in a massive arc at speeds of up to 130 km/h.
Suspended from a crane at 43 m, this bungy is the same height as the Auckland Harbour Bridge bungy, except that you don’t have the comfort of the ocean to look down on as you topple head first into thin air. This bad boy is apparently the most popular introductory bungy jump in New Zealand and offers the best value for money.
These unique bikes will have you racing against the clock, or your friends, while lying almost horizontally in a tube suspended from an overhead track 5 m above the ground. You can even take on the challenge to beat the world record and win $1000.
This jetboat is New Zealand’s fastest. It will take you through a winding course of shallow water at super fast speeds, ending in a 360 degree spin that will have you gripping the edge of your seat!
Freefall Extreme gives you the chance to see what it feels like to skydive. Suspended above a wind column, you’re propelled into the air, while an instructor tells you how to reposition your body for the ultimate flight. Another assistant will help you stay in place by maneuvring your feet and he might even flip you over or spin you around. Tie your hair up tight and try not to dribble!
Both parks together make for a great half day of fun and adventure. I’m not sure anywhere else exists where you can try out so many unique activities in the same afternoon.
GETTING TO ROTORUA
If you have a car, it’s a fairly easy drive to Rotorua from nearby Waitomo or Taupo in just a few hours. Intercity Buses provide services to Rotorua from the following popular destinations (rough times in brackets): Taupo (1 hour); Hamilton (1.5 hours); Auckland (3.5 hours); Gisborne (4.5 hours); or Wellington (8 hours +). Further transfers are available from these locations. Search for journeys using the tool below or click through to the Intercity website to search for bus passes and tours.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at Rotorua Downtown Backpackers, which is very close to the iSITE tourism centre and main bus terminal. There are parking spaces at the front, cooking facilities and a communal area with a mean selection of DVDs. The staff go out of their way to offer advice and can arrange virtually any trip or discount combo in the area.
I was a guest of Zorb and Agroventures. Neither company requested that I write a favourable review and any opinions expressed here are my own.