During my first trip to New Zealand in Feb/March 2011, I visited the Geo-thermal wonderland that is Rotoura.
Rotorua is famous for its Geysers and mud pools. It smells suspiciously like rotten eggs throughout the whole town, but it is really quite a spectacle to behold – walking along and seeing hot mud bubble up from the ground!
The other thing Rotorua is famous for is Zorbing! Zorbing is basically getting in a giant rubber ball and rolling down a hill, amazingly fun! This activity is now done in a number of countries, but it was invented in Rotorua (New Zealand) in 1994, and was a big hit. It is mostly done outdoors in a huge field with hills, but it can also be done indoors. I have since completed this in England (in the same year – August 2011, somewhere in Surrey). As Zorb is a trademark of the company in Rotorua, some companies have opted to call the activity Orbing or Sphering.
There are a few types of rides you can select at Zorb Rotorua, from a double zorb, to wet and dry zorbs. I decided to go in a wet zorb ball. I had my bikini and a change of clothes in the car with me, as we had just driven from Auckland that morning.
The cost (in 2011) was $40 per zorb ride, but I have since looked on www.zorb.com and note that it now costs $45 per ride. I thought this was quite an expensive activity, seeing as you only got one ride. It did include a few photos in the zorb ball which you could have free to upload to your Facebook or email to yourself. Unfortunately the camera in my zorb wasn’t working on my day, so I got no photos; only what my mum could take.
After signing all the forms that what I was about to take part in could be harmful and I could die (they do have to say that, but I did here of someone that actually did die earlier this year in Russia as their Zorb rolled off down and mountain!) I waited on the Landover to take me up to the top of the hill.
The experience itself was fantastic – it was like being in a giant washing machine. A little rough, bumpy and disorientating, but amazingly fun! Getting in and out of the tiny wee space was a little difficult, so best to make sure what you are wearing is secure enough and not going to slip off as you get in and out!
If you are in Rotorua, I’d definitely check this out. In New Zealand, there are various discount booklets you can use. One from Jasons.co.nz which is normally at most airports. Additionally, some online companies can have offers if you keep an eye out, such as www.grabone.co.nz and www.bookme.co.nz
Other things to do in Rotorua
If you are planning on going to Rotorua, and are not into Zorbing, there are a number of other things you can immerse yourself in, including cultural shows, going to a spa and being covered in geothermal mud, visiting Wai-o-tapu geothermal wonderland (http://www.waiotapu.co.nz/) the gondola and luge (similar to Queenstown), and the Paradise Valley Springs wildlife park.