Zorbing in Rotorua is so much FUN. Seriously! Who would want to miss out on a piece of the action? Youngsters? Doubt it. They'll be frothing at the mouth to do it anyway. Those of us on the older side? Might take a bit of persuading but hey, why not go for it! We like to play too, don't we? Come on, back me up here.
If you don't know, Zorbing is simply rolling down a hill in a huge plastic ball (the Zorb or OGO ball) with another ball inside it (you’re in this one). Think of the mice barrels.
In Rotorua, two companies provide what is commonly referred to as zorbing, OGO Rotorua and Zorb Rotorua. Both are located on the western side of the city.
With both operations, you're either strapped into a harness and held in place for a head over heels dry ride or, you free-wheel in a zorb partially filled with water.
The rides take place on grass tracks either
straight or winding. OGO also has a patent pending on the Fishpipe
water barrel ride (pictured below).
Of course it's fun. I tried zorbing when a friend gave me a couple of tickets. She had bought them on Grab One and couldn’t use them herself. Due to expire at the end of the day in question - I know, no notice whatsoever - it was now or never.
It was winter, it was cold, it was raining… see what I go through for my site visitors. I tell you, it’s tough at times. ;)
I took a towel and suitable clothing out to Zorb Rotorua… yes, I was going to be brave and have the wet experience. For that I would need dry clothing to get changed back into.
There were a few hardy souls about including a couple of young English boys who had already been down a few times. Wet and shivering they still had to go back for more. No way were they missing out.
We jumped into the onsite vehicle to head up the hill to the zorb and watched as everyone took their turn. I was relieved when it got to my turn to find out that the water inside the zorb was warm.
I don’t know that there's a dignified way of getting into a zorb. I dove in head first, came to a screeching halt halfway - stuck on the plastic - then had to wiggle the rest of the way before falling face-first into the lukewarm water. It was lovely, like being in a steamy spa.
Once the zorb got going I laughed and laughed. It was like being a bug in a giant washing machine. The only thing missing were the soapsuds. Swish up one side then the other, water up my nose, in my hair, I was soaked. It was such fun though. If it had been a warmer day I would have gone back up again and again. It could get addictive. Funny thing though, I see that the shortest ride is about 40 seconds. It feels quite a lot longer when you’re in the ball.
But that's enough about me, let's get onto our two zorbing companies.
Why am I featuring OGO first? Well, there’s a bit of a back story here. Andrew Ackers is the co-inventor of the zorb and one of the original owners of Zorb Rotorua. Yes, our other Rotorua zorbing company. He and his brother David built the business up over the years taking on shareholders etc who ended up controlling the business basically.
Long story short, the brothers sold up their shares and left the company in 2006. Why? The good old corporate culture takeover. I'm not saying it was bad, people usually do what they do for the best of reasons in their view. It's just sad when something like that happens?
It must have taken a lot to come back, but come back they did. In 2009, they got together with Chris Roberts. He was a stakeholder in Zorb Rotorua who had also left shortly after the brothers. Subsequently, Chris went on to launch the first OGO in the States. Joining up, the three worked on taking OGO to the world and also the Fishpipe (invented by David I think) setting up a number of sites before finally heading back to Rotorua to launch OGO Rotorua. And back to the site where they had first opened Zorb Rotorua before it moved to it's current location. Serendipitous methinks.
OGO Rotorua is located on the side of Mt Ngongotaha overlooking Lake Rotorua and Mokoia Island. The rides are wet (h2ogo 1,2,3 persons) and dry (harness ogo, 1 person at the moment, the WEGO for 2 is coming). Grass tracks are up to 250m long and the sidewinder is possibly the longest track in the world.
A new addition is the Fishpipe. This is a huge static barrel that can be slowed down if needed for kiddies. It goes (fast) for 1.5 minutes or about 600m and can be wet (h2 fishpipe, 1,2,3 people) or dry (harness 1,2 people) depending on what’s going on.
525 Ngongotaha Rd, Fairy Springs
Phone: +64 7 343 7676
Freephone: 0800 OGO ROTORUA (0800 646 768)
Fax: +64 7 343 7656
Hours & Prices
9am-6pm summer hours, 9am-5pm winter hours (I think), 7 days a week, closed Christmas Day.
All hail to the original zorbing in Rotorua experience which is the one that I visited and, as I said above, it was a most fabulous ride.
The staff were lovely people, very solicitous. Somehow I don’t think they believed I was going to do it. Just because we’re getting older doesn’t mean we don't want to live a little, does it?
With Zorb Rotorua, in addition to the straight and winding track variations there is another simply called The Drop, (scary sounding). The rides are wet (zydro 1,2,3 people) and dry (zorbit 1 person).
So much to consider.
Cnr Western Rd & SH5, Ngongotaha (heading out of town to Auckland)
Phone: +64 7 357 5100
Freephone: 0800 227474
Fax: +64 7 357 5102
Hours & Prices
9am-5,6,7pm depending on time of year, 7 days a week, closed Christmas Day
Check out the google map to get your bearings for driving to OGO Rotorua and Zorb Rotorua.
If you're on foot, no problem, the CityRide Bus - Route 1 runs every ½ hour Mon-Sat and hourly on a Sunday. It stops by Skyline Skyrides and Rainbow Springs, with a short walk heading away from the city to OGO Rotorua. It also stops by the Agrodome which is across the road from Zorb Rotorua with Agroventures just around the corner (access is underneath the highway too).
If you're thinking of doing any of these other activities it may pay to do them all on the same day. Start early and take lots of fuel as you will burn quite a bit of energy.
Is there food available?
OGO has ice blocks and drinks.
What ages are catered for?
6yrs and up.
What do I need to take?
Something you can get wet in and a towel.
Can swimwear be hired?
OGO hires out swimwear, $5 at the moment, and Zorb Rotorua sells packs of a towel, shorts and top.
What about toilets/change rooms?
Toilets and a change cubicle are located at both premises
Are there any restricitons?
There are differing weight restrictions, mainly if you are over 120-130k for different rides. Also height and medical conditions, you may want to check out the Zorb Rotorua site for these.
How long do the rides last?
Anywhere from 40secs and up.
Is zorbing worth the money?
I think so but that's only my opinion and who doesn't like a bit of fun.
What’s the parking like?
Both zorbing in Rotorua sites have heaps of parking.