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Rotorua, New Zealand: An adrenaline junkie’s guide

By Rosslyn Sinclair 10 September 2020

Header images courtesy of Yoann Laheurte and Joseph Greve (via Unsplash)

With so many exciting experiences that one can take part in, New Zealand is definitely the place to be if you’re looking for a good sense of humour and some wild activities. New Zealand is split into the North and South Island, and Rotorua lies on the northern side, a two-hour-and-forty-minute drive south of Auckland. Rotorua is most known for its geothermal activity and Māori heritage and is situated along Lake Rotorua.

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Rotorua offers numerous action-packed activities for adrenaline junkies to explore. First off is The Skyline Luge. This luge is super fun as you zip down through the forest, making you feel a part of the Rotorua wilderness. One of the best parts of this activity is the cable car you get to take to get to the top of the path. This cable car overlooks the whole of Rotorua and the lake, especially on a clear day.

Unfortunately, when we went, it was majorly overcast and we did the luge in the pouring rain and cold. Not only were we practically blind going down the luge, but our fingers were frozen shut on the handles of our carts. We had to take “heat breaks” in the restaurant to warm up and dry off before going on our next round. We definitely don’t recommend going on a rainy day, especially in the autumn or springtime when it’s still a little chilly.

If you ever want to feel like a kid again, the ZORB is a goofy activity for you and your friends to partake in. The name sounds complicated but it’s really just you and two other people rolling down a hill in a gigantic plastic ball. Think of it as “bubble soccer” but triple the size. It sounds silly and pointless, but this activity will really have you and your friends laughing till your stomach hurts, crashing against one another while rolling down a hill. There’s even a hot tub for you to relax and warm up after your ride, or as you are waiting for your turn.

If you’re in it for the real deal, head down south to Taupo Bungy to bungee jump or bungee swing. If you don’t really feel like jumping headfirst off a bridge, opt to bungee swing instead, which is when two people get strapped into a seat and then get swung off the side of a cliff overlooking the Waikato River. The bungee swing is more of a sideways motion rather than a vertical drop, but it definitely gives you a good taste of how bungee jumping feels.

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Velocity Valley is an adventure park with many activities to partake in. If you’re feeling competitive, get into the Shweeb, a self-propelled rollercoaster. The goal is to pedal faster than your competitor to win the race. It is also environmentally-friendly and serves as a good workout. There’s also the Agrojet, a jet boat ride on the lake that’ll make you feel like you’re in a race car. Lastly, the Swoop is a three-man swing where you get strapped into body bags and then dive headfirst off an 11-storey building. Sounds scary, but it’s less intimidating than the bungee swing.

Perhaps not as physically demanding as the rest—but nonetheless exciting—is a visit to Hobbiton. This is where the Lord of the Rings films and The Hobbit trilogy were filmed. Now open to visitors, the film set spans across quite a few acres of land, so you really feel like you’re in a different world, surrounded by houses that are barely five feet tall with large round doors. Each house was left just the way it was shown in the films, so for any die-hard fans, this would be your desired attraction. Walking around the set is a great way to recharge and if you get peckish, there are also cute cafés and restaurants for you to stop by to take a rest or grab a coffee.

The activities on offer are really unique and strictly monitored, which is why most activities, as well as the food, are fairly expensive, but New Zealand is definitely one of the safest places in the world to take part in these rides and activities because they’re well maintained and the scenery is spectacular. Perfect for travellers looking to immerse themselves in nature in more exhilarating ways!

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Rosslyn Sinclair


Rosslyn is currently working on her undergraduate degree in Montreal—however, her interests run far beyond the classroom. She craves hands-on learning through new experiences in different countries and cultures. Raised in Hong Kong, she’s had the privilege to travel to numerous Asia-Pacific regions within arm’s reach. Therefore, with any spare time available, Rosslyn is up for new adventures, whether it be action-packed or simply lounging by the beach soaking up some rays.