MISSION: EXPAND YOUR WORLD
Rotorua, New Zealand: Home of
New Zealanders readily admit
that, because there’s not a whole lot to do in some
parts of the country, they’ll go to great lengths to
create new kinds of fun. The city of Rotorua
on the North Island of New Zealand is full of people
who are dedicated to creating exciting experiences. In
fact, they've created a virtual supermarket of adventure
activities in which natives and travelers alike can
partake, including bungee
jumping, skydiving, wind surfing, white water rafting,
mountain biking and jet powered boat rides.
Of course, for a
New Zealander, it's hard to be content with just that.
So a few folks in Roturua
devised a whole new type of outrageous sport. They took the old
concept of rolling yourself down a hillside in a barrel
with an ingenious invention called the Zorb, a clear plastic inflatable ball within a
holds one or more adventure-craving passengers.
The outer ball is about 15
feet in diameter, and the inner ball, or passenger
compartment, is suspended inside by nylon strands. As
you spin down the hillside the outer ball absorbs the
shocks and bumps, leaving you rolling smoothly inside.
You can choose between riding
loose inside the inner ball with water for lubrication
(affectionately known as the “wash cycle”) or you can
opt to be
harnessed into place so that your whole body rolls and
spins as the Zorb does, while up to 4 g’s of centrifugal
force keep you pressed against the wall.
Zorbing is the gentlest of
extreme sports, offering a wild ride without the extreme
bodily danger. No training is required except for the
explanations that immediately precede your ride, so
anyone in good health can take the plunge and become a “Zorbanaut”.
Want to see
Zorbing in action?
online video to see this wild adventure ride
Every Sunday in September: Need a break
from terra firma? Go for a ride in a glider at Rotorua airport,
courtesy of the Rotorua Gliding Club. The fun starts at
11 am at the north end of the airport. Call
Don Grigg at (07) 348
3221 for information and prices. Through October.
Fly to Auckland International
Airport, then switch to a domestic flight to Rotorua
Airport. If you’re driving from Auckland to Rotorua, the
trip will take about two and a half hours.
Ward off bad
luck with Maori jade
The Maori people
are known for their intricate jade sculptures and have
been honing this
time-honored skill since the 12th century. Their
sculpture has special significance for the Maori, who
believe it bestows the carrier with supernatural powers. Traditionally
depicted with the head of a bird, the body of a man and
the tail of a fish—representing
the balance between the sky, earth and sea—Maori
natives believe the Manaia protects the wearer from evil.
JadeFactory.com, starting at $58 NZD (about $37 US)
Take a peek
is surrounded by volcanic activity, erupting geysers and
bubbling mud pools. You can look
out the window of the Regal Geyserland Quality Hotel in Rotorua
this live webcam, which
the thermal valley of Whakarewarewa, Pohutu Geyser and
Te Puia’s bubbling mud pools and boiling waters.