New Zealand: Head Over Heels!

by Pamela Hruska

There are some days that are more trying than others when traveling. This can depend on a variety of circumstances – weather, bug bites, rental car troubles, what have you…we’ve all got our unique little spurts of lackluster days.

While navigating through Rotorua, New Zealand, let’s just say I did a less than stellar job of pronouncing street names. This great ‘Sulphur City’ is plagued with tongue twisting names, impossible for the non-Maori tourist to pronounce. In the end this not only twists ones tongue, but also causes a great twist in direction – and consequently, can leave you quite turned around – or in our case, just plain lost.

If you have been there, you can attest to the fact that the sulphur intoxication of this region can be less than charming. In spite of the aroma, this popular tourist attraction in the north island has earned the name ‘Roto-Vegas’. It boasts experiences such as Maori cultural concerts and Hangi (meals cooked in an earth oven), trout filled lakes, hot springs, geysers, mud baths, and some extremely thrilling activities.

After being lost, tired, hungry, staying in a circa 1900’s prison cell like hostel, and quite affected by the stench – my friend and I took on one last adventure on our way south. It was booked for 0800. I am not a morning person. Given the preceding events you can imagine the state I was in.

We arrived at the Agrodome Adventure Park. I slumped out of the car, and into a cold wet suit. At this early hour, I was on my way to become a Zorbonaut and I was not sure what to make of it all! Waiting for us in our cold suits was a cheerful and teasing kiwi who drove us to the top of a hill, where we then impregnated the Zorb.

The name alone makes you curious doesn’t it?!

The Zorb is a giant inflated ball filled with 13 cubic meters of air between an inner and outer sphere. The person(s) inside the two joined spheres, ‘the Zorbonaut(s)’, can choose between being harnessed into the sphere, or to be loose inside with 25L of hot water. With that said, if you choose the hydro adventure, I do recommend that you cease to tease the friendly driver shortly before impregnating the Zorb – or the water inside is ice cold!


So there we were, inside the Zorb with a bucket of water, (I will refrain from stating what the temperature was), parked high on top of a hill held back by one little piece of gate. The trick of Zorbing is to try to stay on your feet the whole time down the slope, running inside like a little hamster. It is a challenge – and if you succeed you win another Zorbing experience for free.

Given that I am a slightly competitive soul, I was peaked, ready to take on the challenge! The gate let go and I started to run! I got as far as about two steps and then I kicked out my friend’s feet, she fell, I fell on top of her, and we spent the rest of the time crying with laughter and trying to get back up.

It was incredible fun! To this day I get a big grin when I think about it.
Sometimes all you need is a little spin in the Zorb to pick you up and put the smile back on your face!

I highly recommend Zorbing to everyone at any age. You can find it in various countries around the world. Regretfully, no one in Canada has franchised yet, but I think everyone should have a Zorb in their back yard for stress relief! Get out there, and get your own personal daVinci style photo of you in the Zorb!

  • New Zealand: Head Over Heels!
  • by Pamela Hruska
  • Published on October 1st, 2003
New Zealand

More from :

Other recent features: