on September 30, 2007
Kiwis are insatiable when it comes to extreme sports. Zorbing is a perfect example of a unique Kiwi experience. Just imagine getting into a huge washing machine and going down a hill at 50km per hour. This is ‘zorbing’. Zorbing is a not so new sport that emerged in 1972 in Rotorua, next to the Agrodome (where you will learn everything you wanted about sheep). When I arrived at the Agrodome Theme Park, the first thing I noticed was the huge inflatable rubber spheres rolling down a 200m straight track at full speed with one or two people in it and the empty spheres being towed uphill on a special escalator. After enquiring about the options of zorbing and the prices, I learnt that I had the choice between ‘dry zorbing’ or ‘wet zorbing’. With dry zorbing, I could get into a sphere, and be strapped while going downhill. ‘Wet zorbing’ (or Hydro Zorb) is a bit more extreme: two full buckets of (more or less) warm water are poured into the sphere and you are not strapped. Since it was not too cold that day (April 2002), I chose to be a zorbonaut of a Wet Zorb. I was then asked to jump into the Zorb through a small hole and stand up. If I could manage to stand up and run all the way downhill, I would have a second ride for free and win a T-Shirt. However, as soon as the sphere started rolling down, I fell and felt completely disoriented for the whole ride which merely lasted for twenty to thirty seconds. I could only feel water around me. A perfect washing machine experience! No second ride for free, nor no free t-shirt but a fun experience! I heard that after 2002 (I was there in April 2002), they added a new zigzag track (shame I was not there to try it). You can zorb anytime between 9am and 5pm (8pm from December to March) for 45 NZD (+ 2 NZD to borrow clothes and a towel if you choose the wet zorb). To get to the Agrodome, there is an hourly shuttle service from the Tourist Office in Rotorua. Kids can also zorb on a flat track in a smaller sphere for 10 NZD. Not especially cheap for such a short experience but overall a lot of fun and laughs! And I would definitely do it again!
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