New Zealand is known as the birthplace of many extreme activities. You need look no further than bungy jumping *been there* or giant canyon swings *done that* for proof of that.  Zorbing is another out-there activity courtesy of our kiwi friends.  Is there something in the cool, refreshing water perhaps?

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New Zealand is known as the birthplace of many extreme activities. You need look no further than bungy jumping *been there* or giant canyon swings *done that* for proof of that.  Zorbing is another out-there activity courtesy of our kiwi friends.  Is there something in the cool, refreshing water perhaps?

For the uninitiated, it sounds pretty ridiculous.  Pay money to roll down a hill in a giant beach ball, which is inside another even more giant beach ball.  Wow, now that I write that, as a person who has done it even, it sounds pretty crazy.

I had purchased a “Tri-riffic Giftbox” online from the Zorb Z-Shop ahead of time, and arranged to have it delivered right to the Zorb Rotorua office.  This gave me 3 passes for zorb rides, as well as some silly collectables like a fridge magnet and lanyard.  Most importantly it saved me a few bucks (20% even), important for a long term traveler like myself.  I arrived about lunch time, mostly due to my laziness, and paid for it with the scorching sun blazing right above me onto my pale flesh.

There is a quick computerized sign in process, they take a fuzzy webcam photo, which is followed by a printout where you sign all of your rights away (a typical waiver).  You’re outfitted with a wristband ala the time you stood in line to get tickets to your favourite band in the 90’s, or your last visit to the hospital.  Come on already, let’s get rolling!

There are 2 types of Zorb rides, the Zorbit or ‘dry’ and the Zydro or ‘wet.’  There are two paths for the Zydro, giving you 3 possible choices for a solo ride.  What do you know, I have three passes!

Looking up from the bottom, I was a little underwhelmed, but from the top looking down, it’s a little more menacing.  I decide to go for the Finished the Zorbit, NEXT!Zorbit (dry) first.  I hop in through a hole in the side, and I’m instructed on how to strap myself in.  I’m sure I hear the instructor say that I’ll need to wait awhile, which is bad news since sitting in a big plastic ball in the heat of the day is less than comfortable.  Seconds later though, I find myself rolling down the hill, backwards.  I've been tricked!  The Zorb accelerates down the hill, and I’m actually looking forward to it being over.  Less than a minute later I’m at the bottom of the hill.  Yay.

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Looking up from the bottom, I was a little underwhelmed, but from the top looking down, it’s a little more menacing.  I decide to go for the Finished the Zorbit, NEXT!Zorbit (dry) first.  I hop in through a hole in the side, and I’m instructed on how to strap myself in.  I’m sure I hear the instructor say that I’ll need to wait awhile, which is bad news since sitting in a big plastic ball in the heat of the day is less than comfortable.  Seconds later though, I find myself rolling down the hill, backwards.  I've been tricked!  The Zorb accelerates down the hill, and I’m actually looking forward to it being over.  Less than a minute later I’m at the bottom of the hill.  Yay.

Heading back up, I’m going Zydro (wet) this time.  This Zorb is a little different, with just one hole in the side that zips closed behind you so you don't slide out.  This is important.  They dump some water inside, and I dive in.  This ride will be on the zig-zag track, with me inside sloshing about.  It's a great time, sliding up and down the sides, bouncing around even, and it’s sad when it's over.  Where is the bigger hill now?  I’m drenched from top to bottom when I slide out.  Watch the video below or the HD version.  Thanks to my friends from Austin, Texas for filming me with my cam.

 Finally, I head back up a final time for the Zydro (wet) straight down the hill.  It’s certainly nothing special.  You essentially stay at the bottom of the Zorb as it rolls quickly down the hill.  There is a sense of speed, maybe like a straight waterslide, but that’s about it.  This is in comparison to the awesome sliding & flying around you are doing on the zig-zag track, which you can see in the video.

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 Finally, I head back up a final time for the Zydro (wet) straight down the hill.  It’s certainly nothing special.  You essentially stay at the bottom of the Zorb as it rolls quickly down the hill.  There is a sense of speed, maybe like a straight waterslide, but that’s about it.  This is in comparison to the awesome sliding & flying around you are doing on the zig-zag track, which you can see in the video.

 
So my final Zorb review?  There are only two places in the world to do it (Rotorua in New Zealand & Smoky Mountains in the USA), so if you’re in the area of one, I’d recommend it.  The Zydro (wet) on the zig-zag was by far the best.  If I were to do it all again, I’d do it all three times.  Bring a swimsuit.

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So my final Zorb review?  There are only two places in the world to do it (Rotorua in New Zealand & Smoky Mountains in the USA), so if you’re in the area of one, I’d recommend it.  The Zydro (wet) on the zig-zag was by far the best.  If I were to do it all again, I’d do it all three times.  Bring a swimsuit.

A single Zorb ride at Zorb Rotorua will run you between $49NZ - $59NZ ($35-43CDN) with discounts available for more rides or more groups.  Zorb Rotorua is open 364 days a year so pop in, say hi, and go for a ride.

The Zorb Rotorua folks are active on Twitter and you can follow them here

Taa-Daa! Thumbs up obviously for the dismount.

Taa-Daa! Thumbs up obviously for the dismount.

 

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