Zorb, Shweeb and the Polynesian Spa!
Check out the photos from our time in Rotorua here: NZ Rotorua 2010
We awoke Tuesday morning and after finally finding good vegan breakfast food (it was the best I had yet enjoy) we set off on our drive to Rotorua to enjoy a day full of adventure sports and relaxing spas! The drive to Rotorua took us along the geothermal scenic route (the whole basin is a volcanic crater) and we marked down several waterfalls and geothermal spots to visit on our drive back. We did pull off into a random scenic lookout and found Waipunga Falls — a gorgeous waterfall waiting for us! I guess when Kiwis say “scenic lookout” they truly do mean it!
Upon arrival to Rotorua we drove out to the Agrodome to begin our adventure sports. First up? The zorb! For those not familiar with zorbing you are essentially placed into a huge plastic ball with a pseudo womb inside filled with some water (so you can glide around inside) and buffeted with air to cushion the ride down the hill. So, in 4 degree Centigrade weather (thats about 40 degrees Fahrenheit using a quick conversion) we changed into our swimsuits and were driven to the top of the grassy hill! At the top of the hill Noah was the first one up and it was an interesting experience! Knape and I watched as Noah launched himself into the zorb ball, head and arms first, as if diving into the ocean! Noah gave the all-clear sign once inside the zorb and sealed in, and after a slight push we watched as his zorb bounced, rolled and flew down the curves of the hill! Even though Knape and I were freezing, imagine what a rush that was to see him zorbing! Once Noah was safely at the bottom I went second and dove right into the ball (which was actually nice and toasty with the warm water) and prepared to take off down the hill. Zorbing is truly like nothing else in the world; you are inside this womb of sorts and you slide all around the ball as you wind down the hillside while bouncing, sliding and more. It was truly such a rush to experience that! When the ride is over, you actually don’t want to get out of the warmth of the zorb. But when they unzip the flap and tilt the ball you quite literally fall out feet first onto the ground below. WOW! So much fun! Knape was up next and Noah was able to have the camera ready and got some video footage of her ride down the hill! Immediately following our individual experiences we all quickly said “let’s do that again… but this time go down together.” So off we went up the hillside again. This time we all three dove into the same zorb ball, it was filled with water, and off we went down the hillside together in the same zorb ball; what an experience!! We tumbled, rolled, slid, bounced, and sloshed our way down the hill in an experience together that none of us will soon forget!
After zorbing our next adventure sport was shweebing across the street at the Agrodome. The Agrodome is basically a large, well, agro-centre, where you have many farm/adventure sports on one campus. The shweeb is akin to a roller-coaster meets monorail; riders hang below a monorail track in pedal-power capsules lying almost flat on your back. The dual tracks form a race circuit, so Noah and I were able to compete on the course. Noah did the shweeb with me and Knape took video of us. After a brief intro to the instructions we were off on the race! We peddled hard for three laps and then it took two laps around the track to slow us down enough to stop! I won the race beating Noah by several seconds and even finished above average in my age class (yeah, that does make me feel pretty good)!
We finished up our day at the Agrodome with a visit to the sheep shearing barn and after a few creepy-looking photos we checked out the shops and drove back to Rotorua. We went to dinner at a local restaurant called Fat Dog which had an interesting decor and pretty good food selection. Following dinner we went off to enjoy the Polynesian Spa for several hours. The spa contains a set of natural geothermal mineral pools for bathing; you begin at 39 degrees Centigrade and slowly move yourself up to 43 degrees Centigrade. The spa pools were incredible and felt great and very relaxing after a day of adventure sports. Unfortunately, stepping out of them found us getting cold rather quickly since the weather outside was around 4 degrees Centigrade (just above freezing). I even got the chance to do some bickram yoga in the spa pools and also got to meditate a lot about the trip and life in general. Good times were had by all; especially Knape who seemed to really enjoy the spa!
Have you ever been zorbing? How about a natural geothermal mineral spa? Let me know in the comments!