Just a small write up about the trip up to Rotorua I took with my family over New Years…

After driving up on New Years day we had lunch by the lake, watching the sightseeing helicopters come and go from the jetty. Then after driving around a bit more it was time to head over the building where we would start our Canopy Tour from (Website Link).

After getting all of the safety gear fitted we were taken out to the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve by the minivan. Near the start of the walk we encountered a little North Island Black Robin that hangs around the track waiting for the tours to pass by, Dad and I were given tiny worms which the bird would fly down and grab from out of our hands. We continued along the trail for another five minutes before climbing a set of stairs up to the start of the first zip-line. After a safety briefing we set off down the first of six zip-lines of the tour, a short and pretty low one compared to what was to come later on.

On the other side of the first zip-line we came across a long swing-bridge which (unsurprisingly) swings around quite a lot when several people are on it at once. Another couple of zip-lines later we were at the highest point of the tour, standing on a platform 22 meters up a 1000 year old tree. It’s quite something to be near something that old, and as high as it felt to be up there it was only halfway up this giant tree. The next zip-line was probably my favorite, after stepping backwards down the steps which were hanging out over nothing we were challenged to let got of our harness and fall backwards. Later inspection of the video showed that I still had one hand gripped onto the rope when I fell backwards (even though I don’t remember grabbing it). It was an exhilarating feeling dropping off that platform,and several seconds after starting to slide down the cable I realized why we had been told to go down this one backwards. From down the zip-line we got an awesome view back to the platform we were just on, suspended in the middle of this gigantic tree. The views weren’t diminished at all as I span away from the tree, this 220 meter long zip-line showed off this beautiful green forest in a truly incredible way.

We zip-lined down the next cable which was technically the highest zip-line of the day, even though it didn’t feel that much higher because we were about the same distance from the tree tops underneath as we usually were from the ground. After landing on the platform we descended back down onto the forest floor where our guides talked to us about the conservation efforts they are undertaking in this forest. It was an interesting break from the zip-lining, and I learnt plenty about the kinds of pest control that are being used throughout this forest and the rest of New Zealand. It’s definitely nice to know that the money from these tours is going to a good cause. (More Information Here)

We climbed up to and descended down another zip-line and we came to a much smaller rope bridge where there was a sort of mini photo shoot. After walking out onto the bridge we were instructed to lean off the edge and face the camera, some pretty interesting photos ensued. The tour finished up with the sixth and final zip-line where we were again challenged, this time to go backwards and flip ourselves upside down. Very fun to try although the guide made it look a lot easier than it was. We walked to the van and were taken back into town, all in all it was a very fun tour (and luckily the weather held out right until we got back to the van).

Following the canopy tour we checked into the hotel and then headed into town to find somewhere to have dinner. We didn’t exactly have the best luck as we walked back and forth down ‘Eat Street’. Around a third of the restaurants were closed for the holidays and the other ones all had 40+ minute waits, so we walked back up into town to ‘The Pig & Whistle’. It was a very filling and nice meal, the curly fries in particular were deliciously crispy.

The following day we went for a walk to Okere Falls which starts from the ruins of an old hydro electric power station and follows the river down to the waterfalls. Quite a neat little track to walk on a nice day because there were several white water rafting tours which we could stop and watch along the way. After lunch we then tried out one of the several adventure rooms in Rotorua (Website Link), the general idea is that you are locked in a room and have to solve all sorts of puzzles to escape. Turned out to be a whole lot of fun as everyone rushed around the room looking for clues and trying to work out how to open each lock. We managed to solve everything and get out of the room with seven minutes left out of the one hour we were given.