Adrenalin junkies listen up! There’s a place in Rotorua called Agroventures where you can get your fix of flying, falling, speeding and pedalling all in one spot.
It’s a unique place with a world first, Schweeb – a human powered monorail race track; Rotorua Bungy – a New Zealand icon; Agrojet – the fastest jet boat in the country; New Zealand’s only Swoop – where you can plummet towards the earth at 130kmph, and the Southern Hemisphere’s only Freefall Xtreme – body flying.
Rotorua Bungy rises 43 metres (142ft) above the Ngongotaha Stream, with scenic views of the farmlands, Mokoia Island and Lake Rotorua.
But the views were the last thing on my mind as I prepared to plummet towards the stream at amazing speed. My palms were sweaty and I even had the shakes as I stood at the top waiting for the countdown to begin. Then it was 3-2-1- Bungy! Before I knew it, my instant reaction was to dive forward, hurling myself off the platform with everything I’d got. Wow! Plunging towards the stream below, I screamed as if my lungs were going to pop out, as I hoped and prayed the bungy cord wasn’t too long.
Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhh! Finally I felt the cord pull and I went shooting back up into the air watching the ground rush past beneath me. Amazing!
As if I hadn’t produced enough adrenalin, next up was Rotorua Swoop.
This involves being hoisted 40 metres into the air high above the Ngongotaha Stream, in a sleeping bag-type hang gliding harness, and then pulling a ripcord which plunges you into an exhilarating swoop towards the ground at 130mph.
I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pull the ripcord myself, as I thought if I got freaked out up there I’d just be stuck up there for days, maybe even weeks, if I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Luckily, one of the staff offered to join me, as you can swoop with one, two or three people at a time.
As we were hoisted up, the ground slowly got further and further away until the people watching below just looked like little ants on the ground. I was shaking so much I clung onto my harness until my knuckles turned white and it seemed to take an eternity before we got up to 40 metres.
As we dangled at the top, I wondered how long we would be hanging until the ripcord was pulled. Wooooooaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! We hurtled towards the ground so fast I hardly had time to catch my breath and I definitely left my stomach hovering over the stream somewhere.
Rotorua Agrojet was next on my agenda. Dubbed as New Zealand’s fastest jet-boating experience, I was told by the driver that we’d be getting up to speeds of 0-100kph in 4.5 seconds, so I had a feeling I’d be flying by the seat of my pants. The G-force sensation is like being in a Formula One racing car in full throttle. Well, with a hot 400Ci Chevy engine delivering a pulsing 450 horsepower to the single stage jet unit I can’t argue with that!
After getting comfy in my bucket seat, I clicked my four-point race harness and held my breath for take off!
It was amazing how light the boat was as we sped off, it almost felt like we were skimming across the water. The wind rushed past as we sped along, zipping round corners and just narrowly missing the edges. I have to admit, my foot was on the imaginary brake for most of the time!
After three fast and furious laps, we finished with a 360-degree spin which was totally awesome. It was over too quickly but a great jet-boating experience which leaves you wanting more!
The Shweeb was next on the list. It might sound strange at first, but the Shweeb involves stepping into a clear capsule with a set of pedals at your feet. Holding on to the handle above my head, I was going to be racing another girl around the 200m rail circuit which varies in height between two and four metres above the ground. We were both given a push start, then it was up to us to pedal as fast as we could to get round the track first. But I was also told not to over-do it, better to keep a steady pace as we had three circuits to go!
The farmland around us whizzed by as we powered through three laps of the course, reaching speeds of up to 45kph and taking 60 degree angles on the bends.
Pedalling like fury, I was never exactly sure where my opponent was, but I just focused on looking ahead and keeping a good pace.
Even though I came in second, it was a great ride, and I remembered what my old headteacher used to tell me about it not always being about the winning, it’s the taking part that counts. Aaaah bless him!
Finally, the Freefall Xtreme was calling me. It was my chance to feel what it’s like to fly like Superman, without even wearing a cape. Although you do get a fetching jumpsuit to wear, which I’m sure sets a few fashion statements of its own.
Being suspended up to four metres high in mid air by the sheer strength of 180kph winds gives you the feeling of a skydive without even stepping out of a plane.
So how does it work, I hear you ask? Well, this state of the art wind tunnel. is powered by a 940-horse power diesel engine, which turns a DC3 aircraft propeller, producing a wind column of up to 180 kilometres per hour.
At first, it was tricky to get the hang of it, but once I got used to it, it really did feel like I was flying. Even though my face was getting stretched around by the force of the wind, it probably gave a few laughs to the people watching. Superman is so last season anyway!
Agroventures is 10km north of Rotorua, off State Highway 5 in Paradise Valley Road. It is approximately a 10 minute drive or transport is available by shuttle bus.
The Rotorua Activity Shuttle leaves Tourism Rotorua Travel Centre on Fenton Street every hour except 1pm, arriving at the Zorb at approximately half past the hour. It costs $5 each way to Agrodome/Zorb or $15 for a day pass. The shuttle goes past Te Puia, Skyline Sky Rides and Rainbow Springs. It runs every day.
Agroventures has been operating at the Agrodome complex since 1988, which is a 300 acre real New Zealand working farm.
Agroventures originally starting out with Rotorua Bungy and Agrojet. One year later the Swoop opened, followed by Freefall Xtreme in 2003 and Shweeb in 2007.
Agroventures is an all weather adventure centre open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9am until 5pm. Combo packages are available.