For great views over Rotorua, you can’t get much better than the panoramic surroundings seen from the top of Mt Ngongotaha.
Just take the gondola up, and soon you’ll travel along 900 metres of cableway at 487 metres above sea level, looking out over Rotorua, the lake, Mt Tarawera, the amazing geothermal activity and surrounding hinterlands.Once I got to the top, I found out about the amazing luge rides available on three different tracks.
The luge was a world first in Rotorua, and was designed and built locally. It’s basically a fun-filled gravity ride on a three wheel cart using a unique braking and steering system. There’s a special double seater chairlift where you can hook your cart underneath so it gets back to the top just as quickly as you do.
To start with, I checked out the scenic luge track, which is recommended for first-timers. This is a 2 kilometre ride through Redwood trees, and you can even pull over at rest areas on the way down to take some snaps if you want to. Sweet.
Controlling the cart was fairly easy to get the hang of, as you just simply pushed the handlebar forward to go, and pulled it back to brake. Easy. Even a kid could do it, as they were racing round the track just as fast as their mums and dads.
Next up, it was the intermediate track. This is a 1.7km track overlooking the city. This one’s got spirals and loops along the way to keep you on your toes, and even better if you’ve brought a few mates along, you can have an awesome race on the way down.
After the intermediate track, I was feeling ready to tackle the advanced track. This is a one kilometre thrilling and exhilarating ride famous for the ‘Big Dipper’. Wow, what a ride, it was wicked!
There’s even a café and restaurant at the top of the gondola, so if you feel like a break from tuna and noodles, this could be a prime opportunity to sample some of New Zealand’s finest cuisine while enjoying the view from the top. It doesn’t get much better than this.
If you’re still feeling energetic, there’s even more exciting activities available from the top, including the 50 metre high sky swing, scenic helicopter flights and a range of walking tracks with great views down below.
Skyline Skyrides is on Fairy Springs Road, Rotorua.
It is open daily from 9am until late. The scenic and intermediate tracks are both lit from 5pm during summer for night luge riding.