Review of Skyline Rotorua Gondola and Luge – Fun Family Adventure!
We had our first campervan trip in New Zealand last week where we travelled around Rotorua, Bay of Plenty region and enjoyed a very packed 5 days filled with all kinds of activities – natural hot springs in the forest, luxery spa hot pools, 10k race in Redwoods, hiking, bursting geysers, zorbing, museums, experiencing Maori culture and a very new experience for us – Gondola and Luge!
What is Luge?
That’s the first thing I asked when Ashique suggested we do this as one of our ‘thrill seeking’ activities! In Rotorua this fun activity is provided by Skyline Luge Rotorua and in their words – “Part go-cart, part toboggan, the Rotorua Luge offers a truly unique outdoor experience that should be on your list of things to do in Rotorua” Kids wanted to do it as soon as we described to them what it was. You go on a gondola up the mountain and come winding down in a go cart! It is quite centrally located just a 10 minute drive from Rotorua City Centre. Winter opening hours are 9am to 5pm. A family ticket for 2 adults and 2 kids cost $69 to start with but there are all kinds of deals here depending on how many rides or what else you want to combine the luge rides with. The picture below visually describes exactly what you will be doing.
It was a Bank holiday weekend – Queen’s Birthday – so we had the Monday off. Not sure if it is always this crowded or as a result of the long weekend. We got there late morning and already there were large crowds and long lines to get tickets. It’s the first time in New Zealand that we faced long queues anywhere. We took this scenic Gondola ride up the valley with lovely views of Rotorua lake and surrounding countryside. We got helmets on and then waited half an hour in the queue for the first ride down. Once the ride was over you get to take another scenic chairlift ride back up to the restaurant area. At first I was nervous but once we started it was great fun!
The great thing about luging (is that even a word?) was the fact that kids of all ages could do it. We saw little ones aged 4 perhaps sitting in front of their moms or dads and kids a bit older riding on their own. Shama who is 7 could do on her own as well. There were 3 different levels you could do. The first time we did the beginners level, was just perfect for me. Second time around Ashique and Shahaar did the intermediate level. There was an advanced level as well for hardcore adventure and thrill seekers! The Gondola ride was fun as was the ‘ski lift’ ride back to the base where the café and restaurant was located and where the luge ride started.
At some point during the windy ride down, there is a side detour you can take and stop to take pictures with these dinosaurs!
The track was very windy at times but there are signs from before telling you to slow down. Obviously not everyone took this as a sign to slow down but rather speed up so they can then do a crazy turn when they get to the bend. Certain people from our group tried this too 😉 I kept it nice and steady the whole time.
Shama and I enjoyed a lovely meal at the café whilst Shahaar and Ashique went back for the second ride. Kids also enjoyed the jelly bean exhibition shop. They spent ages here looking at all the different figures made out of jellybeans!
All in all, a fun experience for the whole family. Something we would definitely recommend to others, only thing I would say is to try to go on a non busy day (if there is any day like that.) If you are adventure lovers like ourselves but need to tone it down if travelling with kids, Luge Rides is one way to get that thrill seeking pleasure whilst being in a safe and fun environment that the kids can enjoy as well.
Besides Auckland, we haven’t been to any other city as such, only lovely beaches, national parks and villages up in the Northland region. So it was quite nice to experience another city – not sure if Rotorua would qualify as a city – more like a big town with a diverse range of things to do. Our 5 days here was quite amazing, having the freedom of being in a campervan and finding hidden swimming holes, enjoying the hotpools at Waikete Valley Thermal Spas, hiking Rainbow mountain, luge fun, enjoy Maori cultural experience with Te Puia, visiting Rotorua Museum and the diverse range of restaurants to eat at! How did we fit it all I wonder! When we asked the kids which one was their favourite – Gondola and Luge with Skyline Rotorua was definitely up there on the top 🙂
We would like to thank SkyLine Luge Rotorua for the complimentary Gondola Passes. All opinions and views of our experience here is completely our own.
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