Rotorua Canopy Tour – New Zealand’s Native Forest Zipline Adventure

Aubrey was my motivation for doing the Rotorua Canopy Tour,New Zealand’s native forest zipline adventure, before our move to Sydney.  I rarely turn down an adventure so it did not take much to convince me.

Now I have to share my sad news.  The entire experience was captured on video by my GoPro but somehow I managed to destroy the memory card. Only I would get up in the middle of the night, trip over my computer cord, knock it to the ground and break the memory card in half.  Luckily I did not rely completely on my video and snapped a few photos along the way too.

Upon arrival at the main office, the staff pass around iPads to complete medical information and sign a waiver. They distributed zip-line gear and started a safety briefing before we loaded in the van. The short commute only takes about 10 minutes to the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve.

The Rotorua Canopy Tour begins with a short bush walk through the native New Zealand forest before arriving at the beginning platform.  The tour guides paused at specific locations to point out native trees and talk about the preservation of this land. We learned this forest is government protected forever and managed by the Department of Conservation to protect the many rare plant and animal species.

The 1st platform was enclosed allowing everyone to enjoy a deep breath before the 1st of 6 zip-lines. Loud screams of excitement could be heard in the background as another group was taking on the longest zip. Here they went over the rules which pretty much consisted of don’t touch anything metal and keep your legs tucked up at the end.

This zip was different from my past experiences where we had to manually break ourselves.  The built-in break system and a guide catching you on the other side made it easy.  Also, there are slanted ramps at the conclusion of the line for easy walk-up.  The two swing bridges along the way gave you a few minutes to really take in the scenery. This is where I would have liked to post the video so you could see these giant trees and listen to the sound of the birds.

These were the stairs that you walked down before stepping (or sitting) to begin the zips.  This gave me a bit of an uneasy feeling but so fun!  I even went down this particular set of stairs backwards for a different perspective.

Rotorua Canopy Tour - Zip-line Adventure New Zealand

These trees were massive which makes sense considering they were there before humans set foot on New Zealand soil.  The peak of the tour happens about halfway through standing on a platform 22 meters in the air next to an 800 year old tree. We could not have picked a more stunning day for our excursion with the sun shining bright through the trees!

Halfway through the tour (after 3 zips and 1 long swing bridge), the tour guides lead us on a conservation trail through the forest. Here they explained the efforts being taken to get rid of New Zealand rodents to save the native birds.  I had no idea before this walk that the money for the zip-line tour was to help save these beautiful creatures.  Living in New Zealand I had read news stories about the rodent problem New Zealand faced but had no idea the severity.  They have done so much already but hopefully in the future can expand to cover more of the forest.

We spotted rare blue mushrooms on our walk.  I joked that the Smurfs might actually be hiding here.

Rotorua Canopy Tour - Zip-line Adventure New Zealand

Like I mentioned earlier, we have done zip-lining in the past where I had to break myself and I was a bit more stressed out. My concern was about coming in too fast or breaking too soon resulting in getting stuck in the middle.  The only one that made me a bit nervous was towards the end and it was not because of the heights.  The takeoff appears to aim you at a tree (or at least it felt that way).  I closed my eyes for the 1st time until after I cleared it!

The last swing bridge had no rails but not to worry since you are attached!  This was a perfect photo opportunity and they asked that you leaned back for a souvenir picture to take home (included in tour price).  They took a few other snaps along the way that can be downloaded.  Finally, the last zip they asked you to do something different like go off backwards or hang upside down.  Aubrey and I both opted for upside down but of course I have no video. Tear!

Before we walked out to the van to head back to the home office, they asked us to take a group photo. Such a fun experience!

Rotorua Canopy Tour - Zip-line Adventure New Zealand

Aubrey liked this experience better than the other two we had done.  I am so glad we could share a mother/daughter day before our move.

Amber Herden

My name is Amber and I am finally tackling my bucket list all while relocating countries and raising two beautiful girls with my incredible husband.