One cannot speak of top zorbing locations and not think of Rotorua, New Zealand. It is, after all, the birthplace of the trademark Zorb. According to the general consensus, New Zealand is the place where the human hamster balls were created back in the 90s by Andrew Akers and Dwane van der Sluis. We, however, are cautious of subscribing to this general belief, because the truth of the matter is that giant inflatable balls have been around long before that, and they are a result of the ingenuity of French inventor Gilles Ebersolt. You can check the full story on the real origins of zorbing here.
Nonetheless, getting back on track, we have to give proper credit to New Zealand for the branding, early production and commercialization of Zorbs to the general public. Ever since the 90s, New Zealand has been an iconic destination for all zorb enthusiasts and it boasts the very first, and arguably the best zorbing parks in the world to date.
Two of the top zorbing locations in New Zealand (and worldwide for that matter) are located near the city of Rotorua, on the western side of town. One is Zorb Rotorua and the other OGO Rotorua.
The original zorbing experience started here. This is the very first park ever built in the world for the purpose of rolling downhill inside the giant inflatable human hamster balls. It is also here that the world record for zorbing speed was set. The site has been around for more than 19 years, and will provide a really unique zorbing experience with its four different track options, eight ride variations, and the two generic zorbing modes: hydro-zorbing (aka wet zorbing) and the harnessed zorbing (dry). The rides can take up to 40 seconds or more and you can reach speeds of 30+ mph easy.
The park is located only 30 minutes away from Rotorua Airport, 5-10 minutes away from the city center by car. You can find the location at Corner Western Road & State Highway 5, Ngongotaha, Rotorua Central, 3010, New Zealand. It’s open all months of the year, daily from 9am-7pm in summer and 9am-5pm during winter. Being the oldest and most experienced company in the field of inflatable ball rides, Zorb Rotorua is a destination you should not miss if you wish to discover the best of zorbing.
The creation of OGO Rotorua has a pretty cool story. One of the co-founders of Zorb (Andrew Ackers) and his brother David invested a lot of time and effort into building up the Zorb name and business. Ever since its inception in the 90s, the company had evolved, and taken on shareholders in order to progress. In 2006 Andrew and David decided to sell their shares and left the company. It must have been a hard decision to take, leaving their own creation behind. Nonetheless, 3 years later, the two came back strong with the concept of OGO Balls (Outdoor Gravitational Orb). They were joined by Chris Roberts, another stakeholder in Zorb, who had left shortly after them. Together, they worked on the OGO concept and even launched an OGO site in the States.
The New Zealand OGO location features downhill hydro-zorbing rides for 1-3 persons (H2OGO), harnessed ball rides and the fish-pipe ride, a personal invention of OGO (see image). The site is located 5 minutes from Rotorua centre by car. You can find the place next to Skyline, Rainbow and Mitai, and the address is 525 Ngongotaha Road, Fairy Springs, Rotorua, New Zealand. If you are looking for a unique zorbing experience you should definitely look them up.
All in all, New Zealand should categorically be on any zorbing enthusiast travel list, since it provides some of the most unique, fun and exciting zorbing experiences out there.