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10 Things to Know BEFORE Ziplining in Rotorua +3 BEST Tours

10 Things to Know BEFORE Ziplining in Rotorua +3 BEST Tours

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Located on New Zealand’s North Island, Rotorua is full of awesome adventures, from hot pools to bushwalks, and a myriad of cultural activities. And of course, like any good New Zealand destination, it’s home to plenty of outdoor adventures, like ziplining

There’s nothing like soaring through the air on a zipline, and we think that this is one of the very best ways to explore Rotorua’s old growth forest.

There are several awesome zipline tours to choose from in Rotorua, which will give you not just an adrenaline rush but also the chance to learn more about conservation efforts in the area and its fascinating birdlife.

So if you’re ready to make like Tarzan and fly from tree to tree, then we’ve rounded up the top 3 ziplining tours in Rotorua so you know exactly which one is right for you. 

What are the BEST ziplining tours in Rotorua?

Bailey above Okere Falls on the Okere Falls Zipline Experience in Rotorua, New Zealand
Above Okere Falls!
Bailey takes a selfie on the Ziplining Forest Adventure in Rotorua, New Zealand

Okere Falls Zipline Experience 

Okere Falls is a small scenic reserve that’s a popular day trip destination from Rotorua thanks to its lush forest and waterfalls. We love it because it’s a great place to immerse yourself in both nature and the local Maori culture – so basically, it really sums up what New Zealand is all about! 

On this zipline tour, you’ll soar through the forest and learn about the area’s Maori heritage as you encounter boardwalks, swing bridges, and of course, ziplines! You’ll also take in views of three beautiful waterfalls. Then, at the end of the tour, you get to try some traditional Maori tea and plant a tree! We think that this tour is excellent because we think it combines culture and adventure really well. 

The Ultimate Canopy Tour Rotorua

If you’ve ziplined a few times before and have a pretty high threshold for adventure, then The Ultimate Canopy Tour will help you to get your adrenaline fix. As well as over a kilometer of ziplines, you’ll get to do a 50-meter high cliff walk and you can do a 400-meter-long tandem zipline with a buddy. 

This is definitely the most adventurous zipline available in Rotorua, and if it doesn’t get your heart pumping then you’re probably going to have to give up and go skydiving instead or something.

Bailey on the Ziplining Forest Adventure in Rotorua, New Zealand

Ziplining Forest Adventure

We think this is the goldilocks of Rotorua zipline tours. This ziplining forest adventure has more ziplines than the Okere Falls experience, but it’s not as extreme as the Ultimate Canopy tour. In fact, it’s actually the original version of the Ultimate Canopy Tour, and then the creators decided to create an even more thrilling version for the real daredevils out there.

With 6 ziplines that take you zooming through Rotorua’s 500-year-old forest, this experience is a lot of fun and most travelers can enjoy taking part. Plus, the guides have a great sense of humor and really put you at ease, which is something we always appreciate with potentially nerve-wracking activities like this!

Related Read: Heading to Queenstown and love a good thrill? Learn about the best adventure activities in Queenstown before you go!

What to Expect on these Ziplining Tours in Rotorua

Bailey in her harness and helpmet before the ziplining tour
Ready to go!
Bailey getting ready for her first zipline on the Okere Falls Zipline tour in Rotorua
The first one is always scary!

Okere Falls Zipline Experience

The Okere Falls Zipline Experience is the shortest of the 3 tours we talk about in this blog. It consists of 4 ziplines, but you also spend some time exploring the forest via a series of boardwalks and one swing bridge. 

You can either drive yourself to Okere, which is about 23 kilometers (14.5 miles) from Rotorua, or request a shuttle ride from the tour operator at no extra cost – yay! 

There are 3 time slots per day: 8 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm, so you can choose whatever suits you best. 

Once you get to Okere Falls, you’ll receive your safety briefing and an introduction to the area, although your guides will continue to share stories and interesting information about the natural history and Maori culture of Okere Falls as you go. We think that this helps to make this zipline experience more meaningful, as you’ll actually come away having learned a lot about the ancient forest you’re exploring. 

Over the course of about 2 hours, you’ll tackle the 4 ziplines and explore the boardwalks between them. As you go, you’ll have amazing views of the 3 different waterfalls that give Okere Falls its name, which makes the experience even better.

Then, you’ll get to try some traditional Maori tea, and you get to finish the experience by planting a tree in your name, so you actually get to contribute to the preservation of the forest. 

All in all, we love the way that this tour blends culture, conservation, and adventure together so seamlessly. The guides are super passionate about the forest and the waterfalls, and their enthusiasm is really infectious. 

You can book the Okere Falls Zipline tour online here!

Bialey on the The Ultimate Canopy Tour Rotorua, New Zealand

The Ultimate Canopy Tour Rotorua

Okay, so as we already discussed, the Ultimate Canopy Tour is the most adventurous of the 3 Rotorua ziplining tours. It consists of 6 ziplines which measure 1.2 kilometers (0.75 miles) in total, and the longest one is actually a tandem zipline that you can do with someone else. Talk about a bonding experience!

But let’s start at the beginning. You’ll be picked up from central Rotorua and transported to the forest, where you’ll be strapped in to begin your adventure – after a quick safety lesson, of course. 

As you start using the network of ziplines and swing bridges to explore the old growth forest, you’ll have beautiful views of valleys and gorges while you zoom overhead. You can totally lose yourself in nature here – which is precisely why we love it! You might even be lucky enough to spot some New Zealand wildlife, when we went, we saw plenty of birds!

Plus, your guides will teach you all about the forest and efforts to conserve it as you go, which will make you feel glad that a portion of the proceeds from your ticket goes towards conservation projects. 

You need to be moderately fit for this one as there’s some climbing up ladders and staircases involved, and only children aged 10 or over can participate. 

You’ll spend around 3.5 hours zooming through the trees, and then when you’ve had your adrenaline fix you can be taken back to Rotorua’s CBD for free. 

You can check availability and book The Ultimate Canopy Tour online here!

Bailey takes a selfie over Okere Falls in Rotorua, NZ

Ziplining Forest Adventure

With 6 ziplines and 2 swing bridges, the original Ziplining Forest Adventure is a happy medium between the Okere Falls and Ultimate Canopy Tour in terms of adrenaline. You’ll zoom across 600 meters of ziplines over the course of 3 hours. 

Like the other tours, it’s possible to arrange free pickup and dropoff in central Rotorua, and you’ll learn a lot about the forest as you explore it via the network of ziplines. You’ll be a maximum of 21 meters (72 ft) above ground, so it’s not too terrifying but still high enough that you’ll feel like you’re flying. 

Kids as young as 6 can enjoy this ziplining adventure and you don’t need to be super fit, just reasonably mobile. If you can handle an hour long forest or hill walk, then you’ll have no problem tackling this zipline course. 

This tour lasts 3 hours but time is guaranteed to fly (pun fully intended). Afterwards, the tour company will drop you back in Rotorua. 

You can book the Ziplining Forest Adventure online here!

Why I Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! I almost always book tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here!

What does it cost to go Ziplining in Rotorua?

Bailey climbs some steps to the first zipline on the Okere Falls ziplining tour in Rotorua, NZ
Bailey gets ready to zipline in Rotorua, NZ

Okere Falls Zipline Experience

The Okere Falls zipline tour costs $159 NZD for adults, $129 NZD for senior citizens, and $109 NZD for kids. 

The price includes round trip transport from central Rotorua if you need it, the zipline course itself, the Maori tea experience, and a tree sapling that you can plant in your name. Your guides will also snap photos of your experience on the way round and they’ll be emailed you for free a few days afterwards.

The Ultimate Canopy Tour Rotorua

The Ultimate Canopy Tour is the most expensive of the 3 tours, but that’s because it’s the most extreme, with the longest and highest ziplines. It also lasts longer than the other tours. 

The Ultimate Canopy Tour costs $229 NZD for adults and $199 NZD for kids aged 10 to 15. A round trip shuttle from Rotorua is included in this price, as is extra clothing for cold or wet weather should you need it. You also get free photos of your experience so you can prove to everyone that you did it!

Ziplining Forest Adventure

This zipline adventure tour costs $169 NZD for adults and $139 NZD for kids aged between 6 and 15. This price includes minivan transport between the course and Rotorua, and all of the necessary equipment, including extra items to keep you comfortable if the weather is wet or cold. As is the case with the other tours, you also get free photos at the end, so remember to smile! 

Which ziplining tour is best for families?

Okere Falls below Bailey on the Okere Falls Zipline Experience in Rotorua, New Zealand
Bailey relaxes in her harness for a photo while ziplining in Rotorua, NZ

Ziplining is a fantastic way to have some fun as a family, because it appeals to kids and adults alike! 

We think that the Okere Falls Zipline Experience is best for families. It’s the least extreme course, so it’s suitable for anyone over the age of 5, and there are no minimum weight or height limits, so if your child is old enough to zipline then they’ll be able to enjoy this adventure with you. 

On top of this, kids are allowed to buddy up with adults and do the first zipline in tandem to assuage their nerves and make sure they feel comfortable. We think that this is a great way to build kids’ confidence, especially if it’s their first time on a zipline. 

And last but not least, the Okere Falls Zipline Experience has a strong focus on conservation, so it’s a fantastic way to teach children about the importance of protecting the environment and encourage them to take an interest in the natural world. Plus, they will love being able to plant a tree and name it after themselves!

You can easily book this zipline tour for the whole family online here.

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Which ziplining tour is best in the winter? 

Bailey ziplining in Rotorua
Bailey ziplining in New Zealand in Rotorua

All of these ziplining tours in Rotorua run all year round! So you can pick whichever one appeals most to you and enjoy it during the winter in New Zealand. You’ll just need to bring a few extra layers, but we’ll cover that in a later section of the blog.

Related Read: Visiting in winter? Then you should read all blog all about skiing in New Zealand including the best places to go!

Which ziplining tour is best for thrill-seekers?

A sign on the Okere Falls Ziplining tour in Rotorua in Māori
A sign on the Okere Falls Ziplining tour in Rotorua in English

Without a doubt, the Ultimate Canopy Tour is the clear choice for thrill seekers. It has the longest, highest, and fastest ziplines, so it’s definitely the most exhilarating ziplining tour in Rotorua. After all, there’s a reason that it has stricter age limits than the other tours!

Which zipline in Rotorua is best for couples? 

A man ziplining in Rotorua, NZ
Bailey on her last zipline on a ziplining tour in Rotorua, NZ

Obviously it depends on the couple, but overall we think that this ziplining forest adventure is best for couples. It’s a happy medium between the family-oriented Okere Falls zipline and the thrilling Ultimate Canopy Tour, so it’s more likely to make both people happy! It’s a lot of fun and still pretty exhilarating, but we wouldn’t describe it as nerve-wracking. 

Do you need to book a ziplining tour in Rotorua in advance?

Yes. Ziplining is one of the most popular things to do in Rotorua because the views are so beautiful as you soar through the old growth forests. We definitely recommend booking in advance to make sure that you don’t miss out.

You can book easily here on Viator. We love booking on the website Viator because most tours have free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance. Plus, you can also book now and pay later for most tours, too. Check out all zipline tours in Rotorua offered on Viator here!

What should you wear ziplining in Rotorua? 

The equipment at the tour company for Ziplining in Rotorua, New Zealand
The equipment that needs to go over your clothes!

Summer 

First and foremost, you should definitely wear sunscreen if you’re going ziplining in Rotorua during the summer! You can also wear sunglasses but make sure they fit your face securely because if they’re loose then you’re probably going to lose them while you’re zooming around the treetops.

You also need to make sure that you’re wearing closed toe-shoes, because ziplining should never be done in sandals or anything with an open toe, even during summer! Running shoes or sneakers will be fine. 

Other than that, it’s best to wear whatever you’d wear for a light hike on a warm day, or to the gym – so basically, activewear! You want to be able to move around properly, be comfortable, and sweat a little bit. Skirts aren’t a good idea as you’ll be wearing a harness, and the two don’t mix well. 

Winter

Okay, so you’ll still need activewear and closed-toe shoes during the winter but you’ll need some extra layers, too. 

A warm layer like a sweatshirt or fleece and then a waterproof jacket or windbreaker are a good idea for ziplining at this time of year. If you do the Original or the Ultimate Canopy Tour then they do have clothes on hand for cold and wet weather, but it never hurts to bring your own just in case!

Is ziplining in Rotorua worth it?

Bailey on the Okere Falls Zipline Experience ziplining over Okere Falls
Bailey ziplining in Rotorua on the The Ultimate Canopy Tour Rotorua

Yes! Ziplining in Rotorua is so much fun because you get to explore one of New Zealand’s ancient forests in a truly exhilarating fashion, and you get to learn more about conservation as you go, which is something we’re really passionate about.

Plus, it’s an adventure you can enjoy alone, as a couple, or as a family – it’s for pretty much everyone! In fact, we’d say that ziplining is one of the very best things to do in Rotorua

Related Read: One of the best places to visit near Rotorua is Hobbiton, learn a few things you should know before you visit Hobbiton!

Other Things to do While You’re in Rotorua

Bailey relaxes in the secret hot tubs in Rotorua
Secret Hot Pools is my favorite place in Rotorua!
  • Whitewater rafting – One of the best places to go whitewater rafting in New Zealand is in Rotorua! Here, you can choose from a variety of rafting tours, with the most famous being this one that features the 7-meter waterfall drop! That’s right, you’ll actually raft over a waterfall – Tutea Falls – which the world’s largest commercially rafted waterfall (that’s bragging rights for sure!) The tour costs $115 NZD and last for about 2 hours.
  • Relax in Hot Pools – Rotorua, like Taupo, is known for all of its hot pools (hot springs.) Secret Hot Pools is my favorite because you get your very own private hot pool surrounded by lush forest. If you want a cheaper option, The Polynesian Spa is also very nice and the public pools are well worth visiting. Plus, the location is also very convenient in downtown Rotorua – you can enjoy views of the lake right from the pools!
  • Government Gardens – Take a walk through the beautiful Government Gardens right on the edge of the lake in Rotorua’s downtown. The flowers here are stunning and it’s a nice place to stroll around and take photos.
  • Maori Experience – Rotorua is an amazing place to learn about the Māori people and culture. Spend a night at the Mitai Maori Village cultural experience where you will get introduced to the Maori culture with performances including weaponry displays and a traditional Hangi feast cooked in an underground oven.

Related Read: Heading to Taupo? Check out this epic road trip itinerary for the drive from Rotorua to Taupo!

Where to Stay in Rotorua

Room with a great view at Rydges Rotorua, New Zealand
Photo credit: Rydges Rotorua

Now that you know just how much Rotorua has to offer, plan to stay a while! What’s great about this area is all the choices for accommodations – whether you are backpacking on a budget or looking for a luxurious place to call home for a few nights. These are my top picks for every budget!

$ – Rock Solid Backpackers Rotorua 

This is one of the budget-friendly hotels centrally located in the city within walking distance of many attractions like Government Gardens and the Polynesian Spa. It is a perfect fit for travelers with a tight budget where rooms in a shared dorm of four to eight people start at only $27 NZD per night. If you don’t want to share, there are private rooms available as well around the $100 NZD mark.

You can save money on meals by using the communal kitchen here complete with cooking facilities and there’s a spacious guest lounge where you can hang out.

You can easily book a room on HostelWorld.com or Booking.com.

$$ – Thermal Oak Motel

If more rooms and spacious accommodations are what you’re looking for, you’ll find them here. The motel offers modern suites and high-quality units with free parking and Wi-Fi. The choices range from deluxe studios to a three-bedroom flat house, with rates from $180 NZD up to $600 NZD per night.

All accommodations are complete with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a fully-equipped kitchenette and a large modern bathroom with a walk-in shower. There’s also a dining area available in most of the rooms, including the executive two-bedroom unit (which also has a private outdoor spa pool).

Besides the rooms, you can go for a dip in one of the two public mineral spa pools. Another advantage is the convenient access to the city center, which is only a 10-minute walk away. This means you can enjoy the activities and sights of Rotorua downtown anytime you please.

You can book Thermal Oak Motel online here!

$$$ – Rydges Rotorua

For a more luxurious stay in Rotorua, this hotel offers a scenic view and a relaxing atmosphere located on the edge of Redwoods Forest and overlooking the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Reserve and Historical Village.

Choose between a superior or deluxe room, which each features air conditioning, comfy beds, and cable TV with free movies. If you’re looking for something a little extra, you can book a private suite instead. Accommodation rates start from $242 NZD per night.

Start your morning with a visit to the on-site gym or a swim in the heated outdoor swimming pool. You can also drop by the hotel’s award-winning restaurant and bar that offers modern New Zealand cuisine. Then, spend the day exploring the mountains by bike. If you brought your own mountain bike, they have secure storage for it inside the hotel and a bike washing station.

Anything for the little ones? Yes! Rydges Rotorua houses a Play Zone with various games for children of all ages, including table tennis, foosball, Nintendo Switch, air hockey, and more.

You can easily check rates and book at Rydges Rotorua online here.

Related Read: Making your way south? There are some really fun things to do on the South Island!

Travel Insurance Has Your Back!

Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.

If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!

To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually buy it as soon as we land at the airport.

Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey sits back over an edge on a ziplining tour in Rotorua, New Zealand
Thanks for reading!

As you now know, ziplining in Rotorua is a ton of fun! Ziplining is easily one of the best tours in New Zealand, and one you should consider during your travels. Plus, Rotorua is one of the top places to visit on the North Island, so you’ll find lots of other fun things to do.

If you found this blog helpful, be sure to check out some of my other blog articles – I have written so much about all of my favorite things to do in New Zealand including a few favorites below:

The BEST Things to do in Auckland

6 BEST Wine Tours in Napier

Auckland to Paihia Road Trip Guide

Things to KNOW about the Ferry to the South Island