Twenty-eight years after opening with its world-first luge operation, Skyline Rotorua is about to hit a milestone - its 15 millionth luge ride. Based on electronic record-taking, the milestone is expected to fall sometime this month.
Skyline Rotorua general manager Bruce Thomasen said the milestone was a "mind-blowing" development for the operation.
"Our luge operation was a world-first and it was the only commercial luge operation in New Zealand until Skyline Queenstown added a luge to its site in 1997," he said.
"Now, more than 750,000 luge rides are hosted at the Rotorua site every year - with visitors usually riding more than once."
Skyline Rotorua now has three luge tracks - with a combined length of nearly 5km, including the scenic track and intermediate tracks which are suitable for all ages, and a 1km advanced track, which features tight bends and dips suitable for more experienced lugers aged 10 and over. The Rotorua operation is part of Skyline Enterprises, which now also operates luge attractions in Canada and Singapore, with planning underway for a new site in Korea.
As part of the milestone celebrations, Skyline Rotorua is running two photographic competitions, with winning entries awarded annual Gondola passes and dinner vouchers.
The first competition will involve visitors giving their best pukana (haka face) while experiencing the luge, while the other invites visitors to post their own fun photos of Skyline Rotorua in general on the attraction's website page. The photos with the most public votes will win.
The lucky person who completes the 15 millionth ride will win a trip for two to Queenstown, including return flights from Auckland to Queenstown, two nights' accommodation at Blue Peaks, a helicopter flight and dinner for two at the spectacular Skyline Queenstown restaurant.
The luge milestone is the latest in a series of "firsts" for the visitor attraction in the past 12 months, with the opening of its Jelly Bean Concept Store a year ago, the establishment of the Volcanic Hills winery and tasting room at the site, and the hosting of the inaugural Skyline Sprint Warrior downhill mountain bike race in February.
"We have continuously sought to improve what we offer in recent years, expanding not only our luge tracks, but also our other facilities," Mr Thomasen said.
"We've undertaken a significant investment and development programme over the past 18 months, including completely revamping our hilltop cafe, opening the Jelly Bean shop, revamping our carpark and creating new nature trails."
Entries for the photo competitions close on Friday, May 5. More information about the competitions and other promotions to celebrate the luge milestone can be found on the Skyline Rotorua website (www.skyline.co.nz/rotorua/).