Rotorua: Be prepared for an adrenalin overdose

By Beck Vass

The human-powered, monorail race track is a world-first. Photo / Supplied
The human-powered, monorail race track is a world-first. Photo / Supplied

What could be better for an adrenalin junkie than a weekend of bungy jumping, swooping on a giant swing, zooming down rivers in a jetboat, flying in the air over a giant fan and pedalling at high speed round an aerial circuit? How about being delivered to those adventures by helicopter?

Yes, the short flight over Rotorua, with views out to the volcanic White Island off the beautiful Bay of Plenty coastline, was just the thing to kickstart an action-packed day. And, in a city that spoils visitors for choice in the range of adventure activities on offer, it was just a taste of the fun to come.

Landing in style at Agroventures - a fun park set up purely to throw you out of your comfort zone (at speed) - we were immediately taken to the Shweeb, touted as the "world's first human-powered monorail race track".

The twin overhead rails are paired up so you can race each other and we shot around in our seated-bicycle contraptions - clear capsules that swing out sideways as you charge around the 200m circuit.

After pushing myself as hard as I could for one minute and 14 seconds, rapt to have arrived a few seconds before my younger colleague, I stepped out of the capsule, only to have one of the staff reach out and tell me to "watch it", just as I realised my legs weren't holding me up any more.

My quivering legs, full of lactic acid, still somehow transported me towards the Agrojet, a 13ft, 450-horsepower, jet-propelled boat that hits 100km/h in 4.5 seconds.

Oddly, although my legs were no longer in use, they felt even more jelly-like sitting in that boat, as we were whipped around sudden and unpredictable turns at unbelievable speed.

(We later discovered it is a 1km course, but it happened so quickly it was impossible to tell).

Legs shaking and eyes watering, we staggered up to the Freefall Extreme where, over a massive, net-covered fan, we simulated skydiving, using our bodies to balance on air like we were flying.

It was a warm-up to the feeling of really flying that came with the Swoop, which involved being winched up to 40m before being dropped for the giant swing which, strangely, felt quite smooth and natural.

And just when I thought my adrenal gland might explode, having flooded me with four outbursts in the space of an hour, the friendly staff had kindly saved the most scary activity for last - the bungy jump.

As the crane lifted me higher, to the surprisingly dizzying height of 43m, I had just about had enough. Just one of those activities would have been enough to get me wired but five, one after the other, was suddenly feeling like a bit much, even for someone who loves being scared.

The ride up was slow, almost giving me time to back out. I waved, as instructed, to the park's photographer, with an accidental get-me-out-of-here-I've-had-enough expression which was caught on camera, and walked to the ledge to throw myself off before I could change my mind.

Back on solid ground, we enjoyed hot chocolates and watched as exhilarated tourists arrived, chatting about the extreme experiences they'd just had.

I felt really alive and Agroventures turned out to be the perfect way to get rid of the previous week's stresses.

It forced me to think about only what I was about to do and kept me thinking about it for some time after.

Soon after, we headed to Skyline Skyrides for gondola rides and lugeing - fun and peaceful after our manic morning.

The next day we soaked ourselves in the hot pools at Polynesian Spa before indulging in full body massages. Coconut oil was worked into our skin while a shower of warm water rained down on us, which was extremely relaxing.

It was the perfect way to wind down after the previous day's winding up.

CHECKLIST

What to do: Get your adrenalin flowing at Agroventures, with activities including bungy jumping or jet boating.

Skyline Skyrides, gondola, restaurant and luge, at Mt Ngongotaha.

Take a helicopter flight with Volcanic Air Safaris with views of White Island, Mt Tarawera and the Blue and Green Lakes.

Relax in the thermal pools at Polynesian Spa.

Where to stay: Worldmark Resort Rotorua offers two or three-bedroom apartment-style units, country club-style cafe, pool and spa, and tranquil trout-fishing spot, on the Ohau Channel.

Further information: Visit rotoruanz.com.

- NZ Herald

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