One of Rotorua's newest tourist attractions has struck technical difficulties, but hopes to be be up and running by the end of the month.
Based on Ngongotaha Rd, the Orbserver, a 20-metre diameter, helium-filled balloon designed to carry up to 20 passengers 120m in the air, is the first of its kind in Australasia.
It has been grounded since its initial test flight in December, however, managing director Thomas Kaminski is hopeful it will soon be off the ground.
Mr Kaminski has been trying to introduce the Orbserver to New Zealand for the past three years and in October 2015 the Civil Aviation Authority gave him the go-ahead, classifying the balloon as an amusement device.
When the Rotorua Daily Post spoke to Mr Kaminski in December he hoped to get the rides off the ground by Christmas, however, he said there had been some "technical difficulties" preventing that.
"The US winch we have for the balloon doesn't meet the New Zealand safety regulations," he said.
"Hopefully in the next couple of days the engineer will okay the new winch upgrade we have sourced."
Once the Orbserver is ready to fly, site manager Stephen Bradshaw is excited to bring eight to 10 casual staff on board for training in the next couple of weeks.
"Hopefully, we're open by the end of the month," he said.
Mr Bradshaw has spent the past two months tidying up the site for its opening.
"We've added a family waiting area, and a local coffee truck will be coming on board to be here every day," he said.
"We just want to create a nice, friendly atmosphere."
Having moved to Rotorua to take on the venture, Mr Bradshaw has been impressed with the hospitality from fellow tourism attractions and local suppliers.
Assistant site manager, Liam Baker, is looking forward to taking his first flight as soon as he can.
"It's a bit of fun," Mr Baker said.
"We're bringing something new and exciting."