Zorbing, or globe riding, consists of wiggling your body into an inflated ball, strapping yourself in, and rolling down a hill. Check out the video for a quick overview of what it’s all about. There is also a “wet” version of zorbing, where water is added to the inside of the ball, and you don’t strap yourself in – you just slip and slide inside the ball as you roll down the hill.
We both wanted to try it, but as soon as Ian mentioned his knee problems, he was not allowed to go. Wendy chose the “dry” zorbing, as the wet option seemed to resemble more of an advanced water slide.
There are many places in the world to go Zorbing – Rotorua, New Zealand is the original location, however. There is even a location in the US – in Tennessee, where we’re guessing the insurance laws are a little more relaxed than other states.
When we were in Rotorua in February, there were only a couple of other people (all doing the wet zorbing). School holidays had just ended, so this was their low season. The first day we went, the dry zorbing was shut down. Whenever there is a slight wind, they shut down the dry zorbing course as a precaution against balls (and riders!) being blown off course. The next day, we called and they told us the zorbs were running, so we headed back.
Each ride costs 60 NZD. There are discounts available in the AA coupon book (available free at hotels, info booths and lots of other places), and you can buy several rides at once for a small discount. A truck picked Wendy up at the bottom of the hill and drove her to the top, where they gave her some quick instructions, and she then jumped into the ball. Wendy does not get motion sick, and had a great time (she did it again right after!). However, for people who do get car or sea sick, it would be easy to imagine that this could be quite uncomfortable.
The ride felt very safe and was well run, and there are crew at the bottom to help you out of the ball. There is a viewing area (right next to the change rooms for the wet zorbing) where Ian and our (slightly confused) baby watched.
They will sell you photos of your ride, although there wasn’t any footage available from inside the Zorb (which we would have gladly paid for!)