Our second day in Rotorua saw Ross and I spend a day at the top of the Skyline.
Located just minutes from the Regent and the CBD, Skyline Rotorua sits at the top of Mt Ngongotaha and offers the best view over the city.
The fun starts as soon as you arrive at Skyline as you step into your private gondola and gently ride to the top of the mountain. Once at the top there is a whole heap of stuff to do; it’s amazing how much they can fit on a mountain top.
First up for us was a ride on the luge.
What’s a luge? It’s part go-cart, part toboggan; a three wheeled vehicle with a lever to go and to stop.
We got kitted out with yet more stylish helmets and took seats on our luge. For our first ride we took the intermediate trail, winding down the side of Mt Ngongotaha.
They say ‘once is never enough’ when it comes to luging and they couldn’t have put it better. When we arrived at the end of the trail Ross and I were ready for round two, taunting each other with who was the better luger. To get back to the top of the course you catch the scenic chairlift. For someone who is scared of heights this was a little unnerving, especially as Ross kept leaning over the edge and jigging the cable. Vom.
For our second run we decided to take on the advanced course. With sharper bends, steep hills and tunnels this was by far the best course. I was howling with laughter along the route, overcome with giddy, childlike joy. I can’t recommend luging enough.
Back at the summit we took a tour of the Jelly Bean Store. In both the Queenstown and Rotorua Skyline base you’ll find a world class jelly bean store. Offering over 100 flavours including toasted marshmallow, craft beer and even dog food this shop is a sugar addict’s heaven. We loaded up with a box of our favourites for a midnight snack back at the hotel.
Having worked up an appetite luging we took our seats in Stratosfare Restaurant. Featuring a stunning array of freshly prepared buffet and cooked-to-order dishes highlighting locally sourced seafood, meat and produce, Stratosfare will take you on a gastronomic journey.
From DIY Caesar salad to sushi, Thai to Indian curry, the flame rotisserie to a feast of charcuterie, there are dishes to suit every palette and craving. But the best part is the dessert station.
Freshly made crepes with every topping imaginable, pavlova, panna cotta, ice-cream, creme brule…you name it Stratosfare have it.
Suitably stuffed we wrapped up for our final activity of the say, star gazing.
Ngongotaha is one of the top eight locations in New Zealand for stargazing where the dark clear skies blanketing Rotorua make for an amazing experience. This was our first time stargazing so we weren’t sure what to expect. We were part of a group of about 15, sharing between us five telescopes. They have been pre-set to different locations in the sky which we worked through the course of the evening.
After an introduction to the southern hemisphere sky we were let loose on the telescopes and got to view an amazing array of stunning sights, from the iconic Southern Cross, to nebulas, planets, the Milky Way and other galaxies. We even got a view of Mars.
Our guides Bryce and Ken were very knowledgeable about the night sky and answered all of our questions with such enthusiasm…if you’re wondering, no Ken wouldn’t move to Mars.
After an hour’s stargazing the time had come to head back down the gondola’s and return to our hotel, the following morning we would be heading home to Christchurch.
Ross and I had the best time in Rotorua and implore everyone who visits New Zealand to visit, hopefully I’ve given you a little inspiration to go. Let me know if you do!