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Skyline Rotorua: A Must-Do in North Island New Zealand

Skyline Rotorua Rotovegas
Read time: 5 min.

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Skyline Rotorua? Doesn’t the word Skyline sound too familiar? Indeed, that’s a good chance you know about Skyline Luge Sentosa, where families and friends have fun at the iconic Luge and Skyride. All with a bird’s eye view of Singapore Skyline and the South China Sea, in the sunny island of Sentosa, Singapore’s State of Fun. But did you know it all began in New Zealand?

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How Skyline Rotorua All Began – The North Island Branch

Skyline Rotorua History with Lake Rotorua background
Skyline Rotorua Timeline

In 1981, Skyline Enterprises founder Hylton Hensman bought farmland on the city side of Mt Ngongotaha in Rotorua. Construction started in 1984, with a Mueller Gondola system being installed all the way from Switzerland and a restaurant of a capacity of 250 people was built at the top of the Gondola. 

On 10 March 1985, Skyline Skyrides Rotorua (rebranded Skyline Rotorua in 2010) officially opened and has attracted more than 8 million visitors worldwide the past 30 years. Besides being a top destination for tourists in the North Island, Skyline also plays an integral part in many Kiwis’ childhood. Many Kiwis have fond childhood recollections of riding the Gondolas for the first time. To many, riding the Gondolas was, and still is, a quintessential bit of growing up in New Zealand.

Skyline now proudly provides joy and entertainment to millions of visitors in New Zealand and all over the world, including Canada, South Korea and Singapore. 

Skyline Rotorua – Activities For All

Skyline Gondola

Hop on a Gondola cabin and enjoy the picturesque views of Lake Rotorua, the city and the steaming geothermal vistas. 

There are many different packages and combos available for you to keep your trip flexible. From the Skyline Rotorua complex, you could either take a luge down, Zoom zipline down, or even take a Skyswing! 

Of course, you could opt for the Gondola only but we have tried and tested the activities. And we really recommend them if you’re up for the adventure! Especially the Zoom Zipline!

Can’t wait to book a tour? Use one of our booking widgets (by GetYourGuide) below!

Skyline Luge – Once is never enough!

Luge Skyline Rotorua Track
Riding down the luge!

The Luge. It is a part go-cart, part sled that is gravity fuelled. This may sound scary if you’re hearing it for the first time but fret not, it sure is easier than it looks! you have full control over its speed and direction, using a very unique braking and steering system. You can simply pull back on the handlebars to slow down and release slightly to accelerate.

It is great for ANY age – Rotorua’s oldest luge rider was 101 years old. And small children can ride with adults so it’s great family fun! There are tracks of varying difficulty (and fun, of course!) so it suits everyone. 

Fun fact: The Luge all began in Rotorua in 1986 and continues to lead the Luge Technology. All components are designed and manufactured in Rotorua and sent to other Luge locations. 

Zoom Ziplines – Soar Through the Redwood Forest

Up for a real challenge? Fly up to super speeds of 80 km/hr on Skyline Rotorua’s unique 400-metre dual ziplines. Here’s the chance to race with your friends and family while taking a whole new level to experience Mount Ngongotaha! 

Where you will prepare your safety gear
Preparing to zoom down!
Zooming down

Note: Visiting one Skyline branch just isn’t enough. Skyline Queenstown does not have Zoom Ziplines as one of its attractions, so if you are into ziplining, Skyline Rotorua is hands down the one to visit. 

Feeling the thrill with the Lake Rotorua as the backdrop is not all. Upon landing at the platform, zipliners will have the option of taking the boring old stairs down or take a leap of faith i.e. a 13-metres Quickjump. The Quickjump sees you harnessed to a single fall line, which is installed with a special braking system for zipliners to experience a soft landing free fall. 

Don’t worry, the Skyline’s Zoom Zipline specially trained guides will ensure strict safety measures are followed at all times. Your safety will never be compromised in the name of fun.

Useful information: Lockers are provided for free to keep your valuables and zipline tours start approx. every 30 minutes.

Stratosfare Restaurant – Dine Amongst the Stars Atop Mount Ngongotaha

Check out the interior of the restaurant
Salad and condiments
Huge selection of meat
Fresh seafood
Venison, yum!

If you’re up for a perfect way to end your fun-filled day, stop by Stratosfare for some freshly prepared buffet and cooked-to-order dishes. This restaurant serves some of New Zealand’s best cuisine and we guarantee your tummies will be really happy. 

The restaurant staff are more than ready to give you a tour on the wide variety of food to select from before embarking on the buffet. During our stay, the restaurant had vegan and gluten-free options, raw/grilled seafood, lamb, venison, ribs and much much more!

If you’re planning a romantic date with your loved one, do check this place out as the meal includes a scenic Gondola ride up too. Bookings are required beforehand. 

Other Things to Do in Skyline Rotorua – That We Didn’t Try


One of the most striking things about Skyline Rotorua is the Skyswing, which also isn’t available in the Queenstown branch just like the Zoom Ziplines. In fact, it is the only Skyswing in New Zealand at the moment. Hanging 50 metres above the ground in a three-seated swing, you will be the one triggering the release to make the drop! Take a deep breath before doing that because it’s gonna be one of the craziest adrenaline rushes you will ever have in your life – according to those who tried.

Keen enthusiasts could also rent a mountain bike from 60 NZD onwards and get access to Skyline Rotorua’s 12-kilometre trail network featuring trails with diverse terrain for various skill levels. No beginners allowed!

Still here at the Skyline after the sun has set? Well, you are in for a treat! Mt Ngongotaha happens to be one of the top 8 locations to stargaze in New Zealand, where the dark clear skies in Rotorua and fully equipped state of the art telescopes makes it a perfect opportunity to do so.

Overall, Skyline Rotorua is a great go-to in New Zealand’s North Island. With stunning views and a whole list of activities to choose from, it is easy to understand why it’s so popular with locals and tourists alike.


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