Hanging upside down with my legs split flying backwards through the sunlight canopy of the ancient New Zealand forest is not usually how I would spend a Sunday. After just a few small hours with Rotorua Canopy Tours I went from being apprehensive about stepping off a perfectly good platform to being brave enough to run at full speed trying my best wonder woman impersonation flying through the trees.
Rotorua Canopy Tours is an exceptionally smooth operation and one that they can be proud of. I feel very privileged to be able to share my experience as I’m genuinely excited about what this product has to offer.
The staff working here are a fantastic representation for New Zealanders as a whole. They greeted us with a warm smile, handshake and friendly banter, while taking the time to remember everyone’s name when they suited you up. With a short drive to our destination and a chance to get to know everyone in the group, the sheer beauty of the forest managed to remain quite hidden from the road. It was only when we ventured a few meters from the car park that this ancient forest revealed a lush green look back in time, with dense native foliage and some curious native birds which greet you before you embark on the next part of your adventure.
Our guides Gary and Stewart shared a vast amount of knowledge about the area from old New Zealand to what they are trying to achieve now in the Dansey Scenic Reserve. There is huge focus on conservation in this area, bird song was once so loud in this forest it could be heard from ships out to sea, and with the introduction of four main predators these defenceless green lands slowly turned grey and the forest turned silent. A contribution from everyone who zip lines through the canopy on this three hour adventure goes towards bringing this forest back to life and saving our native species. So not only do you get a memorable day out, you can feel good about how you are helping to restore this beautiful area.
Standing 22 meters high above the forest floor jumping backwards off the platform, (with some encouragement) and flying 220meters along the Tui zip line can only be described as the closest thing to Avatar you will ever get. For a small moment you are completely immersed in the peaceful tranquillity of the forest but then able to buzz about your experience at the other end with your small group. Without giving too much away, each platform offers a different experience which enables your confidence to grow as you go along, while gaining a fantastic insight about the native species in this Reserve.
I have been involved in many activities around the country and I can see why this tour is rated the number one activity on trip advisor in the North Island. From start to finish this adventure can be described as flawless, allowing you to get a true look into New Zealand of old and helping to save the future of this special part of the country.
Written by: Jodene Hudson