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Skyline Skyrides is an attraction located a little to the west of Lake Rotorua whose principal offerings include a gondola ride which takes you most of the way up nearby Mt. Ngongotaha and an optional luge ride which can take you much of the way back down rather quickly.  A fine view of the lake and city are also to be had from the mountain.

Looking Up the Mountain
Looking Up the Mountain
Ride to the Top
Ride to the Top (WMV Video, 4.5 MB)

Nella viewed the whole luge idea skeptically and opted out, thereby saving somewhat on the ticket cost but denying herself a unique New Zealand experience.  One normally thinks of a luge (when one thinks of them at all) as one of those little sleds which appear on TV every four years during the Winter Olympics, usually with one or two spandexed bodies completely covering it and hurtling down a mountainside at terrifying speed.  In the absence of snow, the luges at Skyline Skyrides are mounted on wheels and equipped with a handlebar apparatus which is used to steer and brake.  They are mostly made of durable black plastic, and though their virtues are many, we found shock absorption not to be among them.  Fortunately, riders are equipped with helmets and sent down a fairly smooth concrete track. 

The View from the Mountain
The View from the Mountain
Connie and Bob Modelling Helmets
Connie and Bob Modelling Helmets

Acceleration is supplied entirely by gravity, but is more than sufficient.  The track has many twists and turns and is quite steep in places.  It’s entirely possible to damage oneself severely if one is insistent, but staying on the track is not difficult.  

Connie Luging
Connie Luging
The Luge
The Luge (WMV Video, 12.7 MB)

At the bottom of the track there’s a conveyor belt where you leave your luge, and you go stand in line for a traditional dangling-feet chairlift ride back to the top, sometimes accompanied by used luges which are sent back up hung from hooks located under the seats. Unmanned cameras are situated along near the bottom of the track and near the top of the chairlift to take pictures which are available for purchase.

Chairlift and Lake
Chairlift and Lake
Connie and Bob on Chairlift
Connie and Bob on Chairlift

After two exhilarating runs by her girl-child and husband-child, Nella reunited with her family, and after paying for one of the robo-pictures, they all piled back into a gondola for the ride back down and returned to the hotel, where they rested up for their evening activity, attendance of the Mitai Hangi.


More Photos:

Skyride Gondola
Skyride Gondola
Bob on Gondola
Bob on Gondola
Nella and Connie in Gondola
Nella and Connie in Gondola
Bob Luging
Bob Luging

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