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Design and build of ZORB Rotorua

ZORB New Zealand has provided ZORB site designs and worked on site construction; equipment supply and installation; and operating systems for a number of projects around the world.

ZORB Rotorua, New Zealand

For this project we:

  • Sourced land
  • Negotiated deal with landowners
  • Obtained local authority consents
  • Designed ZORB site and equipment
  • Built and tested site (staged developments)
  • Tested tracks
  • Manufactured ZORB balls
  • Designed and built the “TOWGO” and “ZORBulator” return systems
  • Completed operating plan
  • Completed Health and Safety Management system
  • Obtained NZ Adventure Activities Regulations certification
  • Trained staff

ZORB Rotorua is the site of our company owned site on Ngati Whakaue land in the adventure activity hub of Rotorua, New Zealand.

This was the location where we started our first ZORB site, and tested and pioneered the activity – way back in 1997!

Start point

There are plenty of hills in New Zealand, but we knew we had to be in a great location – close to a tourism hub and with easy access for what we hoped would be thousands of visitors in cars, campervans, buses, cyclists and walkers.

We began with a farm hill paddock 10 minutes out of the busy tourism town of Rotorua, on the main road North. The site was just a bare hill with a few fences and troughs and a whole lot of sheep. Luckily the landowners (Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands) had faith in our ability to turn their sheep paddock into something a bit more exciting!

ZORB Rotorua site, pre-development

We ran here for a year in 1997 with a wooden launch ramp on the side of the hill slope and a site that could only operate when there was no wind or rain – otherwise it was too slippery driving up the grass hill and the ZORB ball could end up going over the main highway! We then moved to another location for a few years and then came back to the original site again in 2010 to create the ultimate ZORB site.

The hill was pretty big, and the natural slope a bit too steep so we designed tracks that went slightly sideways down the hill.







The 4 critical aims of the site design were:

  • Safety – ensuring the site could run safely in a variety of weather conditions and with a minimum of lost days due to wind.
  • Experience – making a great experience that would have people coming back time and time again!
  • Efficiency – ensuring we could get the ZORB balls up and down the hill quickly and efficiently, maximizing the throughput without compromising the experience or safety.
  • Staging – planning for the future meant designing for further developments that we could do in stages without interrupting our year-round operations.

MEGA track – preparing for grass seeding

We broke ground in September 2010 and by December (just in time for Summer) had a small reception building, a viewing deck, changing rooms and two straight tracks for racing down the hill.

Later developments included adding in the Sidewinder Track (2011) the MEGA track (2017) and the Big Air track (2018), along with a new reception, new car-park, Hot Tubs, offices and a factory for making ZORB balls.

Launch Ramp under construction

Main Launch Area – nearly complete

David and Kelly putting a hole in yet another water pipe…

Reception and viewing deck

Digging out the Sidewinder track

Andrew concreting posts for the landing deck

MEGA track – nearly done!

Andrew and David discussing how to use a rake

July 5, 2022