• OGO Rotorua, NZ


More than just a good ball rolling story

Rolling down a hill in a plastic ball: How OGO Rotorua came to be

Way back in 1994 Andrew Akers and his friend Dwane van der Sluis had this crazy idea that they wanted to walk on water. So, an idea was hatched to design some inflatable shoes, however they quickly realised that if they fell over in these shoes they would end up upside-down with their feet floating on the surface… not such a good idea.

Back to the drawing board (AKA Andrew’s garage) They moved onto a double skinned plastic sphere that you could climb inside and roll over the surface water. They called it “The Orb” and took it to the beach to test out (along with Mum’s vacuum cleaner to inflate). But The Orb was hard to control in the surf and Andrew and Dwane were worried they’d float away to South America.OGO Rotorua

After a few modifications and a name change, the Zorb was finally ready to be tested rolling down the hills of the Akers family farm near Kawerau and it worked! From humble beginnings the concept of downhill ball rolling was born.

Next step; launch it to the world!

What better place to unleash the quirky and bizarre concept to the public than Rotorua; tourist mecca of NZ.

After briefly trialing a temporary site in Auckland, the very first permanent downhill ball rolling site was opened to the public on 8th March 1997 on the edge of Mt Ngongotaha, Rotorua (on the exact site OGO Rotorua now operates today.) And their first ball rolling customers? A group of 89 people in for a corporate team building function. Not bad for a first day!

Andrew’s brother David had also recently joined the business to help with the operations and to manufacture the balls. The first Zorb site in Rotorua was a one-man operation, and according to David,  “In the early days, we used a quad bike to transport the customers and the Zorb to the top of the hill.  Then we used buckets of cold water from the farmers water trough to fill the ball. After launching the customers, I had to race the quad bikOGO Rotorua e back down the hill to catch the customers at the bottom.”

Zorb operated on this site for a year until the boys packed up and moved to a new location near the Agrodome.  In 1999, Dwane exited the company to return to his career as a software engineer, while Andrew and Dave continued to operate Zorb Rotorua and introduced the Zorb to the rest of the world. Eventually, unhappy with the direction of the company after several corporate investors became involved, Andrew and David made the tough decision to sell and leave Zorb in April 2006.

Fast forward to 2010

OGO Rotorua was created back on the original site where it all began on the edge of Mt Ngongotaha,. With Andrew and Dave at the helm, they have set about redesigning and developing the original site over the last couple of years – creating tracks, modifying designs and adding new features (no more cold trough water!!)  The boys have now successfully created the largest downhill ball rolling park in the world at OGO Rotorua and (spoiler alert) we are about to get even bigger later this year!



April 24, 2018


Can’t stop, won’t stop rolling! Nothing beats the rush of your first ever ZORB ride! Come and join the fun and see the world from the inside of our ZORB balls! 😎🌏💚 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenz #thingstodorotorua #fun #travel #actionshot #happy 

📸 | @janefroiland
That feeling when you master the perfect superman dive into the ZORB ball! 😎💚 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenz #nzmustdo #thingstodorotorua #fun #travel #inspo
Just landed… ZORB branded shoe decorations! Available to purchase very soon 😉👀💚 Disclaimer: Please do not attempt any of these sweet sweet dance moves without having 4wd mode activated. #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenz #thingstodorotorua #fun #crocs #crocsgang
Check out our site from a birds eye view! Showcasing our uniqueness and incredible ZORB tracks from a whole new perspective. 😄💚 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenz #thingstodorotorua #fun #travel #inspiration #aerialshot
For legal reasons this is a joke… we love all of our tourism operator mates 😅✌️💚 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenz #thingstodorotorua #fun #skylinerotorua #secretspothottubs #hobbiton #agrodome #velocityvalley #offroadnz
It’s the matching fits for us 😍 Check out these two rocking their matching swimwear and having an absolute blast! 🙌💚 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenz #thingstodorotorua #fun #adventuretime #matchingoutfits #couplegoals 

📸 | @amy_gabriella_b
Sorry can’t talk right now, I’m having the time of my life watching the world roll by from the inside of a ZORB ball! 🙌💚

📸 | @langweiledichnet 

#zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenz #thingstodorotorua #fun #travel #scenery #zorb #newzealand
Would love to see what the original video looks like… 🥲 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenz #thingstodorotorua #fun
Sun’s out, fun’s out! What a perfect way to spend a sunny day! ☀️ #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenz #sunnydays #fun #friends #thingstodorotorua
BRB, currently lost in this stunning view of Lake Rotorua and Mokoia Island at the top of our hill 😍 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenz #nzmustdo #view #rotoruaview #thingstodorotorua