• OGO Rotorua, NZ

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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

#ZORBROTORUA

Tomorrow’s forecast = perfect for some night time ZORB rides 👀. Think warm water, hot tubs, sauna, hot chocolates, delicious food AND a fully stocked bar….how could you go wrong? This is one of our favourite nights of the year! 

The 6:00pm slot is nearly sold out, so we've added another time slot for 6:30pm, tickets via the link in bio!
Views on views, Darkest Night edition! We still have tickets available for our night ZORB ride event this Thursday! Check the link in bio to book tickets! ✨✌️ #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #nzmustdo
Never a dull moment around here! Lion King ZORB edition 😎🦁 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #nzmustdo
Different start to the day today with our very own @peter_w_kingi being interviewed live for Australia’s most popular breakfast show @sunriseon7 talking all things ZORB! 💥 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenz #sunriseon7
Views on views this morning, captured by the one and only @peter_w_kingi 😍 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #purenewzealand
Okay people we need your help! Following on from our inaugural ZORB crew bake off last year, we've decided to step things up a notch with My Kitchen Rules - ZORB Edition. 

Put your suggestions below for what our special ingredient should be and we'll put a poll on our stories! If your ingredient is picked, we'll send some ZORB vouchers your way! ✌️

P.S. Special ingredient must be easy to source in Rotorua and suitable for sweet and savoury dishes. 

#zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #mykitchenrules
ZORB Tesla sitting pretty with its new mate from Go Rentals 🚗 #zorbrotorua #gorentals #rotoruanz #nzmustdo #gorentalsnz
Easter is almost here! 🐰 We're open ALL Easter Weekend and for the duration of the school holidays 9:00am - 5:00pm for all of your ZORB ride goodness! 

#zorbrotorua #bytheinventors #rotoruanz #nzmustdo #dosomethingnewnz
Rainy day family fun, we’re open Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s 10:00am - 5:00pm! 🌧☔️🙌✌️#zorbnewzealand #rotoruanz #nzmustdo

DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS ICONIC KIWI INVENTION, WHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

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