• 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

Why live life on the edge when you can roll off it Why live life on the edge when you can roll off it?! MEGA is the longest, steepest and fastest track in all the land! Plot twist, you also get arguably the best views in Rotorua from the top 💥👌 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #dosomethingnewnz
Psst... did you know that you can bring your water Psst... did you know that you can bring your waterproof camera or device inside the ZORB ball with you? 👀 Just make sure you remove any attachments and you're good to go! 

We're also now open 9:00am - 6:00pm which means more time for ZORB rolling goodness! 👍

#zorbrotorua #bytheinventors #rotoruanz #dosomethingnewnz
In celebration of the Longest Day tomorrow the 22n In celebration of the Longest Day tomorrow the 22nd of December, we bring you the Non-Stop Roll! We’re offering a morning or afternoon unlimited ride pass on our Straight, Sidewinder & Big Air tracks! Check the link in bio to book in! Limited spots available! 💚 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz
Another Rotorua Locals Day done and dusted! A mass Another Rotorua Locals Day done and dusted! A massive thank you to everyone that came along, together we raised around 1,500 cans for the Rotorua Salvation Army! Y'all rock! 🥫🤘🙌💥

#zorbrotorua #rotoruasalvationarmy #rotoruanz #dosomethingnewnz #nzmustdo
Thank you Rotorua! We are now FULLY BOOKED for our Thank you Rotorua! We are now FULLY BOOKED for our annual Rotorua Locals Day taking place tomorrow in support of the Rotorua Salvation Army! If you would still like to support the fantastic work of the Salvation Army you are more than welcome to visit our site tomorrow to drop off canned goods. Don’t forget we offer a 50% discount year round to Rotorua locals with proof of address! ✌️🥫 #zorbrotorua #rotoruasalvationarmy #rotoruanz
Back again for 2021 and proudly supporting the Rot Back again for 2021 and proudly supporting the Rotorua Salvation Army is our annual Rotorua locals day where individuals can exchange cans of food for ZORB rides! Due to the move to the new Covid-19 Protection Framework we have made a few changes. 

🥫19 December 2021 10:am - 4:00pm. Individuals will need to pre-book a timeslot, you can book online via the link in our bio or call our team to book in a time slot on 0800 646 768! 

🥫Limit two rides per person 

🥫All visitors to ZORB Rotorua over 12 years and 3 months must show proof of their vaccination via their My Vaccine Pass to gain entry to our site

🥫Bring along proof of Rotorua residency 

More details in the link in bio ✌️
We’re changing things up a bit this summer and a We’re changing things up a bit this summer and are asking everyone to secure a booking time. This will help assist with operations over those busy times and also ensure that we’re adhering to the new Covid-19 framework. You can book via our website link in bio or if you’re not sure what to book don’t worry! Feel free to give us a call on 0800 646 768 and our friendly front office team can book you into a timeslot! 🤩🙌👍 

#zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #nzmustdo #dosomethingnewnz
Behind the scene sneak peek 👀 of filming with @ Behind the scene sneak peek 👀 of filming with @sevensharptvnz and Ben Hurley, who was rolling round @rotoruanz in style... ZORB styles of course 😎 

If your Mum was hogging the TV watching boring soaps last night and you missed it - check out the link in bio to watch!💥

#zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #sevensharp #volcanicair #mountainbikerotorua
Kicking off our Longest Day celebrations in style Kicking off our Longest Day celebrations in style with Bubbles, Beats & Breakkie! Watch the sunrise over Lake Rotorua while enjoying a hot breakfast courtesy of our friends at Terrace Catering! While your dining take in the epic views and enjoy beats from the coolest DJ in town! Check out the link in bio for more information and to look buy tickets! 🥂🥞 #zorbrotorua #rotoruanz #dosomethingnewnz #terracecatering

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

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