High-Flying Sightseeing with Rotorua Canopy Tours

Rotorua Canopy Tours is one of the most popular Rotorua attractions, and rightly so, as it offers an unparalleled and unique view of the native forest, and a chance to encounter some of the amazing wildlife who live there. While there are many interesting things to do in Rotorua, this tour also offers the opportunity to learn about the native forests and to contribute to an active conservation program.

The Rotorua Canopy Tour is situated within the Mamaku forest just a short drive from the town of Rotorua, in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand. The three-hour tour consists of a 1.2 km network of trails through an impressive ancient forest, including two 10-meter high swing bridges and six zip lines between ten tree-top platforms. People from 6 to 93 have enjoyed the experience, making it one of the top things to do in Rotorua for families.

While New Zealand offers visitors many fantastic sightseeing opportunities, Rotorua Canopy Tours is the country’s only zipline/flying fox native forest tour, and even those who are nervous about heights will quickly find themselves absorbed by the beauty of the forest. A maximum of ten people are accompanied by two knowledgeable local guides, so all you have to do is follow their instructions and enjoy yourself. Safety is of the utmost importance, and on all the open platforms and the ziplines you are always connected to a safety line.

Rotorua Canopy Tours

 Journey through some of NZ’s best native forest with Rotorua Canopy Tours (Photo credit Rotorua Canopy Tours)

When James Fitzgerald started the project back in 2008 he wanted to do more than just create an exciting attraction, and so the 500-hectare Dansey Road Scenic Reserve project was started. Backed by the Department of Conservation, the objective is to eradicate the invasive predators which have decimated the native wildlife. Due to New Zealand's remote location many unique species evolved thanks to the absence of ground based mammals. However man's arrival brought predators such as stoats, ferrets, possums and rats, and these invasive species quickly spread and multiplied with an easy diet of the unsuspecting native animals and birds. It is estimated that in just 200-years 40-percent of New Zealand's endemic creatures became extinct, and to this day about 26-million native birds are killed each year by introduced predators.

Nearly 45,000 people have enjoyed the Rotorua Canopy Tour since it opened in 2012, and part of their admission fees, along with visitor donations and trap sponsorships have made possible the eradication of these pests in nearly 10 percent of the forest. Now the songs of the Kereru, Tui, Whiteheads, Fantails, Robins and Tomtits can again be heard. 

 zipline over the Rotorua forests

 Fly over the forest canopy on the Tui Song zipline (Photo credit Rotorua Canopy Tours) 

For many the highlight of the Rotorua Canopy Tour may be the 220 meter Tui Song zipline, which starts from a platform in a 500 year old Rimu tree. For others it is the opportunity to hand feed rare native birds, as with a little quiet patience and a bit of luck you may be rewarded as a North Island Robin swoops down to feast on the banquet of worms in your outstretched hand, or you may even be privileged enough to receive the visit of a Tomtit.

The native forest of Tawa, Rimu and Miro trees is impressive at any time of day, but especially in the morning and late afternoons and when it is raining and the shafts of light illuminate the raindrops on the giant ferns. Rotorua Canopy tours operates rain or shine and enclosed footwear, thick socks and warm clothing is recommended, but extra waterproof clothing is available if required. For visitors flying into New Zealand, the best way to reach Rotorua is to hire a rental car from Wellington or Auckland Airport and take a drive along State Highway 1. Rotorua Canopy Tours provides an amazing way to experience some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery, and is a must-do activity for anyone travelling through the North Island. 

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