Picture Me Rollin’

We rolled into Rotorua and I had one thing on my mind…riding an outdoor gravity orb which is an adventure activity that involves climbing in a big inflated hamster ball and rolling down the hillside. The ball is 11 feet in diameter and has over 1,000 plastic anchors and 600 strings. Each ball is handmade in Tauranga, New Zealand and takes over 100 hours to construct.  The sport was invented in New Zealand in 1994 and has since become a must-do when visiting the kiwi island.IMG_0413 (1024x768)This activity was instantly added to my bucket list when I saw a story on the news almost a decade ago. When we decided to travel to New Zealand, I knew I had to try it. Annie and I stopped into to OGO Rotorua and were greeted by Chris Roberts who designed and built the courses we were about to run.  The owner of OGO Rotorua is one of the inventors of the double skinned inflatable sphere or outdoor gravity orb (OGO) so we knew we came to the right place.IMG_0420 (1024x768)After some initial info, we decided to do their H2OGO track first with 40 liters of water inside gravity orb. This track is 250 meters long and is the longest straight run in New Zealand. It can be run with one, two, or three people in the same orb and is a great introduction to the sport.DSC_8221 (1024x680)We were taken to the top of the hill and did a superman jump to get into the orb. Within seconds we were rolling.

DSC_8179 (1024x680) DSC_8180 (1024x680) DSC_8184 (1024x680)It was a crazy experience being inside the spinning orb flying down the hill with Annie squawking the whole way down (her words not mine). Because the orb was filled with water, we basically floated around inside and were not tossed around at all. From the outside, the orbs look like they are moving slowly but while we were in there, it felt incredibly fast! We made it safely to the bottom and couldn’t believe the whirlwind we just encountered.DSC_8188 (1024x680) DSC_8199 (1024x680) DSC_8201 (1024x680)After climbing out of the orb, Chris highly recommended a run down the SIDEWINDER track. This track is 350 meters long and is the longest gravity orb track in the world. The orb snakes down the hillside and banks up onto the curves making the rider slide around inside and really adds a different element to the experience. Annie and I climbed in again and were off on our two minute ride to the bottom.DSC_8232 (1024x680) DSC_8234 (1024x680) DSC_8237 (1024x680)At each embankment, our direction changed and we were sloshed around inside. Because we had two people inside, we were able to carry a lot more speed than a single rider. This allowed us to go higher on the banks and made for an awesome ride. Annie was screaming with excitement and I couldn’t stop laughing. The SIDEWINDER was awesome and we were totally pumped when we got to the bottom.DSC_8238 (1024x680) DSC_8249 (1024x680)OGO Rotorua also has the FISHPIPE, a device that they invented to simulate the experience of gravity orbing without the need for a hill. Up to three people can be inside with 60 liters of water. The staff controls the speed and can send the riders along at 35-45 r.p.m. for 90 seconds.DSC_8224 (1024x680)Gravity orbing with OGO was an incredible experience and was certainly one that Annie and I will never forget. Thanks again to Chris Roberts and his staff at OGO Rotorua! Chris told us that OGO has two sites within the USA, Amesbury Sports Park in Massachusetts and Roundtop Ski Resort in Pennsylvania, so the kiwis aren’t the only ones that can have all the fun. They are a top-notch outfit and gravity orbing with OGO is a must-do if you are in Rotorua or any of their US locations.

Disclosure: We received complimentary gravity orb rides with OGO in exchange for sharing our experience. These thoughts and opinions are completely our own. Photos and video are courtesy of OGO.

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