On a pure and inexplicable whim, my friend and I signed up for a canopy adventure with Rotorua Canopy Tours. It is a tour through a “secret” forest protected by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. What makes this unique is that most of the tour is made high above the ground, as high as 40 meters in some points, using ziplines, treetop platforms, and hanging bridges. It is not a mere hiking tour, it is a flying tour!
Before this, I tried ziplining only once in my life and after a long moment of hesitation. And here I was, traversing Rotorua’s forest while suspended in mid-air. The tour starts with short ziplines, just enough to shake off the tension and anxiety and to build up one’s courage and confidence. The latter is very much needed because the tour culminates with a 220 meter-long zipline and a hanging bridge with no hand rails. To bring it up a notch higher, the guides incorporate fun challenges like falling backwards from the platform when on the longest zipline or a hands-free pose in the hanging bridge.
This tour does not require much physical fitness – just enough endurance to walk uphill around 300-400 meters, a good dose of courage, a non-existent fear of heights, and a great spirit of adventure.
Although I had no plans of doing this, I was glad I did. I hiked, and even flew around, a protected forest where I saw the country’s silver fern. I contributed to the forest conservation program, as part of the fee goes to the fund. I was one of the few sightseers. This is the term they give to those who miss the handle at the end of the 220 meter zipline and end up sliding back to, and swinging around, the 100 meter portion of the line, amidst the lush trees of the forest (Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I was too far away from the platforms, the fun but flustering moment could not be captured by the cameras). And at the end of it all, I became a pro in ziplining. Well, a pro, by my less demanding standards.