Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Daring Skyrides

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Daring Skyrides

Article excerpt

Byline: Ann Rickard

IF anyone had told me I'd be rushing down a mountain at great speed on a low flat board-like contraption I would never have believed them.

I am, after all, a woman of a certain age - I didn't even think I'd be able to get so low down to the ground in a sitting position to get on this thing called a Luge. But there I was whizzing down Mt. Ngongotaha around twisting bends flanked by magnificent Redwood trees, the wind slapping my face, as carefree and exhilarated as a teenager.

The Luge, a three-wheel cart with a unique braking and steering system designed in Rotorua - where I happened to be whizzing down a mountain - is just one exciting experience to be enjoyed at Skyline Skyrides, Rotorua's family attraction set high on the side of Mt. Ngongotaha.

"Once in never enough" is the motto regarding a Luge ride here, and I couldn't have agreed more.

At the end of my ride down the two kilometre beginner's track through those beautiful Redwood trees, my cheeks flushed, my spirits lifted, I was ready to head back up the mountain on the chairlift and tackle the immediate track. I even felt up for the challenge of the advanced track with the big dipper section; Luge riding really is that addictive.

A small group of us had been swept gracefully up Mt. Ngongotaha in an eight-seater gondola where, at 487 metres above sea level, the views of Lake Rotorua, Mt. Tarawere and the city became more breathtaking by the minute.

At the top of the mountain, our instinct was to head straight inside the spacious Cableway Restaurant where we knew the views would be spectacular, the wine list would boast some of New Zealand's best vintages and the menu would overflow with more offerings of the fresh seafood and juicy lamb we'd so enjoyed over the past few days in Rotorua. But the gravity ride on the Luge ride came first. And we were delighted with the experience.

Then, with the night settling in and the lights of Rotorua beginning to twinkle way down below, it was time to eat and drink. …

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