Skyline Gondala is a company that operates gondola up the mountains near the city centre of Rotorua and Queenstown. I have never been to the Rotorua one, but I highly recommend the Queenstown one. It provides picturesque views of the city, every photo taken up there is perfection.
The mountain top The place is located 5 minutes drive from the city. It operates a lovely restaurant and cafes at the top, Kiwi Haka Maori cultural performances at night and luge experiences all day long. There is also a Kiwi Birdlife Park nearby which is perfect for family outings. The company car was a giant Tuatara cut in half, thought that was pretty cool. Reading my story about meeting a real tuatara–> Southland Museum: Meeting of the 113 yr old Henry the Tuatara
The luge itself was about NZD$45 for 5 rides. Initially I thought it will be quite boring, but it was actually pretty addictive. The ticket for the gondala was NZD$23 already, so it works out quite cheap. Before we got into the gondala, a staff member took a picture for us, the photo was then printed, of course we didn’t want to purchase the photo. We weren’t even picture ready. Thought it is a waste they print photos for each set of customers and chuck them away if they don’t purchase them.
The views from the gondala were very pretty, you can also see people bungy jumping at a cliff near by. It was quite entertaining since other than the view the ride itself was pretty boring. We met 3 French backpackers at the top and they spent 2 hours walking up the mountain just to save NZD$23! They sleep in cars just to save accommodation cost. Luckily it is New Zealand so it is safer to do so compare to other countries. They also went to Fox Glacier but they didn’t join the tour, which was a pity since the tour was one of the most worthwhile trip I have paid for.
The other side of the mountain was for luge, you only go down about half way of the mountain, afterwards there are other gondalas that can bring you back up. Each time on the gondala they will snap a picture for you, we have 5 times to take a perfect shot! There are also photo opportunities on the luge tracks. Again, it takes skills and luck to get perfect pictures.
Whether you have been here before or not, your first ride for the day must be scenic track. The staffs there will teach you how to accelerate and apply break on the luge. If you pass they will give you a stamp on your hand and you are good to go! The scenic track wasn’t boring or anything, it was just slower.
From 2nd time on wards we were on the fast advanced tracks, but I was considerably slower than my mates! Turns out I was too light, I had to borrow my friend’s backpack to increase my weight so I can “speed up”. This track was steeper and definitely addictive!
One of the staff saw me putting the bag on for extra weight, he was laughing his ass off. After having a backpack, I felt like I was travelling faster, although I am not sure if it was the bag or the staff now give me an extra kick on my luge when I take off.
The staff selling the photo was pretty awesome, we asked him to save all the pictures for us after our 5 rides so we can pick which one is better.
The cafe gave us discount since we did the lodge. Coffee and muffin was NZD$6 in total. Pretty decent quality too. All the pictures taken here are beautiful. Must be one of my favourite photo spot in the world!
Read in Chinese 中文版: 皇后鎮覽車 去看最美的景點 + 滑車Luge
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