Skyline Adventures

There are many ways to see the sights on a vacation to New Zealand. You could take the bus and enjoy the sights from your window. You could rent a car and have total freedom over where you want to go. You could even walk and enjoy the scenery at your own pace. However, there is another option you should consider – the Skyline Luge.

Strap yourself into a small 1-person (or even 2-person) sled and slide down a sloping track, with the wind whistling in your ears and whipping through your hair. The ride is in your control. You can use your calf muscles and your shoulders to accelerate or slow down. Take the turns and twists of the track at incredible speeds and even if you do tumble, get back up, dust yourself off and hop on again for the ride of your life. 

This is the new way to see New Zealand, and we’re going to show you how and where you can participate in this incredible activity!

How does it work?:

The activity starts with a Gondola ride. In Rotorua, for instance, you’ll ride up 900m to the Skyline Complex. There you can pause for a few moments to enjoy the spectacular view of Rotorua City Centre, the rippling Rotorua lake and the steam spirals rising from the Geothermal Valley. Once you can tear your eyes away from the view, grab a luge, gear up and choose your track. You can then start your grand slide down the skyline.


Where is this activity available?:

Currently in New Zealand, the two cities that offer luging are in Rotorua (North Island) and Queenstown (South Island). We’re going to break down what you can do at each location.


Rotorua is the birthplace of luging in New Zealand. It all began here in 1985 and continues to thrive to this day. You’ll start the experience by taking (as we’ve mentioned) a ride on the eight-seater Gondola to the Skyline Complex. Once you’ve reached the top, you have the choice of three different luge trails (based on the level of difficulty). The trails in Rotorua twist and turn through a gorgeous redwood forest. As you glide across the trail, you’ll be treated to visuals of some spectacular landscapes. Once you’ve reached the bottom, you can catch the Gondola back to the top of the trail.

Other activities: Once you’re done with the ride downhill, you can always ride back up to experience some incredible activities at the Skyline complex. Sky swings, zoom ziplines, the Jelly Belly Store, star gazing, trekking and walking tracks and mountain biking are all up for grabs. If the ride worked up an appetite, you could dine at the Stratosfare Restaurant or the Market Kitchen and enjoy stunning mountaintop views as you eat. Couples can enjoy handcrafted rose, sauvignon blanc and other varieties of local wine at the luxury wine tasting rooms at the Volcanic Hills Winery. If your day is packed with New Zealand tour activities, you can always book a Night Luge and enjoy the city lights as you zoom down the trail. 


At Queenstown, you can catch the Gondola and ride 450-metres high on the Southern Hemisphere’s steepest cable car to the top of Bob’s peak. Watch from the sky as Queenstown unfolds underneath you and the waves of Lake Wakatipu glimmer in the sunlight.  At the top you can drink in the spectacular view of Coronet Peak, Walter and Cecil Peak and The Remarkables Mountain Range and ski field. You can then hop on to the luge and let gravity pull you forward into an adrenaline pulsing ride. You’ll be in complete control during this 800m trail, filled with turns, twists, banked corners, tunnels and dippers. Once you reach the bottom, just grab the chairlift and head back up to do it all over again.

Other Activities: You’re in the adventure capital of New Zealand, so you’re going to have plenty of opportunities to thrill you. Go stargazing at Bob’s Peak, explore the biking trails of Queenstown Bike Park, dine at the Stratosfare Restaurant & Bar while gazing at the mountain top views, buy gifts and souvenirs from the Skyline Gift Shop, grab a quick bite or a hot cup of coffee at the Market Kitchen Café and let your inner child out at the Jelly Belly candy store.

How Safe is the Luge?:

There’s no denying that this activity is exciting. However, there are rules in place so that you get all the adrenaline rush without the risk. If you’re signing up for the activity, you will need to comply with the safety procedures in place. You’ll receive a thorough safety briefing from trained instructors before the first Luge ride. Your first ride will also be on the Blue Track to see how confident and in control you are of the luge. If you’re confident enough, you can then proceed to the Red Track. 

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The helmet is mandatory. There’s no riding the luge without it.
  • It will be your responsibility to keep the luge cart under control. Stay alert and avoid colliding with other rides.
  • Pull the handlebars back stop
  • Keep your feet in the luge at all times
  • Obey all signs and warnings on the track
  • Alcohol and drug use before the ride are prohibited
  • Do not wear loose jackets, scarves or carry any bags on the ride. Long hair should be tied and out of the way
  • No group racing, bumping other riders or skidding
  • Make sure you’re in good health before you take this ride. Pregnant women are advised against taking this ride
  • Children must be at least 6 years old and 110 cm (or taller) to ride the Blue Track unaccompanied
  • Children need to be at least 6 years and 135cm (or taller) to ride the Red Track unaccompanied  

With all these safety guidelines in place, and the rush, zest and sheer fun of gliding, sliding and slicing your way down the hill, luging should be on your list of activities to do in Rotorua or Queenstown. So, once you start planning your trip, why not make things easier? You can visit the Thomas Cook website to check out the varied range of New Zealand Holiday Packages we offer. So, grab your helmet, the luge, take a deep breath and fling yourself into the ride of your life. 

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