What shall we do in the holidays? Bet you’ve said that a few times. Well here’s the answer: Take your children to the Rotorua Canopy Tours.

Liv­ing in the Bay, we have so many bril­liant options for hol­i­day activ­i­ties right on our doorstep. Rotorua Canopy Tours is a top rat­ed activ­i­ty Tri­pAd­vi­sor and was half a day of hol­i­day swing­ing through the canopy of a native forest on zip lines. Basi­cal­ly, you’re a mon­key. It was bril­liant.

I packed my chil­dren and a pic­nic, and head­ed down to the Canopy Tours HQ on Fairy Springs Road (almost oppo­site the gon­do­la).

We were rigged up with har­ness­es and dri­ven by our two guides Scott and Scott, to the Dan­sy Road Scenic Reserve, where the zip lines are set up.

You do a 1.2km loop through the forest on a mix­ture of zip lines, swing bridges and on foot. There are two aspects to the tour. One is the adven­ture side: being hooked up to a zip line, hang­ing from a rope, and fly­ing 220 metres through ancient, untouched native forest to a small plat­form attached to a tree. To be look­ing at the forest from such a dif­fer­ent van­tage point was so absorbing. I could have done it 20 times and still found some­thing dif­fer­ent to look at.

The oth­er aspect is the con­ser­va­tion work that’s being done by Canopy Tours to bring back native birds and wildlife in the forest.

James Fitzger­ald and uni­ver­si­ty mate Andrew Black­ford set up Canopy Tours in 2012. They had a vision of woosh­ing through tree­tops hav­ing done it else­where in the world. They leased an area of land from the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and used a pota­to gun to launch their first nylon zip line. Stand­ing still, they realised it was real­ly qui­et in the forest. Which wasn’t right. Pos­sums and rats and stoats were plough­ing through ani­mals includ­ing native birds. James and Andrew have tak­en it upon them­selves to regen­er­ate the native birdlife in the forest to such an extent that they are win­ning awards all over the place for their con­ser­va­tion efforts. And telling­ly, they won the supre­me award in the 2016 New Zealand Tourism Awards.

We had an Aus­tralian fam­i­ly in our group, who told us that pos­sums are seen pret­ty dif­fer­ent­ly in Aus­tralia where they are her­bi­vores. The Kiwi pos­sums have devel­oped into omni­vores, and all the extra pro­tein in their diet means many are the size of small dogs, and are seri­ous preda­tors.

I won’t ruin Scott and Scott’s talk by telling you every­thing now, but they are pas­sion­ate about con­ser­va­tion. As well as run­ning the tours, they also do much of the con­ser­va­tion work in the forest. One of them was from Tau­ran­ga, and one from Rotorua. They were kind and friend­ly to our chil­dren, and like so many of the oth­er peo­ple work­ing in the tourism indus­try, they gen­uine­ly enjoyed their job.

Our ver­dict? It was a big thumbs up from us. Do it!

What you need to know

Dura­tion: 3 hours from arriv­ing at the office to being dropped back

Adren­a­line-ome­ter: it all sounds scary, but it wasn’t. It was more awe inspir­ing than scary. We had chil­dren as young as six on our group and they were total­ly fine.

What to wear: it was a bit cool­er in the forest than the city, so wear an extra lay­er.

Top tip: rent a GoPro from Canopy Tours, and record your fun. You get a card with all your videos on. And def­i­nite­ly take your phone to record each oth­er step­ping out into a world of green!