Welcome to Skyline Rotorua! Find Covid-19 info here.

A Skyline Rotorua Gondola Cabin Makes Its Way To The Top A Skyline Rotorua Gondola Cabin Makes Its Way To The Top

Education Resources

Skyline Rotorua is a popular destination for school groups and educational field trips, offering study material for various types of projects as well as the visitor attractions that appeal to children of all ages.

Skyline Rotorua is a member of the Rotorua Education Network (REN) - a first-of-its-kind tourism collective solely dedicated to the education industry. All REN members have a curriculum-based educational component to their product or have an added value component to their core service, specifically developed for education groups. 

To book a school group please contact our functions team on 07 347 0027 or email us at 
[email protected]

Childs drawing of the Skyline Rotorua Gondola.

Below are some interesting projects relating to Skyline Rotorua's Gondola complex and the surrounding area that has been prepared by Brian Gore of the Education Department in Rotorua.

It includes:

  • A geological study (earth science).
  • A geographical study (orientation, urban and town studies, weather patterns).
  • A mechanical study (mechanics of the Gondola and Luge).

Useful equipment you'll require for this project:

  • A workbook for notes and diagrams.
  • A pencil and a rubber.
  • Compasses and binoculars.
  • Topographic and city maps.

Geological Study Activities:

The Rotorua Lake and low lying basin area is part of the Rotorua Caldera, which dates back 140,000 years when major volcanic eruptions formed the Mamaku Plateau of ignimbrite deposits. Ignimbrites are solid blocks of pumice which solidify after cooking following an eruption.

The Caldera resulted from magma (molten rock) erupting through vents from underground and depositing the erupted material (the ignimbrite) on the surrounding countryside. This left a huge underground cavern and the ground subsided into the cavern, leaving a huge depression which filled with water and formed Lake Rotorua. This was 15 kilometres wide from Hamurana in the north to Whakarewarewa in the south.

During the eruptions from several vents, lava came out (similar to toothpaste being squeezed from a tube). These formed volcanic domes, and Mount Ngongotaha, Mokoia Island, Hospital Hill, Kawaha Point and Hinemoa Point are all examples of these domes. The lake during this period was 80 metres higher than it is now. The line of the old lake level can be seen in some places.

Approximately 22,000 years ago an outlet formed at Ohau Channel and the lake dropped to 30 metres quite quickly. It continued to drop over the next 5,000 years to a level 3 metres below its present level, and a forest grew to the Lake edge. 700 years ago the Mamaku Ash eruption partially blocked the channel again and the lake rose to 13 metres above its present level, drowning the forest and covering most of what is now Rotorua. As the Ohau Channel eroded open, the lake dropped to its present level.

Earth Science:

An overall picture of the landforms which make up the Rotorua Basin and surrounding hills. Binoculars and Compasses would be useful.

Between Pylon 3 and 5 we travel over a flat area which was a Lake Terrace. The lake in early times came to this level.

Between Pylon 5 and 6 we pass beside two ridges which were old lava flows. Some exposed rock boulders show the folds of the material as it rolled down the slope and hardened.


Excellent opportunities exist for practice in compass work and in identifying and plotting features on maps.

Urban and Town Studies:

Most of Rotorua is clearly visible. Using a map of Rotorua, places, buildings, schools, industrial areas, commercial areas, recreation areas, the road network can be discussed and plotted.

Weather Patterns:

Wind directions from the smoke drift. Wind speed - the anemometer on the top of the pylon registers wind speed in the Skyline Office.

Mechanical Study Activities:

Examine how the Gondola system works.

Examine a luge cart, how does it steer?

Gondola Lift Technical Data:
Slope Length 872.85 metres
Vertical Rise     178.5 metres
Drive & Return Bull Wheel 5.20 metres
Drive Speed 3.8m/per second
Cabin Spacing      72 metres
Drive Output Continuous 236kw
Cabin Interval   14 seconds
Hourly Capacity  2000 people
Trip Time average of 7 minutes
Number of Cabins     33 + 1
Diameter of Hauling Cable   43mm
Direction of Cabin Rotation   Clockwise