Our Story

An Eco Tour Like No Other

Our Story

Canopy Tours

   How it all began

“Rotorua Canopy Tours took nearly 5 years from the spark of inspiration until the first customers came on one of our treetop canopy tours with us.”


Way back in 2008 it started with a vision – the vision was to create a visitor experience that was so removed from the real world that it would become the most premium and sought-after experience in the whole of New Zealand. An experience so bold that adventure, education, conservation, natural beauty and people would collide to create an experience with no peers…

And 11 years on Rotorua canopy Tours can claim to have ticked all the boxes, won every award, delighted 10,000’s of people, restored a forest and delivered on this far sighted vision.

So, keep reading, because here it is – the story about how a vision became a business, and how the business became a sought-after icon….



Rotorua Canopy Tours was never about the ziplines


It was never about the ziplines, it was about a mind-blowing inaccessible forest environment – a lifechanging encounter with the natural world that would delight both international visitors and inspire New Zealanders. The forest would provide the magic setting – the ziplines and swing bridges simply a way to experience it.

And That’s how the journey began.

James was a young guy with a bold vision asked his buddy, engineer Andy to help him create it. And they did. They found a forest that had stood for centuries, found a path through the jungle, somehow built it and shared it with the world. The customers started slow, and then as word got out more turned up, then more, then more, then more. So many that within 6 years the team had grown from 3 to 60!


In 2013 they decided to restore the forest. It was silent because of an endemic New Zealand problem. They spent the customers money (over ½ a million dollars) removing every rat and possum that was destroying the environment. They caught 1000’s of rats and possums and the native birds came back and the trees recovered. The ancient forest came back to life and the eco – system sang again. Tourism was restoring nature. A pre human environment was being re- created and customers were delighting in its restored beauty.

Customers are still buzzing out; the media are still writing stories and awards are still rolling in. But James and Andy have never lost touch of what Canopy Tours is all about. Outstanding visitor experiences…. Creating memories, amazing moments, the highlights of someone’s life, that’s why it was created.

Today, under inspirational leader, Paul Button, the business continues to provide outstanding experiences every day for those privileged people that choose to become part of the Rotorua Canopy Tours experience. So, come and be part of the story, create your own memories and judge it all for yourself.


Each and every tour with Rotorua Canopy Tours is guided by two of our highly trained Kiwi guides from a range of different backgrounds. Regardless of where they have come from we put them through a rigorous induction program and run continual training to ensure all guides are competent and confident in all of our zipline safety systems.


Rotorua Canopy Tours are proud to celebrate the
environmental and tourism awards we have received, check
them out below.


Air New Zealand Supreme Award 2016

New Zealand Tourism Awards
Rotorua Canopy Tours took out the tourism industry’s top prize, the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award at a glitzy black tie event in Auckland attended by the Prime Minister John Key.

Visitor Experience Award 2016

New Zealand Tourism Awards
The judges said, “at the heart of Rotorua Canopy Tours’ success is an exceptional visitor experience that has raised the bar of personalisation, authenticity, and fun, attracting a premium price tag.”

Environmental Tourism Award 2016

New Zealand Tourism Awards
Conservation is a big part of Rotorua Canopy Tours, and being recognised with the Environmental Tourism Award for our efforts was a great feeling! Click here to read more about our conservation programme…

Attractions Business Award 2016

Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Awards
The judges said “Canopy Tours did a fantastic job of celebrating and promoting all that was wonderful about Rotorua and the region – its beautiful natural environment and opportunities for adventure.”


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