Recently I was asked to recommend some ideas for good day trips around Wellington. While I certainly could think of many different places you could go, including Raumati, Greytown and Martinborough, the best day trip I can think of is to spend time at the exclusive luxury lodge just half an hour from the city, known to all simply as 'Boomrock'.
To Wellingtonians in the know, Boomrock is the stuff of legend. Located on a private property of 3000 acres, 750 ft above the Tasman Sea, the Boomrock Lodge is a cosy and atmospheric location for the perfect day out. Typically, someone you know has been to a work event or Christmas party at Boomrock - and you simply won't get them to shut up about it. "Boomrock!" Uncle Henry will cry at the family BBQ if you ask him about it. "Bloody nice out there!" Then he'll be stuck on repeat talking about how magical it is out on the Makara Clifftops are. Today, please allow me to be that annoying relation (luckily, if you want, there is a chance coming up to see it for yourself - Boomrock have an upcoming open day with Havana Coffee and Black Dog Brewery for their new beer 'Brewtus'). Spoiler: a day at Boomrock may be the best day you've ever had in Wellington.
Matt and I were fortunate enough to be invited out for a special event celebrating the Lions vs All Blacks a few weekends back. This was an event where you bought a ticket and experienced the best of Boomrock with around a dozen other like-minded souls. Half the people who were also there for the day were English folk, ready to make the most of Wellington while they were here. Here's the reasons why Boomrock is the best day trip they, or you, could choose to spend your pennies on:
1. The View
I mean, let's get into it. How stunning is that view??? This alone is ample reason to come out to Boomrock, no matter what the weather. From the cliffs, you look right across to the South Island, across the Cook Strait. I'm so glad the family who own Boomrock decided to share it with the rest of the world! It really does put life into perspective when you see a view like that. Also, phone service is a bit patchy at times (although they have free wi-fi) so you really are confronted with putting away your devices, focusing on why you came and looking out beyond a screen for a day.
2. The AMAZING Service
Speaking of service, what is certainly NOT patchy is the service you will experience from the amazing Boomrock staff, who are simply incredible. These guys are not only capable and knowledgeable about what they do here but also sincerely passionate. They know all about the history of the lodge and the best things to enjoy for the day. Typically, Boomrock is booked out only for functions and private events, so staff are trained to be catering to a high-standard of clientele - and all want to be there. From the Chef through to the Race Car Driver, Boomrock offers up experts to help you make the most of your day and really squeeze every last drop of enjoyment from your time spent with them.
3. The Crazy Range Of Activities
From clay-pidgeon shooting to golf, to race track driving (with experienced driver included) to archery and 4x4 driving over the green hills, Boomrock really does has something for everyone. These guys are total experts so you feel very safe in their hands at all times. Somehow, I found the bravery to subject myself to race track driving which was equally terrifying and riveting. I couldn't imagine anyone else I'd feel better about thrill seeking with than Boomrock. They also make sure that everything is optional so there is no pressure to do anything that you don't want to do. All these activities make for an exciting day that gets you involved and trying things you've never tried before (I even hit a clay bird or two!)
4. The Delicious Dining
Boomrock food is like nothing else. The delicate food and ideal location make this experience impossible to match. Of course, a glass of wine or two helps - but to eat on a cliff top cannot be compared! The duck wontons will remain in my memory for the rest of my life. Expect hearty farm-to-table fare, all lovingly prepared. I enjoyed how the Chef Mark Hartstonge came out of the kitchen to share his story about what we were enjoying for each course as well. Our wonderful appetiser of pork belly, followed by perfectly bloody steak and crisp green beans and finally a delicious lemon curd and raspberry treat really hit the spot big time. The kitchen uses the freshest New Zealand ingredients. I can personally guarantee you leave full, imbibed and very happy. Sat next to a log fire with great company and great drink? Yes, yes, YES!
5. You Can Even Fly Home
Alack, this was the part of our magical day I had to just pretend to do. We took the van back with everyone else. But if you have a cool $880 you can fly to or back from Boomrock in a Helicopter to Queens Wharf. Yes - this place really is the top dog when it comes to experiencing the best 24 hours in Wellington! Those Lions fans sure were impressed - and some even had the cash to splash!!
I LOVE Boomrock. It is basically my dream place - a fantasy of New Zealand come English estate. It is good on a sunny day or a grey day. Do as much or as little as you want. Just make sure than whether it is by going along to a specific open day or crashing a wedding, you make it there somehow.
You can head to http://www.boomrock.co.nz/whats-on to book your own Boomrock day. These are rare (as I said, it's mainly a function venue) so get in quick before it sells out! You'll get craft beer tasting, a long lunch, extreme golf, capapes and return transfer for $105 per head.