Gun-toting Sarah Ell becomes a member of the cool crowd for a high-flying adventure.
What could be a better antidote to the stresses and boredom of everyday life than an active day out in the country, followed by a gourmet lunch? Getting there by helicopter, of course.
Wellingtonians have been enjoying functions and events at the original Boomrock, on the coast northeast of the capital, for years, and now it's Auckland's turn.
Kauri Bay Boomrock, a 200ha rural property on the Clevedon coast, is a new corporate and private entertainment venue, offering a range of activities and experiences and, of course, top-notch cuisine. It's the kind of place you might go for a stag or hens' do, a day out with family to celebrate a special occasion, or as a treat with a group of friends.
You can only get there by coach (that's fancy for "bus") or, as in our case, helicopter.
Chopper company Heletranz is offering day-trip packages to Boomrock, and the flight is just the first of many attractions.
Let me let you in on a little secret: the reason rock stars and seriously rich people travel by helicopter isn't because it's convenient. Oh no. It's mostly because it's really cool.
We leave from Heletranz's Albany helipad, and because I am in the second "load" of the day, our party has to jog out on to the tarmac to board the helicopter while the rotors are still running. Just like James Bond, but without people shooting at you.
Decked out in headphones with microphones — added cool factor — we lift off and chopper away. From above, the city and harbour are transformed into a three-dimensional map. You're close enough to see lots of detail, but high enough to see for miles.
The only drawback is that the trip seems all too short: 14 minutes after take-off we are descending into a farm gully to land at Boomrock's The Bunker.
The first activity is skeet or claybird shooting. The hills at Boomrock are fitted with a range of traps, simulating the flight patterns of different game from duck to grouse to pheasants.
I have to admit I am a little nervous; the last time I shot anything was at Girl Guide camp in the 1980s and my lasting memory of the experience was almost being knocked over by the kickback from the shotgun.
But I'm in capable hands here: Kauri Bay Boomrock's managing director Ollie Ormond is calling the shots and talks me through how to follow the "bird" out of the trap and across the sky before blasting it to bits with a modern semi-automatic shotgun.
It is surprisingly satisfying to blow the little clay discs to pieces and I finish with a creditable four hits from 10 shots (I know that's actually six misses, but it felt good). Girl Guides obviously taught me more than fancy knots.
Golf and archery
If you had to pick one of the world's most scenic driving ranges, it would have to be the front deck of Kauri Bay Boomrock.
With The Lodge perched on the top of a hill looking north, across the Tamaki Strait to Waiheke, there's plenty of room to swing a club.
There's a $10,000 Boomrock voucher up for grabs if you can land the ball in the third hole, 320m away on the other side of the steep-sided valley, but most of our party are happy to just give the monogrammed balls a satisfying thwack and watch them fly over the farmland below. I'm satisfied to just get it off the tee into the long grass using the largest wood available.
Also adjacent to The Lodge is an archery range. Learning to use the bow and how to actually get the arrow anywhere near the target is challenging and enjoyable, but let's just say it's just as well The Hunger Games aren't a reality for the average punter.
Eating and drinking
All this activity has built up a hunger, which we satisfy with a long lunch inside the lodge.
The modernist-style building has been designed to maximise its outlook, which is hard to look away from.
Boomrock's chef Jeroen van Bilsen uses as much fresh local Clevedon produce as possible, and we do it justice before retiring to the deck to continue to stare at the view. All too soon our flying chariot arrives to take us back to real life, via another stunning aerial view of the Hauraki Gulf.
Our day out at Kauri Bay Boomrock has certainly been one out of the box, and something I will drop into conversation for some time to come.
After all, it was seriously cool.