Give someone an activity as a present, and they’ll get the gift twice over – once as a surprise, and later when they take part. And it’s a memory shared if you get a group together to help celebrate. Here’s a sample, including some to stretch the comfort zone.

 01. Hoop it

Lucy Cooper of Coops Hoops swears just about anyone can be taught to hula hoop – learning how to do it is just part of the fun. Not only do you work out to music but the rocking motion tones muscles and relieves stress. Lucy runs regular group classes in the South Wairarapa, and you can buy a lesson or a season pass. For a special treat or a hen party, get a group together and try a Hoopy Afternoon

Tea with hula hooping followed by tea and cake, vintage-style from Alice’s Tea Party. Almost literally having your cake and eating it.

Coops Hoops, Ph: 021 022 11 414

Alice’s Tea Party, Ph: 021 949 049


02. Just like a bird

For those of us who can’t imagine flight without an engine, gliding might seem downright scary; glider pilots call it exhilarating and the closest we’ll ever get to cruising the thermals like a hawk. Greytown Soaring Centre at Papawai is home to both the Wellington and Wairarapa Gliding Clubs. Lessons and trial flights are available, ranging from a taster to a full day.

Greytown Soaring Centre,



03. Catch a wave

The Wairarapa’s long coastline draws surfers from all over the lower North Island, including experienced surfer Peter Geers of Epic Surf Schools. Based in Otaki, Peter regularly holds surf lessons in Castlepoint over summer and autumn. He teaches a range of ages, from youth groups to corporates to groups of friends. You can buy vouchers for individual or group lessons, but it’s more cost-effective if you can get a group together. Wetsuits and soft surfboards are provided. Learning how to stay safe in the water is part of the lesson.

Epic Surf School, Ph: 027 787 3464,


04. Arts and crafts

Unleash creativity with a gift of a workshop at Ventana Creative Collective. Classes in 2018 include making your own signature perfume, learning to play the ukulele, and recreating a masterpiece over a glass of wine. There are also workshops for children and hen parties. Most classes are entry level, the atmosphere is easy-going, and everyone walks away with their own creation.

8 Kitchener St, Martinborough, Ph: 06 306 9488,