It’s a corporate paradox that in an increasingly virtual world ruled by email, the connections between people are more important than ever. A well-planned team-bonding experience can provide new perspective for your employees, break people out of bad habits, reinvigorate their work life and turn a group of individuals into a team. “A good team-building exercise has something for everybody,” says Terry Hewett, founder of Adventure Out. “Not everyone has to wear the Superman cape. Ultimately it’s about the relationships between colleagues and how they are negotiated for the greater good.” Here are 10 of the best team-bonding destinations.
NEW SOUTH WALES
There are a number of different ways for corporate groups to slice and dice the famous Sydney Harbour climb, whether it’s enjoying canapés while on the bridge, incorporating pre-climb team-building exercises, or simply the use of seminar and conference facilities before greeting the stunning panorama.
Graffiti Art, Sydney
Hundreds of company teams have walked on the art world’s wild side over the past eight years with Hidden Door’s Sydney graffiti art experience. Aerosol artists help teams make their own piece of street art with a focus on exploring different aspects of design and incorporating key messages. Grab a blank canvas and unleash your inner Bansky.
Otway Fly Treetop Adventures
There’s something for everyone at this forest adventure park near Colac and the Great Otway National Park, ranging from a gentle two-kilometre walk through the treetops, to a 2.5-hour guided adventure featuring six separate ziplines, two suspension bridges, and abseiling off a 23-metre height. They’ll cater lunch, too – perhaps a barbecue – and also offer private space for presentations.
Hedgend Maze, Healesville
You really can get lost in Healesville’s 1.2-kilometre-long hedge maze – in fact, when The Block filmed here, host Scott Cam declared it had more twists and turns than a Russian gymnast. Cryptic clues can be scattered throughout the maze to send a corporate message – and there are another 20 acres of grounds for activities such as Frisbee golf.
Celebrity Chef Cooking School, Sunshine Coast
The way to a corporate team’s heart is through its stomach. At this outdoor kitchen in the gorgeous Sunshine Coast hinterland, start by gathering produce from the huge working kitchen garden, then cook up a storm under the watchful eye of a visiting celebrity chef such as Martin Boetz (ex-Longrain) or Ready, Steady Cook’s Dominique Rizzo. Oh, and finish by enjoying the fruits of your labours at a very long lunch. Go to freestyleescape.com.au
Escape Hunt, Brisbane
Being locked in a room with five colleagues mightn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but these themed live escape games give teams an adrenaline-pumping 60 minutes to find the clues and solve puzzles that will release them – and teamwork is the key to freedom, says CPA Sarah Richards from PWC Indigenous Consulting: “It’s definitely not a stereotypical team-building exercise… lots of fun and challenging, too, when all we had to go on were some footprints and a mirror with writing on the other side.”
Survivor Kangaroo Island
The pristine wilderness of Kangaroo Island off the South Australian coast would be a great place for a series of reality TV show Survivor – and now the corporate world has a chance to emulate prime time with games that pit team against team in physical and mental challenges, over one or two days. h
There are two options for corporate teams on board Sail Darwin’s 15-metre catamaran, says captain David Woodrow. There’s team building, that involves splitting into teams to sail and navigate the vessel; or there’s team bonding, that involves “having a few drinks and playing get-to-know-you games”. Take your pick – or perhaps up the ante with a Champagne sunset sail or a chance to see nesting turtles.
Raft-building, Point Walter
The challenge is to build a raft. A raft that floats. But first teams have to solve puzzles and challenges, all involving teamwork and cooperation, to win the equipment they need, such as wood, rope, barrels, paddles and lifejackets – and then they need to negotiate among themselves which materials to prioritise. “The activity creates multiple layers as they split into groups and sub-groups and we see how they negotiate and who takes credit and how they negotiate among themselves. The raft is really a metaphor – and of course they have to hope it floats at the end,” says Adventure Out owner Terry Hewett.
Adventure for Life, Hobart
It’s a collision of history and hospitality in the Tassie capital. Teams are set orienteering challenges along the Hobart waterfront, winning points for finding maritime clues on local landmarks in a half-day challenge. Later they can take wine and whisky tastings on Salamanca Place. Walkie-talkie challenges emphasise the need for team communication, and corporate social responsibility can be promoted via teams playing for charity. Go to adventureforlife.com.au