Working in a large company comes with perks such as a weekend “team building” trip to the North Island. Socializing with work colleagues is huge in NZ, so I went along for the trip. We had a weekend of hiking, mountain biking, team building activities, and then I stayed an extra day to go skiing at Mt Ruapehu (Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings).
A great view of the south island mountains from the air. Imagine being one of the first pioneers trying to cross this terrain without a map or an airplane….you wouldn’t see that the mountains are almost endless until you struggled to the top of one peak after another, only to see still more in the distance.
Feilding, a small town where we stopped on the drive, boasts the Feilding Saleyards. Daily auctions for sheep, cattle and deer made this one of the biggest livestock exchanges in the southern hemisphere.
A few of us took a walk to a waterfall while we were waiting for people to arrive from four different cities around NZ.
We sat through about 90 minutes of business talk in the morning, then we were free to build our team by riding trails on mountain bikes. The Old Coach Road is a 15km historic road that linked two railroads prior to a junction track being built. It is now a biking/running track that DOC (Department of Conservation) maintains.
The track is overgrown now, but once upon a time a coach was able to pass.
The original bridge, which is now part of the cycle trail.
The new train bridge now does the job.
An engineers’ retreat can not be complete without some type of nerdy competition. We were given a pound of spaghetti and a package of sticky tack (remember that blue tack stuff we had in grade school? It’s still strangely popular here), and we had to construct a tower to hold an egg. This one was our team’s attempt, it was leaning a bit…
Mt Ruapehu where we skied on Sunday is one of the mountains featured as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings. There are several ski fields on the volcano. The volcano is active and still erupts from time to time….the last major eruption was in the 1990s, but it blew off a bit of steam as recently as 2007.
I stayed for an extra day with 7 other Christchurch colleages to take advantage of the ski mountain. The weather was spectacular, skiing above the clouds all day, and no volcanic eruptions!
The ski lift ends quite short of the peak of the volcano. I really wanted to peek over the edge and see into the volcano…
I saw a few people walking up, so why not me?
I put my skis on my back and “rocketed” up the slope.
Ahh, definitely worth the walk up. A geothermal lake in the center and nice powdery snow to ski on the way down. No volcanic rumbles or grumbles while I was there!