Outdoor team building ideas

Looking for some fun and engaging ways to strengthen your team's understanding, cooperation, and sense of belonging? How about getting outdoors for some team building activities? Whether you have a new team or one that's been together for a while, this list of outdoor team building ideas is sure to provide some inspiration. From random acts of kindness to kayaking and rafting, there's something for everyone.

Outdoor team building ideas

Whether you have a fairly new team or one that’s been together for a while, getting out in the fresh air for some fun activities is a great way to strengthen understanding, co-operation and a sense of belonging.

Individuals will have varying levels of physical capabilities, so it’s best not to choose activities that are all about sporting endurance. The objective is to shake off everyday work surroundings and resetting the ways you interact. Sharing some food and refreshments at the end of a session extends the interactions and allows everyone to revisit their highlights of the day.

To help you create activities that would suit your team, we’ve put together this list of suggestions. They’re intended to provide inspiration, not instructions, so keep your imagination handy.

Outdoor Team Building Ideas

Random acts of kindness

Organise your team into smaller groups and have them compete to see who can do the most good deeds within a time limit of one to four hours. Each group should have a record keeper to take photos and keep a tally. A slideshow report-back session with refreshments at the end let’s everyone re-live the smiles of the day.

Scavenger hunt

Create a series of questions about local landmarks that competing groups have to answer by visiting the location. Requiring group photos to be taken at each location ensures they actually went there. In cities, providing prepaid public transport cards can extend the range and add organisational skills to the mix.


Most towns and cities have a local archery club and some locations have commercial archery venues. The clubs can often provide all the gear, as well as coaching for helpful tips and safety briefings. Creative challenges add to the fun and there’s plenty of opportunity for interaction as small groups share a target each. For a more adrenalin-filled event, some centres have commercial combat archery providers. It’s a bit like paint ball, but with foam-tipped arrows and face shields.

Field day

For this activity, all you need is a local park and a good range of competitive activities. Think back to your primary school sports day for things like a tug of war, sack race, egg and spoon race, and 100m sprint. Now add in some variety with things like a dance competition with 80s music or a game of statues (the one where everyone has to freeze when the music stops). Caterpillar is another, where teams stand in line and the rear person crawls through everyone’s legs to the front and stands, then the next person repeats this and so on, allowing the team to slowly advance towards a finish line. Trust games, like verbally guiding a blindfolded team member around a ‘minefield’ obstacle course, can also go down well.

Community volunteering

If your company supports a local community organisation or there’s one that’s closely aligned to your values, turning up as a group to provide much-needed skills or labour is another way to build team spirit. Volunteering can often include outdoor time, such as gardening or painting to refresh their premises, or helping with a street fundraiser. Other options include activities with an environmental focus, such as a coastline clean-up.

E-bike local cycle trails

With off-road cycle trails located throughout New Zealand, there’s a wonderful opportunity to pedal your way through the countryside together. Adding the choice of electric bikes makes the adventure more enjoyable for everyone. Most cycle trails around the country are well-formed and relatively easy to ride. They’re typically well-served by bike hire companies, who can even shuttle you back to the start in a mini-bus if required. Adding compulsory stop points for photo opportunities introduces plenty of time for interaction. Another option is a food and wine bike tour around several vineyards. Or maybe horse trekking would suit your team more.

Potluck picnic

Invite your team to bring their favourite picnic food and set up a few serving tables so everyone can share. Combining this with a nature walk or a pre-arranged treasure hunt with clues adds another dimension to the day. Another option is to make it a bring-your-household event, so families and flatmates get to meet the people your team members work with and your employees learn more about each other’s lives. If there’s a regular jazz or music-in-the-park event near you, holding your picnic there can also add to the fun.

Kayaking or rafting

From gentle paddles in sheltered waters to adrenalin-filled team building in white water rapids, there are countless options to get out on the water together. Some element of challenge always adds to the sense of achievement; just don’t make it too difficult. On calm waterways you can add team challenges like paddling in a series of group formations, such as single file, flying V or inline side-by-side while paddling backwards.

Charity bike assembly

Several charitable organisations run events throughout New Zealand where team groups assemble a brand new bike to be given to a deserving child. These events can often take place outdoors or in a park pavilion. Some organisers create challenges that each group must complete to earn the parts for their bike, then the collaborative assembly begins. In many cases, the children arrive as a complete surprise for your team, either part way through to help finish the assembly or at the end to receive their bike. This is a particularly moving time that takes the team spirit and bonding to a higher level. All bikes have to pass an assembly warrant of fitness before the children can take them away.

Star gazing

A night out under the stars learning more about constellations, star colours and the infinite distances of space helps to transport your team from day-to-day boundaries to infinite possibilities. Sharing the inspirational beauty of the stars and the wonder of our own existence inevitably brings people closer together. Local astronomy clubs often run such events and may provide telescopes to share for closer viewing. There’s often a chance to explore different cultural beliefs and practices associated with the night sky. You might even have an observatory nearby that offers group experiences.

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