Conference Venue Spotlight – Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens

Situated in the heart of Hunter Valley Wine Country, Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens is ideally located for you to explore our region.

Image of the outdoor function area at the Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens

Each accommodation room is beautifully appointed and opens out to a private balcony or courtyard. Guests can avail themselves of our tennis courts, resort-style swimming pool, sauna, spa, the Lodge library and many other facilities including the Hunter Valley Gardens shopping village and the spectacular display gardens.

Our Conference and Function Centre provides comprehensive, first-class facilities and a venue which suits any occasion- gala dinners, special events, sales presentations, training seminars and product launches. Whether it’s for two or 300 people, we will tailor your conference to your needs.

In keeping with our commitment to excellence, we offer business facilities and extensive opportunities for team building activities. All functions are catered by our award-winning Chef, Jean Marc Pollet, and a dedicated conference management team is always on hand to ensure all your arrangements run smoothly leaving you (and your delegates) to enjoy the Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens conference experience.

Conference Capacity: 300

Number of Accommodation Rooms: 72

Unique Features:

  • Meeting rooms with natural light
  • Indoor & outdoor space for onsite team building activities
  • Complimentary WIFI & parking
  • Located within walking distance to 5 cellar doors & Hunter Valley Gardens


“Just a quick note to say thank you so much for last week. Our experience at the Mercure was just wonderful. Please pass on our thanks to all the staff that helped make the couple of days such a success. Everyone was so efficient and friendly. We look forward to coming up again”

  • LionCo


A: Crn Broke & McDonalds Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320

T: (02) 4998 2000

F: (02) 4998 7710

E: [email protected]


Take 5 With Pinnacle – Ryan

If you’ve ever wondered what makes a Pinnacle Team Events facilitator tick then you have come to the right place! Each month we will be taking 5 minutes to chat with each of our facilitators about their lives both inside and outside of work.

Image of Pinnacle Team Events facilitator Ryan Moon

What I love about being a Pinnacle Facilitator:
Being outside with the wind in my hair.

My favourite Pinnacle team event to facilitate:
Risk v Reward

Most embarrassing moment as a Pinnacle facilitator:
Haven’t had one yet, touch wood

My favourite hobbies are:
Playing Football, Golf, Playing Records, Beach

Band I’m listening to at the moment/podcast recommendation:
Casefile (Podcast, True Crime Genre) / Anything from Motown Era

What was the last book you read?:
Elon Musk’s Biography

Favourite holiday?:
Camping is great but as a destination I’d say Croatia.

Have you ever had a nickname?:
Yep, Moony. It’s weird if I get called Ryan.

I am frightened by _____ :
Sleeping through alarm

Favourite movie of all time:
V for Vendetta / Pulp Fiction

First concert I went to:
Ahhh, I’d have to say FOTSUN (Festival of the Sun) in Port Macquarie.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?:

What makes you angry:
Nothing really – but small pet hate, traffic lights.

What makes you laugh the most:
Good Dad jokes / puns / Carl Barron.

What song would you sing at karaoke night?:
Summer Nights off Grease.

Conference Venue Spotlight – Fairmont Resort Leura

The multi award-winning Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains creates memorable and unique event experiences in the heart of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. From a conference centre to corporate retreats, our conference resort is the largest meetings and events venue in Katoomba or the Blue Mountains.

Fairmont Resort Leura

Their 15 flexible, pillar-less conference spaces cater for up to 850 delegates with several naturally lit spaces and outdoor options to suit any occasion. The rooms can be configured to meet your individual needs, from a multitude of layouts to our tailored AV services which will provide you with a high level of onsite support.

The unique location of Fairmont Resort allows you to create a memorable experience for your delegates… imagine conferencing during the day in a naturally lit room with views of the bushland below. Then moving onto the lawn for casual pre-dinner drinks as the setting sun hits the dramatic escarpment. Then finishing the day with a spectacular themed gala dinner… and that is just day one!

Conference Capacity: 850 cocktail

Number of Accommodation Rooms: 222

Click here to view the Fairmont’s current specials


“I would like to thank you and your team for their efforts both in the lead up to our event and across the three days of our event. The staff were always friendly, helpful and efficient.

Nothing ever seemed too much for them. Please pass on my thanks to all those involved, from yourself, to reception, concierge, to bar and catering staff and chefs, AV team and those who serviced our rooms.

I’m sure I’ve missed some, but do appreciate all their efforts in helping make our event a successful one.”


Amy-Rose Finch
(02) 4785 0097
[email protected]

Top team building activities for smaller groups

Finding the right team building activities for smaller groups can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you’re working to a set budget.  If you’re part of a team of only 7-12 people and looking for a team activity, we’ve put together a list of our top team building activities for smaller groups!

In a Pinnacle blog post from July earlier this year, we discussed the notion of the ‘ideal team size’. When dividing a large group into smaller teams we usually try and keep these team sizes around the 7-person mark, however anywhere between 6 – 10 is great! By keeping team sizes within this range, we find this provides the best environment for all members of the team to contribute and have their creativity, ideas, energy & experience flourish. But what if your total group size is only 7 – 12 people? What team building activities for smaller groups work best?


Coded padlock with escape heading in the middle

The perfect activity for smaller groups that won’t break the bank. We have created our very own mobile Escape the room challenge that can be brought to your conference venue or office. For a small group of up to 12 people we would keep everyone on the same team & “lock” them in a room with a set time frame in which to escape before the world as we know it ceases to exist. Teams must follow the clues, solve the puzzles and unlock the secrets to ESCAPE!

For teams to be successful they must communicate, think outside the box, work together, admit to their mistakes and believe they can succeed. All this under extreme time pressure as each team has only 90 minutes to uncover the 8-digit code that will ultimately allow them to escape the room.

This event can be tailored to suit any size group by adding more rooms for more teams. We recommend each team is between 7 – 12 people with each team requiring 1 room. Rooms can be conference rooms, hotel rooms, offices, boardrooms etc. Pinnacle requires 30 minutes in each room prior to the event to set up.

Key Outcomes for Escape:

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Collaboration
  • Work as one team
  • Problem Solving
  • Lateral Thinking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Time Management
  • Team Dynamics


As the majority of challenges in our Survivor are based more on lateral thinking, problem solving challenges than team sports, this activity is well suited to smaller groups! This activity sees teams competing head to head at a series of “Survivor style” lateral thinking tasks that require the whole team to cooperate, communicate and think outside the square as they aim to outscore their opponents.

Key Outcomes for Survivor:

  • Fun
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Collaboration
  • Teamwork
  • Problem Solving
  • Lateral Thinking
  • Friendly Competition

The Scramble

A modified version of our Amazing Race activity suited to smaller groups that might be tight on time or budget. The Scramble sees teams race around the local area taking team photos, collecting scavenger items, solving IQ Tests and passing through a roadblock challenge activity site.

Teams will be issued a map of the local area showing their start, finish and roadblock location and a list of photos to take and scavenger items to collect. Teams aim to outscore their opponents with each scavenger item, team photo and correct IQ answer adding to their score. When teams arrive at the final location they submit their items, photos and answers to the Pinnacle team for marking.

Key Outcomes for The Scramble:

  • Fun
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Problem Solving
  • Friendly Competition


Archery target with arrow in bullseye

This ancient form of medieval weaponry is a great event to get your team on target! In this engaging activity a structured lesson involving technique and safety are outlined and enforced. The delegates are then divided into teams that compete aiming to outscore their opponents. All delegates will have plenty of firing time and be kept entertained as teams are involved in various competitions and games that all involve shooting arrows at the target. The event can finish with a sharpest individual shooter if you like.

As this event involves delegates firing real arrows the space available to host this activity must allow for a large firing range. We are permitted to hold the event on private land such as conference venues however most councils do not allow this event on public land.

Key Outcomes for Archery:

  • Fun
  • Teamwork
  • Friendly Competition
  • Getting to know each other

Laser Clay Pigeon Shooting

Person aiming laser clay gun

Experience the thrill and excitement of shooting clay pigeons as they fly through the air.

This dynamic and interactive activity uses authentic 12-gauge shotguns that have been converted to fire laser beams. Clays with Omni-directional tape are fired from the launcher – when the shooter scores a hit the beam is reflected back to the gun and registers a hit on the electronic scoreboard.

This activity is very popular and loads of fun for males and females of all ages, fitness levels and ability.

Key Outcomes for Laser Clay:

  • Fun
  • Teamwork
  • Friendly Competition
  • Getting to know each other

Quick and easy icebreaker activities for groups

Even strong teams can benefit from team building exercises; they help to promote better teamwork and communication as well as boosting morale & productivity. Even with a full agenda all it takes is a 15-20 minute icebreaker activity to get your team motivated and ready for the day ahead. Are you planning a group event or meeting and want to get your participants off to a good start? Avoid the awkward silence and add an element of fun with one or more of these icebreaker activities for groups!

Team sitting around table solving a jigsaw puzzle

Human Bingo: 20 – 30 minutes

Just like the game you played with Grandma, but instead of numbers you need to find someone in the room who fits the description on your Bingo card.

Human Bingo is the perfect event to facilitate a large group of people breaking the ice and meeting one another. The event is set loosely on the game BINGO whereby each participant receives a piece of paper and a pen. Upon the paper is a table with 45 boxes – each box contains a descriptive statement that may match one, two or many people in the room. The goal of the participants is to roam the room and introduce themselves around to meet as many people as possible; each meeting the participants will assist the other with putting their name into one of the boxes. Each box may only be used once by each person. Each person can only appear once on a participants BINGO sheet ensuring delegates meet at least 45 people in the 30-minute time frame.

Once you complete all 45 boxes you yell BINGO at the top of your lungs and the game finishes with that winner on stage and the MC introducing some of the 45 people they met and the statements for each of them.

This is a fun and engaging way to get to know each other with fun and excitement rather than many of the ‘get to know you’ alternatives that can be awkward and lame. The Human Bingo will set the precedent at the beginning of the conference that meeting each other and communicating with suppliers, members and institute staff is encouraged throughout the conference.

Balloon Modelling: 15 minutes

This one’s for the Clown enthusiasts! Teams must make the best balloon model that represents their team and come up with a sales pitch to present to the judges….in front of the entire group of course.

Foil Towers

Teams race against the clock to build the tallest tower using only foil. This is a much tougher task than it sounds!

Eddy the Egg: 20 – 30 minutes

An egg falling out of an egg carton

Focusing on teamwork, communication and leadership, teams must construct a basket that will catch an egg dropped from a height of 2m.

The challenge is to construct a mechanism that can catch and support a raw egg after it is dropped from a height of approximately 2 metres. In small groups, delegates use straws, sticky tape and ingenuity to create a capsule to keep Eddy safe.

A very simple, exciting and fun break activity that is guaranteed to liven the troops for the next session.

Musical Tubes: 20 Minutes

Visualise yourself amidst a sea of colour and rhythm! Delegates enter the conference room to be met by the sounds of drumming from the Human Rhythms team. As the surprised delegates take their seats they discover a musical tube in front of them and start to play.

Our vibrant, colourful musical tubes are the perfect instrument when only a short setup time is available. Imagine your delegates returning to find the conference room has been transformed into a sea of instrumental colour. This option is also great in a dinner setting or when time, budget or space is an issue.

F1 Rocket Racer: 40 – 60 minutes

Do you have a competitive team who thrives on a challenge? Look no further, this event is for you!

This is a construction based event whereby each team is allocated a set of resources to build a Formula 1 race car. The car is designed around its power source – a rocket!

The rocket is a specially designed piece of equipment that will create a blast of power generated by a high pressure cycling foot pump. The result is a car that shoots out of the starting gates and hopefully beats your opponents by travelling the greatest distance along the conference room floor.

This is a great session where teams of approximately five people will design and build their very own car. All cars race with the winners of each round entering the finals and then finishing with the grand finale.

Take 5 With Pinnacle – Tim

If you’ve ever wondered what makes a Pinnacle Team Events facilitator tick then you have come to the right place! Each month we will be taking 5 minutes to chat with each of our facilitators about their lives both inside and outside of work.

What do you love about hosting the Corporate Drumming events?
I love the power the drums have to quickly unify any group on a common pulse.

I love that the rhythm anchors our attention in the present moment, having the natural by-product of joy & laughter.

Favourite moment as a corporate drumming facilitator:
There have been many favourite moments, but a standout would have to be leading a group of 1400 delegates in Sydney Town Hall from a rocking unified rhythm into complete silence! So Incredible! 🙂

Most embarrassing moment as a facilitator:
In the early days I learnt quickly that pointing fingers is considered highly disrespectful in some cultures. Segmenting a team into sub-groups using pointed fingers was an absolute disaster on one occasion! 

My favourite hobbies are:
Soft sand running meditation, drumming of course & philosophical/world-religion studies.

Band I’m listening to at the moment/podcast recommendation:
Podcast Recommendation – Buddha at the Gas Pump

What was the last book you read?:
I am reading ‘The Contemplative Life’ by Joel S Goldsmith

Favourite holiday?:
Bali meditation, surfing & yoga adventures!

Have you ever had a nickname?:
Yes – Timbo, Timmy, Stem.

I am frightened by _____ :
Still a bit frightened by death!

Favourite movie of all time:
Not sure really…. The Matrix was awesome & I remember being blown away by the first Star Wars Trilogy

First concert I went to:
John Farnham when I was 10 years old, he came to our small town sports ground.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?:
Copacabana, NSW Australia.

What makes you angry:
I often tell my kids that the only things that make me cranky are disrespect, fighting & whinging!

Otherwise I think I am pretty good, lol 😁

What makes you laugh the most:
Usually when I realise the ridiculous nature of some long-held but false belief system.

What song would you sing at karaoke night?:
Let it Be – John Lennon


Take 5 with Pinnacle – Peter

If you’ve ever wondered what makes a Pinnacle Team Events facilitator tick then you have come to the right place! Each month we will be taking 5 minutes to chat with each of our facilitators about their lives both inside and outside of work.

What do you love about hosting Murder Mystery events?
The laughter. Hearing a group or team laughing together over the course of a night is “the best medicine”. I love helping groups “let their hair down” after a long day’s, week’s or even year’s hard work. 

Favourite moment as a corporate Murder Mystery facilitator:
At one of the first corporate functions I hosted, a female executive told me to my face that she hated these sort of nights. At the end of the night, she led the conga line and told me what a great night she’d had. It’s always nice to win people over. 

Do you have a favourite Murder Mystery theme?
I’m pretty fond of our 1930s Chicago Ganster theme. 

Most embarrassing moment as a facilitator:
I always make a “dramatic exit” at the end of a night. One night I thought I was running out of the room but ran into a glass door and gashed my head. One of the waitresses was studying to be a nurse and patched me up. 

My favourite hobbies are:
Running and song writing. 

Band I’m listening to at the moment/podcast recommendation:
Queen/Fizzics Ed podcast 

What was the last book you read?:
Running Like a Girl

Favourite holiday?:
My honeymoon in Bali

Have you ever had a nickname?:
Shermie (Inspector Sherman Jones)

I am frightened by:
Angry people.

Favourite movie of all time:
Back to the Future

First concert I went to:
Status Quo

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?:
Ireland. My ancestor’s are from there

What makes you angry:

What makes you laugh the most:
Presently, John Oliver

What song would you sing at karaoke night?:
American Pie

Conference Venue Spotlight – Australian Turf Club

Events by ATC at the heart of Sydney Racing, Royal Randwick, and the recently refurbished Rosehill Gardens offer Sydney’s most versatile venues for Indoor and Outdoor team building activities.

Winners at the last four consecutive Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence NSW, our world-class team and multi-purpose venues are at the forefront of the Sydney events and functions industry.

With award winning catering, complimentary high density Wi-Fi throughout and free onsite parking, our exclusive venues are a winning combination for your next event.

Conference Capacity – Theatre style up to 2000pax


The Royal Randwick facility is fantastic. We have held events at all the major convention centres in the country and I can honestly say the facilities and the staff are exceptional. The level of professionalism and customer service at Randwick is light years ahead of other venues. We look forward to returning there for our next event.

Mornington Latent Images

 The whole team at the Australian Turf Club provided excellent service from start to finish. The venue is really well suited to host both grand and intimate events and the production crew, catering and support staff really looked after us for our flagship summit. I’d like to thank everyone at ATC for an outstanding job.
Huawei Australia
Huawei ICT Roadshow


Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1300 729 668

Top 10 team building ideas for your work Christmas party

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and it is fast approaching! Have you been given the mammoth task of organising your end of year work celebrations? Are you stuck for ideas and yet to lock anything in? Now is the time to start planning and securing your preferred Christmas party date as we are already starting to book out on some dates in December! To get you into the Christmas Spirit and to help with your planning, we have put together a list of our top 10 team building ideas for your work Christmas party.

ginger bread man with candy cane and christmas presents

Amazing Race

Bring on that end of year feeling with a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt! Just like an end of year muck up day without the chance of being arrested, our Amazing Race is the perfect way to see out the work year.

Amazing Race teams running

Tikes on Bikes

The gift of giving! Christmas is a time for giving and also a time to remember others who may not be as fortunate as ourselves. So why not make a difference and get your team together to build & donate some bikes to underprivileged kids.

Mini/Beach Olympics

What says ‘Australian Christmas’ more than spending the day at the beach with your buddies!

Grape to Glass

Drink and be Merry! Delicious wine is a crucial part of the holidays and in this activity each of your delegates will receive their very own bottle of wine to take home!

a glass of white wine next to some wine grapes and a glass of red wine next to a bunch of red grapes

Laser Clay Shooting

After something little more lowkey & social? Our Laser Clay shooting can even be enjoyed with a drink in hand if desired!

Person aiming laser clay gun


Whether you’re thinking of having a themed party for your Christmas event or simply wanting some entertainment over dinner, our Trivia Night can be tailored to suit your event!

Casino Night

Our Casino Night is perfectly suited to a classier or canapes style Christmas event.

Minute to Win It

Did someone say silly season? This series of ridiculous 60-second challenges will have your delegates in hysterics!

Water Taxi Treasure Hunt

Wanting to really spoil your team for the end of year function? Spend the day checking out all the sites on Sydney Harbour whilst solving clues & competing in challenges in our Water Taxi Treasure Hunt.

Sydney Harbour city visa with bridge and boats

Corporate Drumming

Finish the end of the work year with a bang and lift the spirits of everyone in your office with the beat of a drum.

Group of people playing with different coloured musical tubes

What can chickens tell us about the success of teams in the workplace?


In the 1990’s professor William M Muir conducted an experiment to determine how he could increase the egg-laying productivity of hens. To do this, he began with one flock of average hens. Muir then selectively bred the best egg-producing hens for six generations to create a flock of ‘superchickens’. In addition, Muir also kept another group of average chickens whom simply bred normally. At the end of the six generations, Muir found that the group of average chickens were healthy and egg production had increased. Sadly on the other hand, the productivity of the superchickens had decreased and all but three chickens had pecked each other to death.

Does this sound familiar or have you worked in an environment like this?

infographic with questions asking whether you are a superchicken


If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen we recently shared a link to a TED Radio Hour, The Meaning of Work. In this episode, serial entrepreneur and “management thinker” Margaret Heffernan discusses how this superchicken method of building teams, where the value is placed on star employees who outperform others, has been extensively used by companies over the last 50 years. And by only selecting the superstars and giving them all the resources and power, the result has been much the same as William Muir’s experiment: aggression, dysfunction and waste. She argues that “if the only way the most productive can be successful is by suppressing the productivity of the rest, then we badly need to find a better way to work and a richer way to live.” Margaret Heffernan.


According to Heffernan, collaboration is key! Working together & alongside other brilliant people towards a mutual goal is the way forward in the modern workforce. Heffernan sites a MIT study that found the groups that worked best together exhibited the following three things:

  1. Social sensitivity (empathy) towards each other
  2. Everyone had and gave equal time and contribution
  3. There were more women in the successful groups than in the groups that failed

Heffernan goes on to explain that the best way to manage and motivate people is through social capital: the reliance and interdependency that builds trust. Trust takes time, but trust also compounds over time. Teams that work together for longer get better because it takes time to develop the trust you need for real candour and openness. She sites a company that implemented something as simple as synchronising coffee breaks so that people would have more time to talk to each other. The results were that profits went up 15 million dollars and employee satisfaction went up 10 percent.

Social capital turns good ideas into great ones because teams push and challenge each other through honest discussion and collaboration.

Lego man inside chicken suit