Several of our marathon team members enjoyed a snowy expedition in the South Island’s Mt Arthur tablelands recently. Our hopes of hiking across the alpine tops to summit Mt Arthur were dashed by high winds, deep snow that had us up to our armpits in places, and mist.

Instead we climbed the lower mountains and explored the limestone sink holes, ‘tomos’, that are scattered about the landscape and link up to a maze of underground caverns and rivers. There are over 33 kms of tunnels and river systems one km below the mountainscapes, deep inside the Mt Arthur range, and explorers have camped for up to two weeks in the labyrinth of caves to chart their course.

Inside one of the tomos we found the ancient bones of a giant moa, an intact skeleton probably thousands of years old. In New Zealand we’re so fortunate to have an abundance of beautiful places to restore the spirit, challenge our capacity, inspire us – and humble us when we are confronted by the frailty of life if we err and fail to understand how quickly a warm day can become a cold and frozen night.