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Wairarapa and the Raiders of the Hidden Caches

Harrison Deal and Abby Martin. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

‘X’ marks the spot

Sue Teodoro

Wairarapa and Masterton, in particular, is unlikely magnet for seekers of unusual treasure.

Geocaching is a little-known, but reportedly slightly addictive, form of a long-distance geographical treasure hunt.

The clues are left by GPS co-ordinates and the treasure [generally a small item in a container] mostly comes from the satisfaction of completing the course.

The activity, described on website geocaching.com, is like a cross between traditional orienteering and Pokémon-go.

The game’s website lists Masterton as having 492 locations.

Enthusiastic cachers Harrison Deal and Abby Martin, both 19, from Upper Hutt, are regular visitors to the Masterton sites.

“You generally find a container with a paper log, which you sign and leave for the next person,” Deal said.

Many enthusiasts travel from Wellington to complete ‘caches’ in Wairarapa, but Deal said some people were mystified.

“We have been approached by many people while out hunting wondering what ‘geocaching’ is,” he said.

“It’s like a treasure hunt to look for a clue. Inside there will be a GPS co-ordinate with a hint to help you find it.

“The co-ordinates are given by a user who hides them, usually followed with a hint, for example ‘in the bushes’. Some can be quite cryptic”.

Deal said the community, who refer to themselves as ‘cachers’ or ‘geocachers’ was not well known, but the game can become very competitive.

“Some people have found more than 50,000,” he said, with people flying from Auckland to Wellington to find a cache.

There are placements for first, second and third to find the caches.

“If you’re first to find you get more respect from the others.

“There’s a publicly visible register of everybody,” he said.

A search can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour.

“It’s certainly rewarding. It’s a niche activity,” he said.

The website has a free downloadable app that has instructions on how to play the family-friendly game.

Deal recommended it as a great school holiday activity and fun motivation to encourage children out of the house.

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