Today I took part in a geocaching event based on the reality TV show The Amazing Race. The event was called The Gre…er, The Amaz…er, The Incredible Race!, and it was a lot of fun to do. I’ve been a bit of a fan of TAR, so when my sister ( who caches under the name Sensible Sis) told me about this event, I was keen to give it a go. Unlike the real TAR, there was no $1 million prize at stake, however.
The event started at Observatory Hill, and we were there with plenty of time to spare (even after stopping off to find a cache on the way). The organiser outlined the rules, and then set us our first challenge to get the race under way. It took us a while to find one of the plastic army men hidden around the park, but once we had we were given our first clue and we were off.
We put the coordinates into Google Maps, and found that we were heading to The Rocks. We found the location, read the information, and used it to calculate the coordinates of our next stop. It ended up being in First Fleet Park at Circular Quay, and to receive our next clue we had to guide our blindfolded team-mate to the nominated location on the large map of colonial Sydney. This didn’t take us too long, and we left in third place (the same position we arrived in).
Now, this is where things got a bit interesting. The clue said we had to find the monkey in northern Hyde Park, so we set off along Macquarie Street (taking a few photos of our army man along the way). Once we got to Hyde Park, we spent probably close to an hour scouring the park for any sign of a monkey. Finally we saw one of the assistants who was helping to run the event, and he told us that he’d given us (and several other teams who were there) the wrong clue back at Circular Quay. The monkey wasn’t in the park yet, so he gave us the correct location and we headed off to the Pyrmont Bridge.
Our task here was to count the number of flagpoles along the bridge. Our tally came to 104, but that was wrong. After a bit of a nudge from the organiser, we submitted a revised tally of 105, which was correct. We had seen the “missing” flagpole, but didn’t really think it counted as being on the bridge, so had left it out initially. Armed with the next clue, we headed off to the Queen Victoria Building.
Once there we had to find the model of the ship Endeavour which travels around the edge of one of the large clocks which are suspended from the ceiling of the QVB. The task was to time how long the ship took to make one revolution, and use that to calculate the coordinates of the next location. Turned out we had to head back to Hyde Park (the southern end this time).
The task at this stop was to toss three Eclipse mint tins into a small bucket. The use of these tins is a bit of a geocaching in-joke, as a lot of geocaches hidden in urban areas consist of Eclipse tins attached magnetically to a railing or similar metal structure. Sensible Sis got the first two in, and I managed to land the third not long after the first team finished. Now it was time to find the monkey in the northern section of Hyde Park.
We didn’t spend as long searching for him as we did earlier in the day, but it took a while to find him. We’d assumed we were looking for a person dressed in a monkey suit, and that turned out to be correct. Once we found him, he told us that we were in fifth place, with the other teams about five minutes ahead of us. Now it was off to the final stop!
The clue was to go to the Royal Botanic Gardens and look for Alan. This didn’t mean anything to us, so I turned to Google for assistance. It turns out that there is a memorial to Allan Cunningham in the gardens (which contains his remains), so that’s where we headed. When we arrived, we found the two event assistants there, and no other teams. Turns out we were the first team to arrive! (I was a little disappointed there wasn’t a finish map to jump onto as there is the TV show) About a minute or so later the next team arrived, and over the next half and hour all the teams came in.
We were quite surprised to be the first to finish considering that there were a few teams ahead of us heading to the final location. Luckily my librarian searching skills got us there in the end.
Although we arrived first, there were some bonus photo challenges which we all completed along the way. One was to photograph a limousine or fluoro pink vehicle – two teams managed to get a photo of a limo. Another was to take a photo of any teams whose members were further than 20 metres apart in contravention of the rules – no-one had any photos in this challenge. The challenge that proved most popular was taking creative photos of the plastic army man which we’d had to find in order to receive our first clue. Ours weren’t the most creative photos, so there was a chance for someone to grab some extra points and win the race.
However, once all the bonus points were tallied, we remained on top and were declared the winners. Our prize was an ammo can each – these are great for hiding geocaches in bushland areas as they are very sturdy. Luckily we were able to fit them in our backpacks, as the bus driver might have been reluctant to let us on for the trip home if we were carrying them.
Overall it was a great event and really fun day out. The event organiser was only 17 years old, and he did a really great job planning and preparing the day. We’d definitely be interested in doing another one of this style of event.