For those that aren't familiar with geocaching, it's quite addictive, cheap, easy and a great family activity. I read a very accurate (albeit unofficial) description on a blog once: "Geocaching is when people use multimillion dollar satellites and expensive personal equipment to find tupperware in the woods." Truth.
Geocaching is a great way to experience a new area as well as enjoy the outdoors with your family on a mutual quest. If geocaching is new to you, I highly recommend looking into it here: http://www.geocaching.com/guide/ I paid $9 for the app on my iPhone and haven't spent a cent since on the hobby! Adventure awaits!!
(Key: Cached means cache was found and logged. DNF means "did not find")
My adventure in Melbourne:
#1 Found: Southern Cross the age of the wave (GC30J6X) - This cache was just outside the Southern Cross train station - a central area of Melbourne. This was a difficult cache to find/retrieve because it was in the middle of one of those metal median pieces in center of the road. It was extremely difficult to try to find the cache without being hit by a car, but also while not drawing too much attention. Sadly it took me nearly 15 minutes to find it, but not after some Indian businessman offered help "Are you ok, lady?" So much for being inconspicuous...
|Southern cross station|
#2 Found: Carlton Cache Series #2 Mother Ursula's Mission (GC4CKA4) - This cache was in a lovely residential area of Fitzroy. Very quite neighborhood, but unfortunately the large building across the street from the cache was undergoing heavy construction, so lots of people were hanging around available to stare at me. Luckily I was still able to retrieve/log/return the cache without difficulties.
|Fitzroy area, but not near the cache|
#3 Found: John Woods (GC2V78E) - Another easy one to find but very difficult to extract without drawing attention. Throughout the day it became more and more apparent that metropolitan caching is a whole 'nother ballgame (I'm more used to caching out in the bush/fields). But as luck would have it, I swiped the cache quickly, took a stroll to sign the log and then quickly returned it as stealthily as I could. Very good location right at the Royal Exhibition Building to bring people near the Melbourne Museum.
|John Wood cache at the Royal Exhibition Building|
|John Woods GC2V78E|
#4 DNF: The Queen of Harlotry (GC342A7) - This cache was centered around an area of brick cottages in a row of 6 built in the 1850s. The area was referred to as a "Slumdown" and nearby was the domain of Madam Brusels, "the Queen of Harlotry" who ran 8 brothels in the area. I had no luck finding the cache due to high muggle activity, but previous logs were all DNF so I think it might have been muggled. Still, a fun place to visit, both because of the historical significance but also because it's a hotspot for the business folk during the lunch hour.
|Lt Lonsdale circa oldtimes|
#5 Evans Lane (GC3038R) - This was another great cache due to historical significance. Lots of these little laneways have been around since the 1850s-1860s, and some of the original brick is still visible. I love geocaching for many reasons - both for the excitement of "the find!" but also in that you are brought to secret spots in the city that you would not otherwise visit without seeking out the cache. This particular laneway was covered in really artistic graffiti (not gang graffiti but actual art). After nervously sticking my hand into a dark hole in the brick wall - success! Cached and onto the next one.
By this point in the day (and due to my location), the streets just kept getting busier and busier. I'm used to caching in the country or public parks. These caches have hazards listed like "dangerous animals" "ticks" "tree climbing" "snowshoes" "significant hike" "watch for livestock." But these Melbourne CBD caches had hazards like "stealth required" "public transport available." Quite nutty for my experiences.
#6 DNF Melbourne's Lanes #7 Artemis Lane (GC2XK7T) - Again, high muggle presence. There was literally no looking for this cache during this time of day. I have a hard time imaging that this area is ever deserted.
#7 DNF Welcome to Melbourne (GC2GVR5) - High muggle area in Chinatown. And of course I found the spot but couldn't "properly search" due to an Asian man taking his smoke break in the alley. I mean, c'mon.
| Asian man, I need you to finish your smoke |
and leave so I can grab the cache!!
#8 Found: Drewery Alley (GC30AK1) "Drewery Alley, along with Drewery Lane and Drewery Place, were named after chemist Thomas Drewery, who was elected a City Councillor for Gipps Ward in 1851" More lovely historic laneways. There was some really cute graffiti in this alley (monkeys below) but it was still kind of a creepy alley. Glad to finally find the cache and leave.
|Cute monkey graffiti in the alley|
|Alley had a super creepy aura|
#9 DNF: Men of Harlech (GC10GBZ) Last cache of the day was nearby an old church. I didn't have to worry about muggles because the entire alley was blocked off for constructions. Super disappointed as a last cache, but I was happy to have the 6 finds that I did.
All in all, a good day of caching (and tons of walking) plus a great tour of some of Melbourne's more historic districts. I look forward to getting home and logging more Kansas caches!