Best Geocaching Birthday Present Ever


Categories: Geocoin


The email alert on my Blackberry chimed at 2.30pm on a bright and sunny Sunday. I noted the subject line, ‘On your marks, get set …’, as I opened it up.


Nothing else to read, though I noticed a jpg attached to kjwx’s message and opened it up to reveal an image of a listing.

Days earlier, a parcel from my darling sister had arrived but I had not been allowed to look at its contents. Obviously, I would have to work for that pleasure.

Quick-smart, the Cumbyrocks crew was ready to head off toward Waypoint No 1. It wasn’t long till we found ourselves on the lawn of the Otago Museum with the whole family searching various nooks and crannies of the trees there. Time dragged on and, with no luck finding the hide, we elected to contact kjwx for a hint. One quick phone call and a march of 40 metres later resulted in us standing before the museum sign, staring at a small QR code on its side.

Not the best start to this birthday mission.

With help from the Blackberry, that QR code transported us to a TB listing page.

So it was off to Waypoint No 2. The family took a number of guesses along the way as to where this would be, with all assuming it was in the vicinity of the school that the oldest Cumbyrocks Jnr attends. But the school came and went. Hmmm, wrong again.

Down a side street near one of our favourite places, Dunedin’s Woodhaugh Gardens, the GPS zero’d out in front of an average-looking student flat. A quick check of the clue … numbers … magnetic … ah-ha!

A clever little hide with the instructions for Waypoint No 3 tucked in behind.

Our third destination was in the direction of home so we headed off that way. The warm and sunny afternoon had passed and all the walking had worn out the kids. Being close to dinner, it was time to interrupt our mission for their food and bed routine. I’d get to finish my mission solo later in the evening.

At home, I realised how silly I’d been not to check the third set of co-ordinates on the map as they were right outside the front door of my college! Finding this cache was an entirely different story, though.

I had been instructed to do this one while the light was good and, unfortunately, the light was fading fast. Then the worst happened – the battery in the Blackberry died. I tried to search in the general vicinity but without being sure I was in the right place I never felt able to search one area thoroughly. A quick trip inside to get my Oregon saw me return to near darkness and the need to get the torch from the car.

Another 30 minutes of searching and with the Rugby World Cup semifinal involving the national team about to kick off, I again elected to phone for help. kjwx obliged and soon the waypoint was in my hands. A very sneaky fake leaf, close enough in colour to fool the muggles but different enough that it should be easily found in the daylight.

Onto Waypoint No 4 – the final – I ran. I knew the general area but wasn’t sure of the exact spot. Ground zero was inside our 1940s Art Deco building, all curves and smooth surfaces, so there were few places for this cache to hide. After a quick search, I uncovered a sneakily stashed magnetic keyholder containing the keys to the ‘cache’ box.

I raced home to get my birthday prize. My wife, somewhat surprised I actually found the final waypoint, handed over the box. Excitedly fumbling the keys, it took me a few moments to get it open but when I did I discovered …

It’s Not About The Numbers geocoins!!!

That’s right, I had a whole ‘cache’ box of INATN geocoins. kjwx and I had talked about doing this but, I had assumed, not quite gotten around to it. As the post title says, this was the best geocaching birthday present ever!

A HUGE thanks to kjwx for all the fun and especially the coins – doing this odd hobby/game/sport with you is one of my favourite experiences!

And I’m not the only one who can enjoy owning an It’s Not About The Numbers geocoin – you can too! That’s right, we have a whole bunch of INATN geocoins for sale, so make sure you check them out and get yours today.


Secrets and I don’t mix – it’s one of the reasons I became a journalist – so keeping my mouth shut from when I ordered It’s Not About The Numbers first geocoin till Cumbyrocks opened his present took ALL my willpower.

Initially I managed to contain myself by hypothetically discussing getting a coin made with him but that could only last for so long. Once the coins had actually arrived, I felt like I was going to burst.

And while 90 per cent of New Zealand collectively chewed on its fingernails last Sunday before the All Blacks v Australia RWC semi, I was nervously eyeing my phone for breaking news of Peter’s search.

When he mentioned leaving the last half of the four hides I’d set up till the following day, I wasn’t sure my nerves could take an overnight delay. Twice I even offered to let him skip waypoints, not as much for his benefit as mine.

But the PXT that arrived from his wife (and one of my co-conspirators) showing the moment he opened the final container made the weeks of zipping my lips worth the effort.

Of course, the coins were already well known in my hometown of Wellington as I’d donated a couple to various geo-events but everyone who vaguely knew my brother was sworn to secrecy. Which nicely segues into me thanking Bruce Milne (GC handle: Guwapo) for doing all my legwork in Dunedin, Gerard Hyland (GC handle: GSVNoFixedAbode) for helping me plan my faux waypoints,  Cumbyrocks’ geo-widow for being an amazingly co-operative sister-in-law, and Emma Ziesel of American manufacturer Oakcoins for holding my hand throughout the ordering process.




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