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NZ MEGA 2012 – January Newsletter

NZ MEGA 2012 by the New Zealand Recreational GPS Society Inc.
S45 52 E170 30 – Dunedin, New Zealand – October 19-22, 2012
http://mega.gps.org.nz/

Newsletter 1 – January 2012

In just under 9 months, Dunedin will host New Zealand’s first-ever MEGA geocaching event (GC35TTR).

You’re reading the first of what will be a monthly newsletter to keep you updated on this three-day event being held in the South Island city of Dunedin over New Zealand’s Labour Weekend public holiday. Over the next few newsletters, we’ll keep you posted on all the latest MEGA news, introduce you to the event organisers, the best sights and geocaches Dunedin has to offer, your accommodation options, as well as suggest ways to keep the muggle family members occupied.

Behind the scenes, the MEGA organisers are frantically doing the bee dance to make this event perfect.

The venue – Waiora Scout Camp, set amongst picturesque native bush just 15 minutes drive from Dunedin city – is booked and the date set, which just leaves event activities, fundraising, sponsorship, promotion, marketing etc. If you can help in any of these areas, we’d love to hear from you.

NZ MEGA 2012 goes mega!
For the uninitiated: A MEGA is no ordinary geocaching event. This is an extra-special celebration attended by 500-plus cachers – earning each of them a special MEGA icon. From geocaching.com:

“MEGA-Events offer geocachers a day of planned activities. There are often several days of additional activities surrounding a MEGA-Event. These large events attract geocachers from all over the world and are often held annually.”

NZ MEGA 2012 is already shaping up to be a special event. As a result of all the geocachers that have registered their interest since October 2011, we are in a privileged position to have our first-time event recognised as a MEGA before it occurs.

The Geocaching.com listing for our MEGA went live on the 17th of January. Hundreds of geocachers from New Zealand, Australia and across the globe have already posted their ‘Will Attend’ logs – including Groundspeak founder Jeremy Irish. Yes, that’s right; the man who helped create our favourite game will be flying over from Seattle to help make the country’s first-ever geocaching extravaganza MEGA-fun.

Please continue to register your interest
Many of you have already registered your interest – great! As the event is now live on geocaching.com, you can also now log your will attend logs.

In the next couple of months, we will be setting registration prices and implementing the real registration process that includes payment. Until the formal registration process is in place, please continue to register your interest, as this ensures we put you on the announcement email list for NZ MEGA 2012, and it gives us a good indication of numbers and where you are all coming from to help us with our planning.

About Dunedin
In the meantime, let’s introduce you to Dunedin, the city that will play host to New Zealand geocaching history.

The South Island’s second largest city by population (currently 126,000) is best known as the home of Otago University, but also boasts spectacular sightseeing and historic wonders – as well as some of the country’s best fashion designers and shopping.

Dunedin’s history dates back to 1100 AD with the arrival of Maori tribes. Some 600 years later, Captain James Cook – the British explorer credited with discovering New Zealand – stepped ashore at Otago Harbour. His journal entry from that day in 1770 commented on the port’s abundance of sealife, sparking booms in both the sealing and whaling industries.

However, it was the presence of Scottish settlers and the gold rush of the 1800s that really put Dunedin on the map, earning its nickname of ‘the Edinburgh of the south’ for the city’s ensuing Edwardian and Victorian architecture.

Some of these historic landmarks can still be found on the vast campus of Otago University, the tertiary institution founded in 1869 and now responsible for Dunedin’s reputation as a centre of higher learning – not to mention many of New Zealand’s doctors, dentists and PE teachers.

Tourists flock here for the wealth of sporting opportunities, heritage landmarks and local wildlife. Highlights include: Larnach Castle – New Zealand’s only ‘real’ castle; the historic Dunedin Railway Station and spectacular Taieri Gorge Railway; Speights Brewery; and the windswept Otago Peninsula – home to the only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere and the perfect place to spot New Zealand fur seals, yellow-eyed penguins and their little blue cousins.

Further afield, but still less than half a day’s drive, are the rich brown landscapes of the Central Otago farming and wine district, and the popular tourist resorts of Queenstown and Wanaka. These former gold-rush towns are now considered world famous for their year-round adventure sports and outdoor recreation options.

Other local wonders include the small township of Oamaru, where you can ride a penny farthing down the main street or marvel at the latest alt-invention in the country’s steampunk capital; and Moeraki Boulders, a series of large stones formed in ancient sea floor sediments around 60 million years ago.

Then, of course, there’s all the geocaching. Dunedin offers a vibrant geo-community, with hundreds of hides – covering all cache types, terrain and difficulty levels. In fact, there are some 730 geocaches within a 50km radius of the MEGA venue, and the city even has its own version of the international Earthcache programme.

But more on that next month …

In the meantime, we’ll keep organising the best possible New Zealand MEGA, while you get busy making travel plans – and convincing everyone you know to join us this coming Labour Weekend.

If you have a question about attending, please don’t hesitate to contact us through the Society’s NZ MEGA 2012 forum.

Happy trails,

The NZ MEGA 2012 Organising Committee and
The NZ Recreational GPS Society Inc.

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