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Geo-Tour Offers Best Of Both Worlds

Auckland geocacher Mandy Page (GC handle: PageNZ) is putting herself on the world map, having organised what may be the first-ever geocaching tour abroad.

The travel consultant understands from Groundspeak that her 10-day Geocaching In Singapore and Cambodia Tour planned for July could be “the first of its type” internationally.

According to the Tours Direct company director, she created the escorted trip because of her “enthusiasm for geocaching overseas”. “Plus, I thought the fit of my ‘real’ job taking people on holiday outside of New Zealand and geocaching was a good one. Alternatively, I wanted people to join me in my quest for world domination. :)”

Mandy Page at Croatia’s Plitivica Lakes.

Page herself was introduced to geocaching by a muggle friend back in June 2008 and has since logged nearly 3000 finds in 23 countries over four continents. “I started with a Garmin Nuvi 200W but my kind husband brought me a Garmin Oregon 550. So I use the former for car navigation and the latter for finding the caches. Sadly, I hadn’t found geocaching before my trips to Antarctica and the Americas.”

Despite her travels around seven continents, Page didn’t have any problem choosing destinations for this trip. Singapore got the nod “as it is cache-rich (more than 300) with many cheap ways to get around: bus, taxi, foot and even cycle”.

“The owners of the caches in Singapore place their caches well and keep them maintained. It’s very different from caching in Bangkok or Hong Kong.”

And Siem Reap, Cambodia was picked “as it’s an exciting place to geocache and a wonderful destination”.

“Plus, and just as importantly, I have noticed some geocachers have non-geocaching partners and I wanted to be able to cater to both views of the world. For non-geocachers, there is lots to do and see in both locations. Lastly, I felt that Singapore was a convenient place for people outside New Zealand to get to join us if they wanted to.”

Ideally, Page would like to escort 15 travellers to these spots, though adds that she can cater for up to 25. “This trip is to facilitate others so it can go ahead with the numbers already booked but it would be more fun having a larger group.”

So far, her clients have been geo-couples, “a mixed couple of cacher and non-cacher, and geocachers travelling on their own”. “Generally, the booked people are pleasant, adventurous types who are looking forward to the destinations but also the opportunity to mix socially.”

Singapore’s majestic skyline.

Demand for the NZ$3980 tour has been “encouraging”, she says – a statement clearly backed up in a thread on the NZ Recreational GPS Society forums, whereby several members confirm they’ve already booked.

A typical tour day in Singapore will start with breakfast at the group’s hotel “and then off into the day independently”. “Alternatively, people can come with me and I’ll make sure our path crosses lots of caches. A break at noon to refuel, drink and maybe have a shower, swim at the hotel and/or a rest. More afternoon activity but definitely a social together at 6 o’clock to catch up with everyone and swap stories.

“In Cambodia: breakfast at the hotel and then a morning of sightseeing amongst Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. A break back at the hotel at lunchtime for a swim, rest and refuel. In the afternoon, I will have suggestions of things to do including biking or visits to the local markets by tuk-tuk. Then, of course, it will be a get-together at 6pm for a social drink and catch-up.”

Cambodia’s architecturally-breathtaking Angkor Wat temple.

By night, there will be plenty of opportunity to dine at local restaurants or join Page at her “favourite haunts and meet the local people”.

An overgrown Siem Reap temple.

She has already chosen some favourite geocaches in Singapore – all in “beautiful locations” – to revisit with her charges. “I am particularly fond of the Fort Canning area and its caches. In Siem Reap, my all-time favourite is in the Temple of the Butterflies (GC2T5NR). It is off-the-beaten track; a ruined temple being strangled by vines. It’s the complete adventure cache.”

Her travellers will also participate in three geo-events -“one at Auckland airport, another in Singapore to meet local cachers and another in Siem Reap”.

If this first tour is a success, Page hopes to organise a similar trip to China in 2013. “I’ve been there about 20 times and who can beat geocaching on the Great Wall of China?”

*Would you go on an international geocaching tour like the one Mandy Page has planned? Tell us below …

3 comments

  1. Sonia Nerheny on Facebook

    Thats fantastic!

  2. sumajman

    This is a great idea and I hope it proves very successful.

  3. christianfourieafricagamerangerChristian Fourie

    Gateway Africa been doing geocaching tours combined with wildlife safaris in Southern Africa for the past 2 years, and wish you success in your venture.

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