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On the hunt .. Oamaru Geofest organising committee chairwoman Nellie Vink (left) and committee member Carla Regan are excited about the event, the largest geocaching event to be held in the South Island this year. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Whether it’s $20 in your back pocket or $2 under the couch, it’s always nice to find a bit of treasure.

If your treasure-hunting desire stretches further than your pockets or furniture, the upcoming Oamaru Geofest might be a good place to start.

It is the largest geocaching event to be held in New Zealand this year and about 270 people are expected to arrive in Oamaru for the event on October 21-22.

Oamaru Geofest organising committee chairwoman Nellie Vink said geocaching was a real-world outdoor treasure-hunting game that used GPS-enabled devices.

Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS co-ordinates then attempt to find the cache, a container that contains trinkets, hidden at that location.

When found, a logbook is filled in and the trinket removed and replaced with another.

In some cases, puzzle solving is involved to open the container.

Each trinket has a tag with a code number, which can be looked up online to see how far it has travelled.

Some trinkets had travelled around the world, Mrs Vink said.

She said Oamaru was selected to host the event due to its existing number of caches and proximity to Christchurch and Dunedin, which have high participation rates.

“It already had a lot of caches planted. I don’t know how many, but most are on the [Alps 2 Ocean] cycle trail and there are a lot on the skyline walk.”

Other caches were hidden all over Oamaru, generally close to buildings, and under geocaching rules, must be at least 161m apart.

She said geocaching could be addictive, and that people could travel huge distances in search of hidden caches.

“I think, for me, I just found going for a walk to the same place very boring, but if there’s something else out there to find, it keeps it interesting.

“Even in Christchurch, we’ve found walkways, paths and monuments we never knew about.”

The pastime had grown in popularity thanks to smartphones.

Geocaching apps can be downloaded to show the GPS co-ordinates of a cache.

Ms Vink said in a lot of cases, it was a matter of “stop, park and grab”.

“With smartphones being more available, I think it’s different .. because more people can get access to it.”

More information can be found on the Oamaru Geofest 2017 Facebook page.