Tag Archives: History

Caching in Hanmer Springs

Our mission to Hanmer Springs  was more about cache placing & maintenance.  We’ve got 11 caches there now. We usually visit a couple of times a year,  so to be honest, the Hanmer caches probably get more regular maintenance visits than some of our local caches!

Here duck duck duck....

Where would you hide the cache ......?

Hanmer is the only ‘resort’ type place that we go. usually we avoid places with lots of people when we’re on holiday. But Hanmer never seems like there’s alot of people there – because most of them are hidden away inside at the Hot Pools, and we’re out in the forest or on the back roads.  We have our little routines about what we do in Hanmer usually and one of my favourite things to do there is go to the local pond each morning. After a visit to the bakery we usually head around there to eat our breakfast, and to feed the ducks!  We’ve got a cache there, of course. It’s even in one of these photos – perhaps.  Feed the Ducks GC20A1D         

We had two caches in Hanmer this trip that we wanted to do – well, the only two caches that were new since our last trip. One is an Earthcache, but it needed us to go to the Hot Pools, which we didn’t quite get to on this trip.

The other was a short multi in the grounds of the Queen Mary Hospital. This hospital is not used anymore and is semi-derelict – with just a few parts of it being used by various groups. The grounds are absolutely beautiful at this time of year as there are lots of deciduous trees, so being a bit of an autumn freak I really enjoyed my walk around the area. The cache itself didn’t make the most of the features of the grounds, but it was still good to have a cache to do. This was also where we discovered the chestnuts, and where we now know there are two different types of chestnut trees!!

Queen Mary Hospital has had a varied career – first starting as a sanatorium for people ‘taking the waters’ at Hanmer Springs, then as a rehabilitation hospital for returned soldiers with post traumatic conditions. Before it closed it was a centre for alcohol & drug rehab, with special programmes for Maori & youth.  

We also placed three new caches while we were here – my favourite one was near the Acheron Accommodation house . This is an old historic cob building – the only one remaining of seven accommodation house built along an early route between Hanmer and points north.  The Molesworth Station that this building is located in is managed by the Crown with the Department of Conservation & Landcorp Farming both having a roll in the use of the land, so conservation and are both important to the land & landscape in this area. Although my all time favourite landscape is our West Coast bush, my close second is the tussocky hills of the New Zealand high country. The  barren looking landscape is so different to the bush, but it has its own stark beauty that appeals to me some how.


Well, the photos haven’t behaved as I wanted for this entry – but I get that sometimes! I think you still get the idea, and you can see them bigger if you click on them anyway.

City Caching

Our trip to the city was mostly for shopping, but we had a few other very important things to do too.

New Brighton Beach

The main one was to take a young member of the caching team The Grady Bunch out for some caching and some decent food!   When your family lives really truly in a remote place, you’ve no choice but to go to boarding school  for high school when you get to Year 9. And eat the food. But that doesn’t mean you gotta like it!

So we rescued Grady #3 from the  hostel (dorms), went caching and then out for a meal. 

We had some technical issues with the camera, so there aren’t too many photos.

Firstly we went to GC1T8AD Bright-On  Pier where nimble young fingers were very useful! And then we went for a short stroll along the beach.

 We took photos near that cache the next morning also. This is a spot that we really like – one morning we saw a paddle surfer which was kind of fun towatch. And there’s almost always regular surfers and heaps of dog walkers. If you are dog people it’s interesting to see the different dogs and whether they are running or fetching, swimming or avoiding the waves, digging or playing or just generally doing dog stuff.

Pier View

Lift Off

This is one we took at GC24BDT Kate the Good Sheppard   – just before the camera claimed that the card was full. Grady #3 did most of the hunting here while we were fussing around with the camera – but would have found it anyway, being the only one looking in more divergent spots!! Us oldies had too many expectations about where a cache on a boardwalk ‘ought’ to be!!

Swany Cache Shepherds

And next we had a DNF ….. on a cache we’d found before.    LOL!

After a buffet dinner at the Oxford on Avon Grady #3 and I did a quick dash to GC20W94 New Regent Scene , while PB hovered with the van nearby! Grady #3 was very impressed with this hide, and was rather pleased to have found it.

We had to then return our young friend to the matron, but next time we all hope we can have a longer day caching. When fishing & weka hunting rather than hair-straightening is your area of knowlegde, city life is a bit tough sometimes, so a day’s caching is a good break I guess!

Two other caches we did on following days of the weekend that we  really liked  were  GCA46 Godley

This was near a spot where we’d hoped to park for the night at Godley Head,  but alas the nasty ‘no camping’ and ‘gates locked at 8:00pm’ signs turned us back. However we did walk down the track to find the cache at the historic WWII remains .

It was nearly dusk when we were here, so we didn’t stay long as we still had to find a parking spot for the night. We did investigate one part of the historic area beside where the cache was a little, but we’ll need to go back and walk around the whole place.

The view walking down towards the buildings & cache.

It’s a bit far away from the city centre for too much graffiti, but what was there seemed relevant.

All that is left are hollow shells of buildings with shattered windows.

A view out the door, over that which they hoped to protect.

Another cache we enjoyed, and which gave us a few laughs was  GC1TXB8 Good Luck for Ducks

Duck feeding

The ducks did get lucky with a bit of our bread, which is always fun to watch them fight over it. PB had a go at looking for the container – as we were fairly confident of its where-abouts – but found that he wasn’t quite bendy enough to get where was needed.  By then the muggles were starting to amass, so we took a break to admire the ducks some more.  Then I decided to give it ago. Just as I was about to get into the hiding spot a guy and a young boy (his son/nephew?) biked past on the bridge. The guy was on a bike quite a few sizes too small, knees sticking out the side, no helmet (cycle helmets are the legal requirement in NZ), and a cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth.

 All that is all very well, but what made the moment funny was that just as he went past us we could hear him giving instructions to the young lad: “ Now remember to be careful…. “  We hope that the little boy learns more from the words than the example – but I suspect not.

The car park by now was filling up  with vehicles out of which were emerging  late middle-age muggles – some clutching deckchairs, and some with their walking sticks. I could not quite decide if they were arriving for a walking group, or for a little rest in their chairs, but we decided that they posed no danger to the cache, so I continued my cave crawl and reached the cache in its little dark corner. This kept the muggles entertained – PB says they were pointing with their walking sticks, discussing what on earth I was doing & chuckling.  I passed the cache out for PB to sign, because there was no way I could get on a good angle to write in the log book under there, and I wasn’t repeating the damage to my elbows by crawling out and in again.  Your regular round shaped Kiwi girl is not ideally made for such tight spaces I have to say!!

Cache extraction

And speaking of ducks – any duck fan who has not watched the new introductory video on the Geocaching.com home page   should do so – keeping a close eye out for the swag.