Proposal and Committee
In the second quarter of 2012, the possibility of South Australia hosting a Mega event was put to the local geocaching community. It started with Let’s talk about a Mega, where the feelers were put out, to see who would be prepared to be involved, and what skills existed within the caching community to assist in the long road such a venture would entail. A working group was formed and a few months later, shrek4 hosted another event (Meal about a mega) was held where the now formed committee established areas of responsibly and working groups to handle each. In addition, they briefed attendees on the ground work that had already been done, and what location options were available. A big step for a state that to date did not even have an incorporated association, meaning the committee had to start completely from the ground and work up. With a core group of dedicated cachers in Tobias (shrek4), Audra (SEMIK), Reno (Skippy.), Gayle & Mark (FLIPPER&CO) and Jim & Julie (Gordon Patrick Samuel) making up the organising committee, work proceeded under the banner of Geocaching SA, a non-profit association created specifically for the purpose of hosting Oz Mega 2014. In addition, a host of other volunteers and assistants who worked within the framework the committee set up.
Murray Bridge and Geo-Art
As news began to move through the South Australian geocaching community, caches started popping up across the state, presenting hypotheses around possible locations all over the state. Later in 2012, at the annual Christmas event, the selected location to host Oz Mega 2014 was revealed. Murray Bridge was the chosen site due to a number of favorable factors over the riverland region and mid-north of the state. With over 200 people attending the Christmas event, a real excitement was created around the Murray Bridge event, and many local geocachers started planning for Easter 2014. Shortly after the announcement, new geo-art appeared near GZ, with firesafe creating an image of the geocaching.com mascot Signal (the Frog), while Hurtle created an enormous advertisement in two parts.
The text OZ MEGA 2014 spread across the region and an arrow pointing straight to the Murray Bridge show grounds, the chosen site. Not long after, other caches sprung up in and around Murray Bridge, highlighting some of the hidden treasures nearby, and significantly increasing geocache density.
Event Activities and Workshops
With two enormous geo-art pages around Murray Bridge in addition to the Wandering Heroes trail, those seeking numbers were not short of options, but for those who chose to focus more on the social aspects of the event were not short of options. Numerous events were planned throughout the weekend and a number of games setup for attendees to join in as part of their activities.
On Saturday, the event organisers had a ‘Catch a cacher caching’ competition, with the aim of providing the most humorous photo and caption throughout the day. The entries were all fantastic and provided many laughs.
On the Sunday it was a different story, with the theme being ‘Recreate the Scene’, with teams challenged to provide a recreation of a scene from famous movies. There were some truly impressive photographic work on show for this competition!
In addition, over the entire weekend, Sef & Rodney from teams Cache_or_Check and Team Scoobster created a massive QR based game, with a playing field that stretched over the entire region, with a solution sending players back to event GZ for a final puzzle to solve.
Junior geocachers were well catered for with a Jumping Castle, the Scouts SA Activity Centre and Colouring In competitions over the course of the Easter weekend.
Each night there was plenty on offer to entertain attendees, with family friendly movies on offer on Friday night, and local band Acoustic Juice providing a fantastic party atmosphere deep into the night on Saturday! At the beginning of their first set, the event lighting was turned off, and attendees were plunged into darkness as Acoustic Juice launched into a rendition of ‘Major Tom’, with a synchronised fireworks by the always popular Southern Cross Fireworks. The fantastic display was so popular, the committee received requests from local organisations who were looking for something special for their next event!
Sunday morning started with a family friendly Easter egg hunt around the facility, while Sunday night was a Dress Up / Costume theme judged by our international guests. The Sunday entertainment was provided by a local geocaching DJ who kept everyone going right to the end of day three as the event started to wind down.
A number of workshops were hosted throughout the day, with South Australian geocachers contributing to the event by sharing their expertise. SneakySqueaky was kind enough to share his experience on hiding well camouflaged caches in plain sight, for which he has an exceptional track record, while Cache_or_Check was kind enough to provide insights into the mind of a puzzle creator and solver. Sadly he was not available during the event to present in person.
Of course, for those who are new to geocaching, a GSAK introduction was on offer, and provided an insight into how powerful this tool is from seasoned geocachers! For even further insight, a reviewer Q&A workshop provided cachers of any experience the opportunity to gain insight and clarification into the review process, and provided guides to make the cache approval process a smooth one.
To round out the workshops, sessions on Pathtag trading and design as well as a Travel Bug exchange were very well attended, while junior cachers were kept busy with a ‘decorate a cache container’ workshop that produced many fantastic caches that made their way out into the world post event.
Check out some of the fantastic photos that were taken by the organisers as well as the attendees in our Oz Mega 2014 Facebook Album here. Many of these were entries in the various photo competitions that were held over the course of the weekend. With just shy of 900 attendees, the entire event exceeded many expectations, and the association extends its heartfelt thanks to the organising committee above for putting on such a great weekend!