IT'S the treasure-hunting phenomenon that has people around the globe hooked, now the pastime of geocaching has its sights set on the Granite Belt.
Stanthorpe looks set to be transformed into the geocaching capital of Queensland, as more and more tourists travel to the area to partake in the growing treasure hunt.
The concept of geocaching involves tech-savvy adventurers using GPS co-ordinates (online or via a smart phone app) to locate caches - a box or container of goods hidden by other geocachers, with a log book to note who found it and when.
On Saturday, the Granite Belt became a geocaching adventure land with more than 100 geocachers camping out at the property of The Summit residents Ian and Christine Robins
The Robins are regarded as geocaching pioneers on the Granite Belt, introducing the activity to the area two years ago.
"We hold a geocaching camp here at least twice a year," Mrs Robins said.
"We bring a lot of tourists here - it's become very popular on the Granite Belt."
Geocachers have given the adventure quality of the Granite Belt a nod of approval, with the Stanthorpe Showgrounds chosen to host Queensland's first Geocaching Mega Event in April.
As many as 800 geocachers from around Australia and overseas are expected to attend.
Mega event organiser and geocacher Thomas Krafft said there were more than 600 caches hidden across the Granite Belt, ranging from a fake apple hanging in a tree at Ballandean to a tiny treasure under a seat in the main street of Stanthorpe.
"About 99.9% of caches are hidden in public places," he said.
"Each one has a logbook - a record of who has been there - and things inside which you can swap.
"Finding the caches isn't always easy - many you find by asking questions and solving problems."
Geocaching only really exploded in popularity with the onset of the smart phone app, according to geocacher Gary Flynn.
"Most people use the smart phone app for geocaching," Mr Flynn said.
"The response from the locals here has been insane."
For more information visit http://www.qldmega.com.
- There are more than 2.2 million caches hidden world-wide
- 9000 caches are hidden across Queensland with more added each day
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