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Treasure hunt for adults

Being older and wiser can be a benefit for participants in the international sport of rogaining, a game that combines navigation skills with strategy.

Jim and Kenneth are team of two, participating in a local rogaining event. They are at a checkpoint and using the marking to record that they found it.

If you enjoyed looking for hidden treasure in your backyard by following a poorly drawn map made by an older sibling or parent, you’re going to love rogaining. The international sport is, essentially, a treasure hunt for grownups (and their kids/grand kids).

According to the Victorian Rogaining Association’s Greg Robinson, rogaining is a sport that combines navigational skills with strategy.

‘You’re given a map with checkpoints that are worth different amounts of points, and you have to navigate with a compass to find them,’ Greg says.

‘There’s strategy involved because you can’t get all the checkpoints, so you need to work out the most efficient way to get the most points.’

Events are in regional Victoria, and can last anywhere from a few hours to days, with points deducted for lateness. Most events take place in the bush, but there are urban rogaines, where a Melways map is used, and no compass skills are required.

‘It’s not a race,’ Greg says, though he concedes some take it very seriously. This is clear at a recent Beach Roadgaine event in Sandringham where, amongst the seniors and families with prams, there was a small cohort of uber fit people decked out in gym leggings and sporting hydration backpacks.

‘The older ones tend to do better than the fitter kids because they think about how they are going to get the most points, whereas the young ones just race around to get as many as they can,’ Greg says.

You must be in a team of between two to five people, but it’s the diversity of the people that make up the teams that is one of the sport’s great attractions.

‘We get all ages and genders,’ Greg says. His words ring true at Sandringham, where the people who have turned up for the urban rogaine mill around the ‘Hash House’ waiting for their ‘wave’ to begin. Most are just chatting and laughing, others are bent over their map, highlighter in hand, working out the most efficient route.

The Victorian Rogaining Association has about 6,000 members and offers navigational training both online and in the bush. Rogaining is an international sport — the association has representatives competing overseas – and the Australasian Rogaining 24-hour Championships will be held in country Victoria near Avoca later in the year.

But most participants are just in it for the exercise, fun and opportunity to socialise, Greg says.

‘Half the people just want to camp overnight and sit around the fire and chat.’

Reviewed 11 April 2023