Advice 2010

Version Date: 29 Apr 10

Status: VERSION 1 (There may be changes before the day, check back here in the last week.)

We assume you have read the General Information about the event in the entry form. And also the Detailed Information which covers the rules of the game and other essentials. If not then don't go any further: they are more important.

This page contains background for those who may not have been in a rogaine before, how to use txtBUS and txtTRAIN, and what you will find on the map.


You may use the "txtBUS" service for the next three scheduled bus services. It won't however tell you if a service is running early or late. Here's how it works:
  • You're going to send your text to "bus" or 287 on your phone key pad.
  • For the times of the next three bus services for your stop - key in the 4-digit bus stop number eg 9115. You will find this on all bus stop signs, and on the map.
  • For the next three services for a specific route at your stop, add a space or a comma and then the route number, eg 9115,110
  • Within a few seconds you'll receive a reply with the three times.
  • Calls cost 20c on both Telecom and Vodafone networks.


This service is similar to txtBUS but gives you the next two trains between two specified stations.
  • Send your text to "trn" or 876 on your phone.
  • In the text put the first four letters of the station where you want to get on and the first four letters of the one where you want to get off. The station abbreviations are on the map.
  • Example BOXH WELL for Boxhill to Wellington. For future times add @time, eg BOXH WELL@1400. Use a 24-hour clock for times.

General Advice

  • There are more than enough controls for the top teams to get in 6 hours. This means that 3-hour teams aren't going to see more than a fraction of the controls, particularly the families. So we've grouped most of the controls in clusters well-served by public transport. There are 6 main clusters, from Seatoun to Newlands, and you're going to have to choose one or two to go for. And there are some mini-clusters close to the finish that you might have time for on your way back.
  • 3-hour teams might be able to get some higher-value controls that are between their clusters, but higher value usually means scenic - ie further and steeper! 6-hour teams, you're going to have to trade off sweeping up a few of the clusters against going for the high-value points.
  • Most rogainers even experienced ones "bite off more than they can chew!". You need a wiggly route that you can easily shorten if things don't go to plan. Leave some controls near the finish for the end.
  • We've been designing question-and-answer control points for 19 years, and we know that in spite of our best efforts, a small number may not be crystal clear - eg the feature that was obvious to the course planner doesn't stick out to you. If you believe you are at the right place and you can't find the object of the question, don't spend more than a few minutes, record some other fact about the location and carry on. Talk to us afterwards and convince us you were there. This is not a championship and we want to credit you with all the points you visited.
  • The bus stops shown on the map need to be taken with a grain of salt. Greater Wellington kindly supplied a database of coordinates , but it may contain stops that don't apply to the current bus services, and of course it contains stops for services that won't be running on Sunday. Further, some bus stops are for one direction only, and in many two-way cases the stops are not directly opposite one another. So use the info in conjunction with your knowledge of the available routes.
  • How reliable are the buses and trains? Lateness is a bit of an "urban legend", but we have six years' experience now. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with ironically more instances reported of EARLY buses than late. Only SOME stops are timed, and the bus can get ahead of schedule if conditions are good. Feedback suggests that there is more variability in Wellington than Lower Hutt, as you would expect with a more complex operation, and downtown traffic volumes are quite high even on Sunday.
  • Getting in and out of the finish. Most buses traverse "the golden mile" between the railway station and Courtnay Place, but the traffic and number of stops means that teams who are prepared to run will beat the bus in this stretch. It would be worth your while working out in advance the best way to get away from downtown, and from the suburbs back into the finish.
  • It's fairly hard making sense out of all the timetables - but make sure you know which ones are running on Sunday. A simple handy reference would be the routes, what the frequency is, and how long they wait at the end before starting back. It might be possible to grab a control while the bus is waiting:-))
  • Unlike most rogaines, you can obtain sustenance along the way. You might like to buy a banana or quench your thirst at a dairy. Likewise, we have no wish to disqualify you if you happen to be passing Aunt Mary's and you call in for a cup of tea...
  • We'll provide a soft pencil per team for writing the answers on the question sheet, but you may wish to bring spares. Pencils are better than pens if it is wet.
  • Promotion of the event has been helped by photos taken by past competitors. The best ones contain more than a single person, so be alert for possibilities whenever you bump into another team, particularly at a landmark.

The Map

The map for the City Safari is intermediate in detail between the topo map and an orienteering map. To help those who are used to one or the other, here are some of the characteristics.
  • The scale is 1:25,000. There are two A3 sheets, provided in a plastic minigrip bag. There is an overlap. On the back of each are the control locations (eg "house number 26") and the questions (eg "what colour is the letterbox".)
  • The contours are 20m as on the topo map. Orienteers who are used to every hump and bump will find that not every small hill or gully is shown.
  • On the other hand those who are used to topo maps will find much more information and accuracy about the road and track network. We have gathered a huge amount of information about bush tracks, signposted walkways, alleyways connecting streets, and areas which the public can use such as parks and reserves. These are shown as follows.
  • Roads, tracks and paths in black lines as you would expect. Actually the tracks are classified as to their ridability for mountainbikers, because we use parts of this map for MTB-orienteering - the dotted lines are unridable, the dashes ridable slowly, solid lines maintained surfaces. (Teams with baby buggies, this may be very useful for you:-)) The only unusual symbol is that a GREY line is used for a tunnel, such as there are under the railway. And under the airport. And in the Ngaio Gorge, heh, heh.
  • Apart from roads and tracks, land that you can travel on is coloured brown (paved areas), yellow (open land) or light green (easily passable forest). Brown areas include supermarket and railway carparks. Yellow areas include parks and school grounds (mostly without the buildings). Light green areas (passable forest) are very few, but some parks have mature treed areas which we don't want to prevent you from using.
  • Land that you are NOT permitted to travel on is coloured dark green (thick bush) or grey (private land). This has been done largely by guesswork, but the purpose in making a distinction is to let you know what's on either side of you as you use a track.
  • Don't expect to find ALL the lanes in the downtown area, there are so many they would make the map a blur! Likewise in places like Victoria University, the Botanical Gardens, Karori Cemetery and Otari Plant museum which are shaded light green to indicate that you can travel BETWEEN the tracks shown. And in the suburbs there are still some lanes to discover. If you find routes that appear to be public access you may use them.
  • Railways are shown as a single black line with regular cross-bars. Where there is a bridge across it, the railway is interrupted. A tunnel under is shown with a grey line. A railway station is shown with a solid red circle. The cablecar was hard to show because the lower part is underground; the lower terminal is shown by a red circle and the word "Cablecar". The ferry terminals are shown by red circles and the word "Ferry".
  • Bus routes are not shown explicitly, you have to suss those out from the timetable information. However bus stops are shown with a hollow red circle. Bus stop numbers are shown nearby, with the position of the number indicating which side of the road it refers to. Bus stop numbers have to be weally weally tiny otherwise the map isn't readable. And the map is more important than the numbers. In fact there are places where we've had to leave the numbers off altogether - eg downtown. If you can't make out a bus-stop number you may be able to work it out from other numbers. The next stop down the road is often one number different, while the one opposite is often 1000 different; eg 6723 opposite 7723.
  • Other things on the map we hope are self-explanatory. There is a legend. Don't expect to find street names:-))


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