Highway Dreams

Travelling Australia

Geocaching

Hide & Seek with a twist- a fun activity travellers may enjoy

Have you ever heard the term “geocaching” before? Many people have but are unsure what it means exactly.

To try and make it simple, geocaching could be considered a game or activity where individuals or groups seek to find hidden treasures (the geocache) by means of using a GPS device following a set of co-ordinates.

The idea is to find the hidden geocache, record a log that you have found it (by photo or by signing a log of “finders” that may accompany the geocache and on the geocache website). You may be wondering “what’s the point”. Well the geocache craze has taken off here “downunder” in a big way. People enjoy the thrill of seeking out a hidden item that could be located in the most remote or obscene places that you could think of or they could also be hidden in very obvious location literally ANYWHERE in the country. The Geocache website has a comprehensive list of hidden geocaches. This craze is based around “hide & seek” mentality because it’s human nature to be excited by the thrill of a challenge. Using a GPS with one’s navigational skills along with the adrenalin of hunting down an elusive treasure- I’ve been told it can be quite addictive. Now, when I say “treasure” it probably isn’t a valuable piece of jewellery, money or a gold watch. But it could be anything. Depending on the individual geocache, once you find it, you may be required to take the item and replace it with something else or leave it and sign a log-sheet of geocacher’s who have also found it. Examples of what you may find in a geocache maybe a pen, a token, a sign, ornament- usually quirky in some sense.

For many it’s a fun activity for families to all get involved with, teaching the kids about GPS navigation, co-ordinates and orienteering. Also, travellers enjoy the game of geocaching because it can keep them active and can provide a reason to visit locations that may not have been originally part of their travel plans. Other parties who also enjoy a good geocache hunt are bushwalkers and scouting groups.

Geocaching is kind of like a secret club but anyone is able to join- and it’s FREE. There are many geocaching websites that members can join and is the only real way of getting involved. Once you have joined as a member, you can use the website to gather the co-ordinates of hidden geocaches near you or in places you intend on visiting- all listed with a difficulty rating to suit your preference such as accessibility etc. All you need is a GPS unit (with co-ordinate function) and the set of co-ordinates found on the website for the geocache you wish to seek out.

The only rules are that you replace the geocache in the same spot you found it and replace the item taken with something of equal value. You then are usually required to log your find on the website and add any photos as proof. There are no winners or losers with this game- just a bunch of people having fun in the great outdoors! It’s also a fun idea to leave a comment online or in the forums about your find.

Members are invited to also add their own geocache for people to find. People usually choose to hide them in places of significance or places that are special to them. You record the co-ordinates and submit it to the central website so others can start looking. You can keep an eye on who’s found it and read comments people have left for you.

It’s an activity that I would recommend anyone trying. Give it a go and see if you enjoy the adrenalin or thrill of seeking out something that only exclusive members know exists. This a great idea if you are travelling- you will be amazed at where geocaching can take you and the quirky things you may find hidden in each geocache along the way!

Have fun and happy hunting.

To find out more Google “geocaching” but I recommend taking a look at www.geocaching.com.au for more info. There is a list of FAQ’s and some great info on getting started. You never know, a geocache could be right under your nose and you didn’t even realise! You could also try using the Geocaching App that’s available for smartphones!

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