Geocaching, what an experience!
It’s exactly what our family has been looking for. Now I follow an amazing Mummy friend on her and her daughters’ adventures around Victoria (mainly the local Melbourne areas) finding hidden gems (parks and attractions) and reviewing them for others. Check out Anyday Adventures to see what I’m talking about. Anyway her posts have served to encourage us as a family to find our own adventures here in Western Sydney and to get out and about.
Wow, what an understated and under appreciated outdoor activity this one is!
Not many people have even heard of it, but luckily enough I have some family members who had been actively taking part in the caching world so we jumped straight in and they helped show us the way. We’ve been having so much fun with it that I just had to share it here with you all.
Okay, so what is it? Geocaching is pretty much a recreational activity that takes place worldwide which involves you following GPS co-ordinates and a brief description to different locations all over. What your looking for are containers – ranging in size from micro (less then 100 milliliters in volume) to large (over 20 litres in volume) all being waterproof (obviously). Inside the containers there may be a log and pen, maybe even just a log or there may be little trinkets and pieces; which are pretty cool to see bits from all over the world. You can even take something from the stash and replace it with something of equal or higher value.
The containers are hidden in various locations, some we’ve found recently have included in tree trunks, rocks, water sprinklers, fences, magnitised in metal pipework, sand dunes even recently finding one at a bus stop that looked like a bolt and was magnitised underneath the seat – only the top unscrewed to discover a log that you then signed off.
I think of it as a giant treasure hunt with no end in sight. It’s surprising how much fun it is and the whole family can get involved. We even went out over the weekend with some friends and all FIVE kids + a dog to do some caching. Along the way we played at parks, fell down hills, climbed trees and walked along a beautiful river bank while chatting with each other and enjoying the fresh air. That’s not to say we couldn’t do that regardless, but it added another aspect of all working together to follow some clues or find something hidden to the naked eye.
You’d be surprised to know that you’ve probably passed many caches in your time without even realising it. Cachers have deemed people that don’t partake as ‘muggles’ (Harry Potter Fans Raise your hands!).
Best of all it’s a very inexpensive hobby to partake in, only requiring you to have a smart phone (which hello we all have one these days) and a pen to sign the logbooks.
If you are interested in getting started check out this link that will give you the basics in getting started with Geocaching.
I mentioned just a moment ago about needing a smart phone, well there are many different applications you can use on your phone but our top 2 rated apps would have to be the official app provided through Geocaching.com – which you can download here or search your app store for ‘Geocaching’. Alternatively you can do like us and get a paid App called ‘Cachly’ which will set you back $7.99 (Wow, big spender). This one was recommended to us and we are absolutely loving it!
Basically the apps provide you with a map that displays all the live geocaches around you, currently there are more than 2.8 million geocaches that are waiting to be found in over 180 countries. By clicking on each cache shown on your map it will list how far away you are from it, if there are any trackable items (more on this in a second), the difficulty level, a terrain difficulty level, the sizing of the cache itself as well as a brief description – sometimes a hint and the logs of other geocaching members.
There are way too many different ‘types’ of caches to sit here and list them all but I’ve included 3 of the more popular ones below.
1 – Traditional Cache: you get given GPS coordinates to a location and with in a 5 metre radius you should find the cache.
2 – Multi-cache: Multi-cache is exactly what it sounds like, instead of one step and you’re there, Multi-caches include at least one stage in addition to the physical final container.
3 – Unknown Mystery: It can be tricky to tell the difference between a Multi and Mystery Cache, the differences are subtle but important. A mystery cache can not be found without research that goes beyond reading the cache page.
I mentioned above ‘Trackable Items’ this is where it gets even more interesting and adventurous to me.
The best way to explain a trackable item would be to think of it like a game piece or a special token, you can come across them anywhere and they each have a unique code that is used to log their movements on Geocaching.com as they travel the world.
There are 3 main Trackables and I’ve listed them below for you to see.
1 – Travel Bug: This is a trackable tag attached to a miscellaneous item, each Travel Bug has a goal set by its owner. The goals are generally travel-related such as to visit every country in Europe. Any registered geocacher can take part in moving a Travel Bug and tracking it for its owner.
2 – Geocoins: Customizable coins created by either individuals or groups as a calling card. They function exactly like travel bugs and are moved from cache to cache and again they are able to be tracked by the aforementioned owners.
3 – Other Trackables: Other Trackable items come in various types including but not limited to patches or key rings. A Trackable items bears a unique ID code and text noting that they are trackable at Geocaching.com
Okay I’ve kept you long enough.. What are you waiting for?
Go and sign yourself up for an account and get started!
Whether you do it by yourself for some ‘me’ time or you choose to do it as a family, I guarantee you will enjoy yourself almost as much as we are.
Head over to our Social Media pages and let us know if you’ve ever Geocached!