After a bit of a surf, I lucked onto the concept of geocaching....
I thought it sounded like a great idea, but assumed it was mainly an American thing. Imagine my delight when I typed in my postcode and hundreds of little boxes flashed up on the screen!
I picked 3 that were within 2kms of my place, making about a 4 km round trip, up and down hills, through parks and along bush tracks.
We had a lot of fun, searching for the little containers,deciphering codes and figuring out clues.
It felt a bit like being a spy. Lots of "Shhh, look casual, there's a muggle coming."
My tips for a successful geocaching walk:
- Write down, or print out, the coordinates of the geocache you are searching, as well as any clues, or extra hints.
- You can use a hand-held GPS, a mobile phone with a maps app, your car gps (which is what I did), or even just print outs from google maps.
- Copy and paste the coordinates into google maps search, and a little green arrow will pinpoint the exact spot for you. I printed these as a back up, because I didn't trust the battery on my gps, and I found they were more useful. My gps isn't very walker friendly, sometimes its 100m-200m out.
- Make sure you have a pen/pencil for writing in the logs, a notebook to record your finds and maybe some trinkets for exchanging. You could take a digital camera, I use the one in my phone, but don't post any photos of the actual hide because that would ruin it for others.
- Pack plenty of water, 2L each minimum. I have two one litre bottles fridge cold and two frozen. By the time you have drunk the the first two, or they are too hot to be refreshing, the frozen ones are defrosted.
- Wear hats, sunscreen and sunglasses.
- Wear comfy sand-shoes, or boots, (preferably old and worn in)
- Take insect repellent
- Take snacks, everyone (me included) gets grumpy after a while and juice, a biscuit or a piece of fruit can stop tantrums before they start.
- Keep the walk to a length that the youngest, (or the most unfit) geocacher can cope with.
- Don't walk in the middle of the day. Leave really early and plan to be home by 10am, or leave it until after 3pm. Especially this time of year. And if the forecast has temps in the 40s like they are having down south, its probably a good idea to postpone it.
- Take your rubbish with you. "Cache in, Trash out".