About six months ago my 4 year old twins and I were introduced to geocaching. A friend had spoken about it and had been encouraging us for ages to have a look but it wasn’t until a quiet weekend at home did I get out my mobile and download the App did we jump in the car to the local park to get started. So if you are new to geocaching here is how to get started.
What is it?
Geocaching is a Worldwide Treasure Hunt. They are hidden boxes/containers/caches that are found by a set of co-ordinates and using your GPS to find. There are literally millions of geocaches around the world, just waiting for you to find them. Its like a secret community of hunters out in parks near you searching and logging them.
How do you get started with Geocaching?
To get started, all you need is a free Geocaching account and the Official Geocaching app or a GPS. One of the best sites to register is at https://www.geocaching.com.
You Will Need:
- Smartphone or GPS device
- Items to swap with (little trinkets for the kids but it depends on the cache size)
- Pen to sign the logbook
Once you have downloaded the App you can search you immediate area or somewhere you are travelling too.
The App will let you search by difficulty, terrain, and cache size. I always review the comments in the log section to make sure the cache is current and hasn’t been misplaced. Once a cache has been identified then its drive and walk to the location. Usually the caches are off track a little so please respect the environment around you. What I love about geocaching is that it is a free activity and gets my girls out of the house, into the natural environment and grabbing some exercise. Also you would be surprised how many local parks have a geocache hidden. So even a normal trip to the park can be an exploration to find a cache. We have found caches hidden in logs, forks of trees, under rocks, in caves, tree roots and even dug out inside of rocks! All different every time. Most of the caches are hidden in a spot of significance to the person who hid the cache and I love they are in places I wouldn’t necessarily go too. For instance we drove down to Byron Bay, NSW to visit friends and on our way back instead of taking the same route home we detoured to a cache hidden up at an outlook of the bay I have never seen before.
What happens when you find a cache?
Geocaches can be as small as thumbnails (magnetic ones) to big buckets. Inner city geocaches are usually the small ones and too small to swap anything. Once you have discretely found a cache you can open it to find a log book. Sign and date the log book and then you can share it on your computer/smart phone you can log the find live on your App. The geocaching app will update with your finds and logs. Lastly make sure you re-hide the geocache exactly how you found it ready for the next person.
Geocaching is fun.
Some of the activities you can do with geocaching with kids:
- Go on a play group outing with other parents and kids. Map out a little itinerary/walk with a few caches close together and pack a picnic lunch.
- If you need time to fill when you are out and about – just grap your iPhone and look up the App to find a quick cache
- When you are travelling or on holidays no matter where local, interstate or international. Make sure you pick up a cache in the next local city.
Another little bonus is the virtual badges you receive when you achieve certain milestone in geocaching.