A friend told us about Geocaching a few years ago and we downloaded the free App but never really explored it until last year. We were on holidays and on our way to do a spot of fishing when we came across a tree that had lots of gnomes around it. And, for some reason, this sparked our memory of the Geocaching App we had on our phones. We quickly opened the App and yes! there was a cache close by, named “gnome home” – we were right at it!!! So one find, led to another and now we are hooked!!
WHAT IS IT?
Geocaching is a worldwide outdoor treasure hunt game. Players follow GPS coordinates to a location where a cache is hidden. There are millions of caches all around the world!
WHY DO IT?
- It’s fun ..for all ages!
- It takes you on lots of adventures!
- Gets you active!
- Great family activity!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
There is a free version of the app which gives you limited geocache co-ordinates. I suggest you get the free app first and then if you like it you can go premium! The premium version is $46.99 per year.
HOW TO PLAY?
- First you need to download the official geocaching app on your phone.
- Find a cache in your area by clicking on the map.
- Navigate to the cache.
- Search for the cache – high, low, under, in…. some of them are quite tricky and you can spend a while looking!
- Once you find the cache, sign and date the log inside as proof you have found it.
- You can also log your find on the app. The app will keep a record of all your findings!
- Return the cache to its original location.
WHAT DO CACHES LOOK LIKE?
The caches come in all different shapes and sizes and are generally in waterproof containers. Some of the caches we have come across have been in small mint containers, a large bucket, a piece of pipe, plastic containers, bottles, fake rocks. You never really know what you are looking for, only the size!
The cache size is always noted on the cache details page and they are categorised as micro, small, medium, large and other.
Here’s some of the different caches we have found…
WHAT IS INSIDE A CACHE?
Generally inside the cache is a log book and a pen/pencil. Some caches have items you can swap like small toys and trinkets. We have seen things like toys, pebbles/gemstones, rubbers, feathers… There are also trackables (see below) that can be found in some caches and again these details are always noted on the cache information page.
If you take a toy or trinket you must leave something of equal or greater value.
WHAT ARE TRACKABLES?
Trackables are like game pieces that travel from cache to cache. Trackables have an individual tracking code and have a goal set by the owner. The goal may be to travel to all states in Australia, or to travel to certain places around the world. If you come across a trackable, it’s always exciting to read about its journey!
Always ensure you read the goal on the app and don’t take the trackable if you cannot help it on its journey.
If the cache has a trackable contained inside you will see the details noted on the cache details page on your app (pic below).
If there are no trackables in the cache, you will see this on the cache details screen (pic below).
The two pictures below are examples of what a trackable might look like. You can see the description and owner’s goal on the first one.
In the picture below you can see that someone has moved this trackable and logged it on the cache details page “Dropped in Beyond The Pools”.
TYPES OF CACHES?
There are many different types of caches. We tend to pick out the traditional caches but if you have time on your side, there are many others like multi-caches or puzzle caches that are lots of fun too! We recently did our first multi-cache in Yamba. The cache took us on a beautiful 5 km coastal walk. We had to navigate to certain check points along the way and at the end we were given the location of the cache.
Be mindful of the difficulty and terrain of the cache you are trying to find and stick to what is comfortable for you and your family.
This part is very important! Not everyone is familiar with geocaching and those that are not are called “muggles”. You need to be in stealth mode when geocaching. You don’t want muggles to see you find the cache and you don’t want to look suspicious with your activity either! We’ve often found a cache and then had to sit it out for a while until the muggles had left the area so we could put the cache back in its original location 😉
- Check the “activity” tab on the cache details page before setting out to ensure people before you have found it. Sometimes they go missing and are no longer in the location…
- Remember if you take a trinket out make sure you put something back in of equal or greater value. However, if you move a trackable, you don’t have to replace it with anything.
- We have a small bag with various trinkets we take with us so the kids are able to swap if they want to!
- Take a pen with you! Sometimes the ones in the cache don’t work or the pencil is broken. If we come across this, we leave our pen for the enjoyment of others! Nothing worse than finally finding the cache and not being able to log it!!!
- Be stealth in high traffic areas – you may need to come back at a less busy time!
- Geocaches are hidden treasures – you may have to look high, low, under, over, in… remember to be careful of spiders, snakes and other creepy crawly’s!!
- Geocaching is a great way to break up the trip on a long drive!
- Most of all – HAVE FUN!
And there’s the added bonus of some stunning views and walks when geocaching!
Have you been GEOCACHING? If you haven’t, I highly recommend you get out there on the weekend and find your first cache – it’s addictive!