I am always looking for new things to experience with our family. There is so much out there and it would be great to share some of our weekend adventures.
Published July 27th 2014
The real treasure is in finding it…
Are you constantly thinking of things to do with the kids on the weekend? New places to see? Things that are free and fun? Well, maybe you should consider trying an activity known as geocaching. This activity is free, fun and gets the kids outdoors.
What is geocaching?
Geocaching is a modern day treasure hunt, where you use a GPS or smartphone to find co-ordinates to locate treasures known as caches. The treasures are containers that come in all different sizes and some are very well camouflaged. Some are in locations you pass each day and some are off the beaten track. In the cache, there will be a logbook to sign. The caches may contain small little toys, like stickers, bouncy balls, etc. you may take these as long as you replace with one of your own toys.
If you check on the official geocaching.com website, you'll be amazed by how many caches are available and how many people are registered. There are nearly 2.5 million active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide.
Geocaching Map with Cache Information for Burden Park using Geocaching.com
Each time we visit a new area, we check the geocache map before we head off. Within 5km in our local suburb of Cheltenham, we were surprised by how many caches were available. There is even a hidden cache in the Southland shopping centre. We discovered 2 fantastic parks for the kids, Heatherton Park and Burden Park while searching for our treasures. We have only just started our geocaching adventures and won't be stopping any time soon.
1. You need a GPS unit or iPhone/Android phone. (We use a Garmin GPS as the battery life is much better)
2. You need to create an account on geocaching.com. (You can access for free or you can pay $30 a year and get access to more caches)
3. You need to load a cache into your GPS unit. (A "1 star" difficulty and terrain rating are the easiest and best if you are just beginning)
4. You need a "geocache" bag which contains basic items like a pen, spare batteries for your GPS, a first aid kit and small inexpensive toys to exchange.
Now, the adventure begins…
Once you have loaded your cache into your GPS unit, you can head to the location by car or bike. Once there, let your GPS guide you to the location. Once you are around 10m, you can start searching. The cache could be anywhere. We have found some camouflaged in trees, in old rotten logs, underneath picnic bench tables, in magnetic Sistema containers under bridges. You never know what to expect and this adds to the excitement.
Once you find the cache, you can open the box and check what is inside. You can exchange for one of the items inside and you need to sign the log book. Ensure that the cache is replaced discreetly to prevent it being 'muggled' (meaning that people who don't know about geocaching might destroy, deface, empty or move the cache).
Make sure that you log you find on your iPhone or computer to let others know you found the cache!
Give it a go!
I hope that this article has inspired you and your family to try out geocaching. We really love this new hobby as it adds a new dimension to our outings and encourages kids to get out and about in the fresh air, provides a good bit of exercise, offers a chance to test their mental agility and explore different environments.
So, if you're stuck for ideas on the weekend, this is a great option and practically free. Once you have a GPS and access to the geocaching site, the possibilities of having exciting outdoor adventures is endless.
This sounds fabulously exciting to me. A Family member in U.S.A. Geocahes and loves it. Is it difficult to get started? I’m not all that good with electronics, rarely uses a mobile, so it needs to be simple and straightforward. Lol.