Are you bored with the typical weekend activities? Why not try your hand (and brain) at geocaching? Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt using GPS technology to get you close to the treasure's hidden location.
I stumbled across the concept online, and out of curiosity, loaded up the app to have a look at what was around me. The temptation was too much to resist once I saw there were many caches hidden around the Far North Queensland region, particularly the Atherton Tablelands and Cairns. I figured we'd check a location out one Sunday.
Our very first cache find was made from a PVC pipe with a screw lid. The clue seemed fairly simple, but finding the cache even with GPS took some searching. We found plastic bags, a ziploc baggie with a notebook and pen (the log), various tiny odds and ends like a bunny keyring, toy collectables, an eraser, a hairclip, a marble, and some cards.
It really is amazing once you realise how you most likely have gone by a cache many times before, not realising there was something hidden away. Meeting fellow geocachers on the same hunt is a great way to meet new people and trade information on cache hiding spots!
Kids love joining in and finding their own caches!
There are also laughs to be had. We found a cache that was on private property with permission to come onto the property to look. Of course, it being private property in full view of the house felt awkward so I stayed in the car while my partner went up to the tree. Watching him, I realised why the owners had put the cache on their property. It was extremely amusing to watch my partner pacing around, looking at the ground and up in the tree, checking his phone and in general looking rather bemused and ridiculous in the middle of the lawn. It was pretty funny. In the end, the grinning owners came out of the house after a good 15 minutes to offer help. When the cache was revealed, boy did we feel silly at our ineptitude!
Here is how to embark on your very own treasure hunting journey.
First, sign up an account with Geocaching.com.Your text goes hereThere is also a very handy geocaching app that you can download for your phone to make geocaching on the go easier. There is a fee for premium features, but the free features allow you to find caches that are rated as easy.
A tip: Starting with easy caches is the best way to go as it will help develop your caching expertise without thwarting you too much in the early stages! Pick a large-sized cache, micros and nanos are typically harder to find.
Second, consider the rules of the hunt. If you search for a cache, do it stealth-like, watch out for muggles, and don't let anyone see you locate the cache or return it to its location. Always replace caches as found. If you see a souvenir you would like to take, make sure you put something back in exchange. Don't forget to sign the physical log book with your geocaching name, and the date. Some logbooks are large enough to leave tidbits of info or comments, others are tiny scrolls.
Finally, make sure you log your find online on your geocaching account.
On a side note, there are geocaching "game pieces" that you best leave alone unless you know what they are and their intended purposes. Trackables are pieces that have a trackable number that you can look up on the Geocaching app or site. Some trackables are meant to travel from cache to cache and have goals like "Take me to see the Great Pyramids of Giza" while others are collectables and can be kept.
Happy hunting! Do let us know below in the comments if you have any interesting or quirky geocaching stories to share.