Orienteering has a broad sweep. At its most basic, it is a sport involving the use of compasses and maps to navigate from point to point. With its origins in military training, it has since expanded to welcome all sorts of activities and all sorts of people - all under the approving nod of the Australian Sports Commission.
Orienteering Australia certainly reflects the diversity of the sport. With almost daily activities encompassing mountain biking, running, and skiing, it seems that there is no end to the possibilities of orienteering.
According to the NSW wing of Orienteering Australia, the best way to learn is to do. According to the website:
A typical orienteering event may have a dozen courses to enter on the day. These vary greatly in the difficulty of navigation, from the very easy, following fences, paths and creeks, through moderate navigational and physical difficulty, to the very difficult. This allows for a gentle introduction to orienteering with plenty of opportunity also for improving orienteers."
It sounds simple enough. The easiest way to get involved, although it involves paying a membership fee, is by joining a club. While the prices vary according to the club, the norm is usually in the realm of $50, with discounts for students, juniors, and seniors.
Based in Chatswood, the Big Foot Orienteers run in a range of sprints in various locations around Sydney and interstate. Drawing members from North Sydney, Mosman, Manly and Wrringah, Bennelong Northside Orienteers boasts the status of being the oldest orienteering club in Australia - and also encourages new members to join through a comprehensive set of online joining contacts.
For those based in Hornsby and Ryde, however, there are the Garingal Orienteers, who combine the competitive spirit of orienteering with an emphasis on the beautiful scenery seen in bushland courses.
Mirroring the breadth of the sport, the system of clubs presided over by Orienteering Australia extends to the East of Sydney, with Uringa Orienteers, and to the more far-flung suburbs, such as Sutherland and St George with the Illawarra Kareelah Orienteers.