By Philip Gomes
Next time you visit a park, there’s a chance you will see someone carrying a small computer and peering under benches or between the limbs of trees.
Don’t panic or call the police. Instead, sit back and watch one of the world’s newest sports, called “Geocaching.”
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a high-tech game of hide and seek in which you use a hand held global positioning system (GPS) computer to find items or “caches” hidden by other game players. The game can played by anyone with a GPS receiver and a computer connected to the internet.
To play, start by visiting a website like www.geocaching.com.au and use the site’s search tool to find a cache near your home. Once you log in to the site, it will reveal the co-ordinates of a cache, which you should enter into your GPS machine.
Next, walk, ride or drive towards the Geocache, using your GPS to navigate towards the co-ordinates.
What’s in a cache?
When the GPS says you have arrived at the co-ordinates you seek, you will find the cache, usually a Tupperware-style container with a log book inside for you to enter the time and date of your conquest!
Once you have found your first cache, your imagination is the only limit. There are thousands of caches all over the world, some of which are only accessible after considerable exertion.
Another fun element is the fact that GPS devices are not 100% accurate, so even when you arrive at the scene it can take a while to find the cache.
The fun and reward comes from the hunt, along with a good walk made more interesting!
What you need to play Geocaching
To start Geocaching, you’ll need:
- A Global Positioning System Receiver
- A computer connected to the internet
- Notebook, to record details of the cache
- Small items for trading
The following websites are also very helpful:
Respect geocaching ethics!
Some geocaches contain small gifts or toys, often the kind of thing you will find at a $2.00 shop. The idea is that when you find the cache, you take one of these little treasures and leave another of equal or greater value, although you don’t have to take anything at all.