Got a smartphone? Go geocaching! I’ve been hearing about geocaching for a while now but until recently, we hadn’t tried it. Now that we have, we love it! It’s a fun family activity.
How can I best describe geocaching? It’s basically a treasure hunt. It involves using your smartphone or a handheld GPS unit and an app to navigate to a set of GPS coordinates and then trying to locate a container called a geocache hidden at the location. Sometimes, they can be plastic containers that can be easily found. More ingenious containers are magnets which require more sleuthing. Once located, you can record your find in the app.
It’s a great outdoor activities for families. As well as having fun exploring the great outdoors, it teaches kids navigation skills using maps as well as skills like persistence when you can’t find a geocache easily. Even if you have babies or toddlers who may not appreciate the thrill of the hunt, it’s a fun activity for adults and something that will get you out of the house.
Looking at the map www.geocaching.com, there’s lots of geocaches in the area from Stockton to Belmont. That’s a lot of geocaches to find. As you would imagine, there’s geocaches in most popular places with loads to find in Blackbutt Reserve.
To get started you’ll need:
- An iPhone or Android phone or GPS unit. (Make sure it’s charged)
- A geocaching app. I was recommended to use Geocaching.com for iPhone and Android. There’s a free version or a paid version of $12.99 which gives you access to more geocaches.
- An account with https://www.geocaching.com/. It’s free to sign up. You’ll need to sign in and create an account on the geocaching app. This enables you to keep track of the geocaches you have found.
- A pen to sign the physical logbook.
- A sense of adventure.
Our adventure begins by selecting a geocache on my phone.
I’ve been advised by the Geocaching website to choose a Traditional Cache type, “1 star” difficulty and a regular or large Cache size. Once selected, head to the location and let your phone navigate you to the location.
The app will provide a map and details on where you need to go.
Once you’re within 10 – 15 metres of the cache, start to investigate the area to locate the geocache.
For the ones that we found, a couple were easy to find while the other one involved a bit more searching. Once located, open it up and see what’s inside. Be sure to sign the log book as well as logging the find on your app. You can also exchange items in the geocache and some players bring small tokens to replace those in the box.
Geocaching.com recommends sealing the cache securely and putting it back exactly where you found it discreetly. This reduces the chance of it being “muggled”. When a cache has been “muggled”, it usually means it was moved or removed by an unsuspecting non geocacher who doesn’t realise it’s part of geocaching.
So the next time you go for a walk or visit a park or playground, check if there’s geocaches nearby and go treasure hunting.
Does your family geocache? Share some of your adventures or tips with other families!
In 2012, Reena founded Newy with Kids to share information about family-friendly Newcastle. Originally from Canada, she had no idea about what to do with her toddler and after searching unsuccessfully for a family guide, decided to start her own. Since that time, both the toddler and Newy with Kids have grown keeping Reena busy. If you see her out and about, say hi.