What on earth is geocaching?
Ask most people if they know what it is and you will get a pretty common shrug of the shoulders.
The word geocaching comes from the word geo: meaning earth and cache: a collection of items stored in a hidden or inaccessible place - making ‘Geocaching’ the world’s greatest treasure hunt! Geocaching is a modern take on the old fashioned way of orienteering (before Pokemon GO took over the world by storm) and is the perfect way to get outside adventuring in your local neighbourhoods with your little legends - it’s practically free to do so why wouldn't you? Grab some mates this weekend, head on out and tick off some caches while discovering new places, and of course making plenty of memories!
The treasures (caches) are enclosed waterproof containers and are found using a handheld GPS device or by downloading the app from geocaching.com. We downloaded the app to use for the first time and it was so easy to use . Head to the map to find a geocache nearby to you and get going! Don’t forget to bring a pen along for the fun so you can share your experiences both online in the handwritten activity log in each cache. Our little legends packed a bag with a pen, drink bottles and some special treasures from their rooms that they were willing to trade if the opportunity came up. Once you find your first cache, you’ll notice inside there is a log, have fun and & sign your name off (we spotted one log with dates dating back 10 years ago!) and hide it back in the same exact spot. Some are really easy to find and some require a bit more thought and adventure so check the ratings and description on each cache as you go. On each cache you will expect to find the following information on each one:
The name of the cache and the person who hid it
A description of the location and surrounding area (a lot of caches are hidden in picturesque areas or areas with historical significance making it an awesome learning activity too!)
Online activity log of the cache: Make sure you leave your name each time! We found this handy to see if it has been found recently - more of a reason to not give up looking if it had been found
The size of the cache: some can be really small (eg micro) and increasing in size like small and regular
Difficulty rating: this will help you get an idea of how hard it is to look for
Terrain rating for the surroundings: Another great hint in helping find the cache. This is also particularly useful as some mention if it is suitable for a pram or even taking the four legged family member for an adventure too!
Some caches have a hint option - we did use this once as a very very last resort!
Along your adventure you will find that some caches have a trade in and out system - take home a treasure and leave one that you have brought along. You may even be lucky enough to find a trackable like we did on our first adventure. These ‘trackables’ are little treasures with tracking codes attached to them - don’t keep these, keep these ‘bugs’ moving around, lets see how far they can travel!
If there is one thing we learnt from our first experience was to look! They aren’t always in the easiest spot to see, some will require some careful looking around, maybe even scratching around in leaves. Don’t be like me and just assume that the caches are hidden in easy to find places, they aren’t always obvious and some are camouflaged to make it that little bit harder, but don’t give up! With over 2 million caches hidden worldwide you will be bound to find some awesome spots near you - Chances are we have been passing them everywhere in our everyday life and just not even noticing them.
The fun and thrill of the hunt made it so exciting for the little kids (and the big kids too!) and the satisfaction of not giving up & eventually finding them definitely made us want to get out and hunt for more. Geocaching is a super fun family activity and there are also some really valuable educational qualities to come out of it too like problem solving, mapping skills, geography & nature studies of the local area you are exploring and learning & discussing basic outside safety skills like water & road safety while you are geocaching.
When you head out to give it a try this weekend, grab a coffee from your local favourite spot and print out our latest Adventure Hunt - Geocaching Edition’ (click here to download) to take along for the ride too, more fun to have while your out adventuring!
Happy Adventuring x