Geocaching: Modern Day Treasure Hunting

Geocaching: Modern Day Treasure Hunting

I’m pretty sure every one of us played find the treasure as kids, with one person hiding an object and yelling colder or warmer while the other person searches. Well, Geocaching is exactly that game except played with GPS devices and on a worldwide scale. The treasure hasn’t changed much either in that there’s generally nothing of much value to be found, but the thrill is in the hunt. Caches are often placed in significant locations, designed to get you out there to see what the hider thought was worth seeing. There may be spectacular views, hidden ruins, historic landmarks or cool rock formations. And there is most likely one hidden within a few hundred metres of your front door….

I have only become interested in Geocaching over the last two weeks. So today I’m going to pass on all of the simple and free knowledge and tools I have learned so that at the end of this post you may simply grab a GPS and head out the front door to give it a crack yourself. First up, you need to register yourself on geocaching.com. Registration is free, and you can upgrade to a premium member later on for $29 a year.

outdoor-adventure-geocache-intents-offroad-gps

The Free GPS app on Iphone. Perfect for the job, and free!

The Tools:

– A pen. In case the one to sign the log in the cache is broken

– A handheld GPS or a smartphone

– A GPS app if you are using a smartphone ( I find Free GPS for Iphone pictured left to be very good)

– The Geocaching.com app for Iphone, Android and WindowsNot entirely necessary but can be handy.

Finding Your First Cache:

You can use just the smartphone app to find a cache, navigate to it and log your find. However the free “Intro” version of the app is quite limited, and only lets you see 3 nearby caches at a time. To upgrade costs $12, so if you want to decide whether you enjoy geocaching before laying down money, you can do it my way as shown below.

Head to Geocaching.com and head to the panel on the side titled “how to go Geocaching”. Here you can either enter a postcode, suburb, city, GPS coordinates or just click the “Find My Location” link to be shown any geocaches nearby. You will be greeted by a list as shown below.

understanding-geocaching

You can see how far away from you the cache is on the far left of the image there. Avoid any cache that has been marked as “need maintenance” as that probably means it has gone missing. And avoid any which are a “premium member” cache; they are for premium members only.

finding-your-first-geocache

I always make sure to click the “10 logs” link, it shows you what other people have said about the cache and whether they found it easily. Also, take note of any hints on the page; not all caches have them but they are handy! Once you are ready to go Geocaching, input the coordinates into your GPS or Free GPS app and follow the arrow!

bush-geocaching-exploring-intents-offroad

Your GPS is accurate to about 3 metres at best, so don’t expect to be standing on top of the cache when you arrive, you’ll have to do some good old fashioned eyeball searching.

geocache-western-australia-hiking-walkingWhen you find the cache, opening it up will probably reveal a log book for you to sign and a handful of small toys and trinkets. The rule is that you may take something from the cache if you leave something of equal value, so you might like to carry some bits and pieces with you.

Once you’ve signed the log book, hide the cache back the way you found it and then log your experience on the geocaching.com website. I am registered as Intents Offroad (makes sense right?) and I sign the logbook with that name as well; so you will know whether I’ve been there or not! You can log your find on the website back home, but I’m generally too excited and I use the app out on the trail!

geocaching-australia-app-iphoneIf you decide to give geocaching a shot, let us know how you went in the comments. If you REALLY want to get into the hobby, check out Jennys post on hobbyhelp.com The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Geocaching

Alex

Alex Garner

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Jeff Stoehler
    January 08, 10:30 Reply
    I love geocaching and try to incorporate it into my paddling and dirt biking adventures.
    • Alex Garner
      January 08, 12:04 Reply
      Good idea Jeff! I think I may start doing the same in the near future, kind of use geocaches as a guide to follow :)
  2. Anne
    October 11, 06:58 Reply
    I just signed up for this a few days ago as I thought it would be a fun thing to do with the kids. Will let you know how we get on!

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