Hey, if you're in Sydney and are looking for some fun urban adventure then why not check out the Sydney Geocaching group on meetup. We explore a different suburb of Sydney about once a month and it's a great way to meet new people.
What is Geocaching?
It's an international adventure sport where people (geocachers) look for a cache (box, tub, container, object) that was previously hidden by a fellow geocacher. All you have in most instances are the gps coordinates of the cache. To find a cache you will need a GPS enabled device, which is pretty common with modern smart phones. iPhones, Samsung phones and HTC phones have proven to be excellent caching tools to find even the trickiest caches.
There are a myriad of geocaching apps on the market that will make finding that hidden box an absolute breeze.
Many caches are hidden in interesting locations, either with an interesting view or some curious history attached to the spot.
How do I find out about cache locations?
the most popular website by far is www.geocaching.com. You can search by location, difficulty and type of cache.
But many coordinates are in populated areas? are these tubs lying around for anybody to see?
Not at all! the best caches are the ones that have been hidden with most ingenuity. Some have wicked camouflage or are in unusual spots, some might look like they belong there while others are virtually invisible.
Once I have found a cache, then what?
You share! always have a pen handy as in all cases there will be a log book you can sign. then go online and share your find on geocaching.com and let your friends know about your success.
What is Ground Zero?
That's when you're within 5m of the cache. Many gps devices will only have an accuracy of about 5-10m. So don't expect to see a big X somewhere on the ground to mark the spot. You'll have to go hunting now that you're so close.
What about Muggles?
Muggles is the term we use to refer to the normal public who are unaware of geocaching and that a cache could be in the near vicinity. As they are not part of the caching community yet, they might no understand the rules or think that the container is rubbish and take it or throw it away. It is always important to use stealth and be as inconspicuous as possible when searching and retrieving a cache from its hiding place. Or chance are a muggle might see you put it back, take it and spoil the fun for the next cachers coming by.
Is there real treasure to be found?
Funny you should ask! sometimes there is! we call them travelbugs. they are trinkets, key rings or coins which have a tracking code attached or engraved. the idea is that you take a travelbug (TB) when you find it and drop it in another cache for another group to find it. Each time you take and drop a TB you log it online so the owner of the TB, who originally set it loose, can watch its progress and see the TB travel around the world.
Do I need specialist equipment to go geocaching?
Not at all! most of the caches can be found with using a modern smartphone that has GPS and can install apps from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. You can also get GPS devices from Garrmin and other providers, but to be honest we've found the smartphones to work better in urban areas than GPS only devices.
What about level 5 caches?
All geocaches are rated on two scales. Difficulty of finding it and difficulty of terrain. If a cache is marked at Level 5 terrain, the highest ranking it can get, then yes, you'll need specialist equipment. Maybe you need to dive to the bottom of a lake to get it, or climb up a steep 100m cliff-face or abseil down into a cave. Those are the more adventurous caches and require proper planning, skills and preparation.