It's the school holidays and we are visiting my home turf in the Southern Highlands of NSW, so today I thought I'd take the kids geocaching. 'What a great idea' I hear you say, until I tell you that my kids are NOT outdoorsy kids. At all.
I myself only discovered the awesomeness that is outdoors adventure a few short years ago, so it's not really a surprise that they are only just warming to the idea.
In theory they are keen, in practice there was an awful lot of complaining, so much in fact that at one stage I contemplated ducking off the track and disappearing into the wilderness never to be seen again.
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world.
A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook (with a pen or pencil). The geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boxes can also contain items for trading, such as toys or trinkets, usually of more sentimental worth than financial. Geocaching shares many aspects with benchmarking, trigpointing, orienteering, treasure-hunting, letterboxing, and waymarking.
App we used: There are lots of websites and Apps out there, but we used geocaching.com mobile app. We paid for the 3 month subscription for around $15 which opened up a whole bunch of options & locations to discover.
Pros: pretty easy app to use with messaging functions, you can leave notes and pictures. Looking forward to checking it out some more. The actual geocaching was great fun. Got to stomp through the bush, learn about the local area and discover some areas I didn't even know where in my home town.
Cons: as complete newbies it is clear that we need a navigation lesson, especially for the multi caches which require you to have some knowledge on how to 'speak the language' of navigation, a skill I clearly haven't mastered. This didn't stop us from exploring though.
In summary: We survived, we found three caches and explored some of my childhood haunts. Will we be heading out for more? Probably. I'm a sucker for punishment and I'm sure they'll warm to the idea eventually. Besides who doesn't like a good treasure hunt?
All in all it was a great little micro adventure with the kids. All it cost me was a couple of milkshakes at the end of the adventure. I will certainly be out there again, and am looking forward to discovering more of our local area via this great fun activity.