I’ve been knowing about Geocaching for quite a while now. However, as for Postcrossing or Couchsurfing, it took me quite some time to sign in. Sometimes, you need a trigger. My friend Anaïs was the trigger this time when she told me about her Geocaching adventures with a group of Germans in Tauranga.
It came back into my mind while I was wandering around Opua after work, in this little town where there’s not much to do.
Geocaching is like a huge treasure hunt, on an international scale. Yep, that’s right, you can actually find little treasures everywhere in the world. When I say treasures, I’m obviously not talking about tonnes of gold, opals, Aladdin’s lamp or I-Phone 6 –no, no, no. The Geocaching’s treasures are more or less like the little surprises you can find into Kinder Eggs or the things you were secretly keeping into your child’s treasure box, the one in which you used to put tonnes of stickers, boondoggles, or finger puppets.
All you need is downloading the Geocaching app on your smartphone and it will show you a map with all the “caches” –the treasure boxes- around you. Very often, there are hints about where the cache is exactly hidden, some of them quite precise, while some others look like obscure riddles. Anyway, that’s the game, and that’s what’s makes it so damn addicting.
The caches are always hidden in places worth seeing like parks, cemeteries, beaches, natural reserves, picnic areas, walkways, urban statues, libraries, museums and even unusual Mac Donald’s (like the one in Taupo!) There are different levels of difficulty, depending on the efforts you have to provide to get to the place. Because, some caches are hidden on islands only accessible by boat, some are hidden up in the trees, and some are even hidden in… Space Stations (I swear it’s true.)
There are different types of caches as well, depending on the size: micro, small, regular, big. The containers can vary between the Kinder egg, tin boxes or Tupperware kinds. The micro ones are usually very hard to spot because they’re smaller and thinner than a finger. And about the treasures… well, it could be anything. A toy, some coins, some pin’s, a hairpin, condoms, shells, a bracelet… and there’s always a logbook in which you should log your venue (what you also do on the Geocaching website or app.) Sometimes you can find “trackable’s” treasures, objects that come up with a code and travel from cache to cache around the world –isn’t it the coolest thing ever? This is how I found Der Pirat in Rotorua and I now intend to bring it with me all around New Zealand, and finally drop it somewhere on South Island.
GEOCACHERS HAVE THEIR OWN LANGUAGE
As you may soon find out, Geocaching is a wonderful world with its very own language. Let me introduce you to some of the words you might encounter while Geocaching:
Cache – stands for Geocache, meaning the treasure box.
Travel Bug or Trackable – It’s a treasure with a trackable tag attached to it. It often has a mission (like ‘take me to Africa’) and you can follow its progress around the globe online!
Log – The fact of registering your discovery, on the log book, or online using the App.
Logbook– The little piece of sheet, or actual notebook where you log in: you write down your pseudo and the date.
Muggle – Comes from Harry Potter. Meaning ‘humans who don’t know about Geocaching’. Yep, Geocaching is a little bit like a secret society!
TFTC – Thanks For The Cache. This is what most people write when they log a cache online.
You can find all the Glossary here: https://www.geocaching.com/about/glossary.aspx
WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU ON A GEOCACHING HUNT?
- Your phone/a GPS: In order to find the cache, you’ll need the Geocaching app or a GPS with the coordinates.
- A pen: It will allow you to log in in the logbook of the caches you’ll find because they don’t necessarily contain a pen.
- A flashlight: Even if it’s not dark outside, some caches can be pretty well hidden.
- Some treasures: There’s one rule in Geocaching, if you’re taking a treasure out of a cache, you need to put one back. And even though you don’t take anything, your treasure will probably make the next Geocacher happy.
- Friends!: It’s obvious that Geocaching is way funnier if you bring some friends with you!
BEWARE, THIS MIGHT HAPPEN TO YOU WHILE GEOCACHING:
While in Napier, after a fun night dancing with friends, we went for a little Geocaching adventure in the city. There were supposed to be a cache located in this little park, in which there’s like three lamp posts, two trees, and a display of a cannon gun. Here was Anaïs, crawling under the cannon gun, while I was probably crouching in the grass with my torch, and I can’t remember if Tom was looking at the tree or just making fun of us. Anyway, it was 1 or 2 in the morning, we were laughing, and being stupid and we most probably looked very suspicious because the police car came around a few times before stopping and asking us what the hell we were doing… It probably made us laugh some more, especially when we tried to explain to them the very concept of Geocaching.
Sometimes in New Zealand, you find yourself helping in a nursery, in more or less the middle of nowhere. What on earth could you do on a Sunday afternoon? When I explained to my fellow helpers how Geocaching works, everybody got very excited. Great, there was a cache in our area that didn’t look that far. We decided to try to find a shortcut through fields and farms to get there because by the road it’d have taken us at least one hour to walk there. We didn’t quite expect this treasure hunt to lead us climbing hills, fences, or crossing rivers barefoot. That was quite an adventure, which ended up with finding a few caches, and going back to the nursery hitchhiking –which was actually my very first hitch hiking experience!
Geocaching is definitely your new best friend while travelling.
It is a perfect way to discover a new place or a city, to stroll to some random walkway. Geocaching makes it even easier to meet nice people in a backpacker’s hostel or while volunteering because everybody gets curious and excited about a good old treasure hunting experience!
Clearly, it will definitely change your way of thinking about lazy Sunday afternoons.
As I had really funny experiences Geocaching in New-Zealand, it became my favourite way of discovering new cities. Now in Taiwan, almost two years after my first Geocaching hunt, I can say that I still can’t get enough of it!
BECOME A FELLOW GEOCACHER:
GOOD HUNT AND SEE YOU AROUND THE CORNER 😉