So there’s this thing called Geocaching, which is apparently somewhat of a new underground movement. Everyone in the know doesn’t talk about it that much, so it’s a bit like fight club. Another thing about it is that everyone not in the know are called ‘Muggles’, so there’s some Harry Potter thrown in there too.
I caught up with Dianne King, one of the Geocachers from Melbourne, to talk about about how they discovered Geocaching and whether they could explain it to the rest of us muggles.
What is Geocaching?
Dianne: It’s like a world wide treasure hunt, or orienteering. You are given GPS coordinates on a website, and sometimes a short history of where you are going, or a clue, and then you have to go and find the ‘cache’. A cache can be as small as a marble or a big 4 litre tupperware container. Usually, inside the cache is a piece of paper, otherwise known as a log book, where you can write your name and the date you found it. You can then log your find on the internet. In the bigger caches, people leave trinkets or calling cards, usually of little to no value, and you can swap items. After you’ve found a few, you might choose to start hiding them too!
How did you discover Geocaching?
D: My husband Jared was taken geocaching by his brother when he visited him in Canberra. He was keen to continue hunting when he came home to Melbourne. I was interested but a little sceptical about how fun it would be. Then, we had a friend visiting from Germany and she also enjoyed geocaching. We were showing her around Melbourne on a sunny day and had run out of things to do, so we decided to go and find a cache! I’ve been hooked ever since.
How long have you been geocaching for?
D: Just a couple of months, but I hope to do it for much longer, and am looking forward to putting out my own caches for others to find!
What is the most interesting cache that you have found?
D: I took some friends to find a cache down one of the laneways in Melbourne. Despite living and working in Melbourne, I’d never been down this laneway before, so it was a great new experience. When we found the cache, there was a ‘trackable’ inside – a little toy with a barcode attached. I looked up the barcode online, and it said that he is a ‘University of Kentucky Wildcat’ and that he wants to travel the world. So I am now taking him to Cambodia, where I will drop him off in another cache, and hopefully get some photos of him on his travels along the way! So far I’ve got a photo of him at an AFL match, and having a drink on the Mekong which I’ll add to the online log.
Are there any dangers involved in Geocaching? What is the dodgiest encounter you’ve ever had?
D: Not really. I’ve only just started, so I haven’t run into too much trouble, but security officers or the general public may get a bit suspicious if you’re snooping around and leaving boxes out, thats why you need to be as inconspicous as possible when on the hunt! I’ve read that some caches have been destroyed by bomb squads as they suspected the caches were bombs!
Is there a secret Geocaching lingo that people in the know use?
D: My favourite is ‘Muggles’ which refers to the general public who do not know about geocaching. You don’t want a muggle to see you finding a cache, as they may not undestand the game, and therefore move the cache from its chosen location, or take things from it. There are plenty of acronyms as well, like TFTH – ‘Thanks for the Hunt’ which you might write in the log book or online.
What keeps you interested?
D: The best thing about Geocaching is that it takes you to new places. Aside from that, the creator of a cache almost always writes a short story or history about the location of the cache and why they chose that spot on the online log, so you’re always learning new things. Oh and of course there is the thrill of the hunt, and adding more caches to your tally!
Would you recommend it to everyone?
D: Definitely! It’s such a great way to get outdoors, whether its for a walk around the corner from home, or up Mt Feathertop in the snowy mountains… there are caches everywhere!
– Mavis Dai
To find out more about Geocaching, click HERE.
Alternatively, you could google Geocaching and you’ll definitely find it. Signing up is the easy part, the hard part is working out where the caches are and not being spotted. Good luck!
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