Haven Magazine - - SCHOOL HOLS - Words: Belinda Glin­de­mann

Know what the terms ‘geo­cache’, ‘mug­gle’ or ‘track­able’ mean? If not, let us let you in on a cool lit­tle se­cret that’ll turn your school holiday down­time on its head…

There’s a very ad­dic­tive pas­time that’s tak­ing over my chil­dren (and maybe even the ‘big’ kids in our house­hold): Geo­caching. As read­ers of this story, you’ll prob­a­bly fall into one of two groups: You’ll be shak­ing your head in dis­be­lief that my fam­ily hadn’t dis­cov­ered the ad­dic­tion of geo­caching be­fore now (be­cause ap­par­ently it's been a ‘thing’ since 2000). Or you will be look­ing at this page quizzi­cally won­der­ing what-the-geo I’m talk­ing about. In geo­caching, par­tic­i­pants com­monly use a Gps-en­abled smart­phone to hide and seek con­tain­ers called ‘geo­caches’ or ‘caches’ at spe­cific lo­ca­tions, marked by co­or­di­nates, all over the world. You sim­ply down­load the app to your phone, cre­ate a pro­file and you’re away. A typ­i­cal cache is a small wa­ter­proof con­tainer hold­ing a log­book, among other things. A finder of a cache signs the log and dates it, in or­der to prove they found it. Af­ter sign­ing the log, the cache must be placed back ex­actly where the per­son found it. The beauty of larger caches is that you can also trade small items – you take a trin­ket from the cache and re­place it with one you brought with you. That’s the cherry on top for my kids. They have scored some fun and odd lit­tle trea­sures in their geo­caching trav­els and have quite the col­lec­tion grow­ing. The only thing you have to be­ware of are “mug­gles”. This is a term for non-play­ers who might see you un­cover a hid­den cache and, un­know­ingly, tam­per with it. It’s part of the fun – play­ing the game in stealth! For our fam­ily, geo­caching has be­come a pop­u­lar school holiday ac­tiv­ity. We’ve spent full days on the road chas­ing caches. Geo­caching has had us out bush­walk­ing new ter­ri­tory and dis­cov­er­ing lo­cal parks that we didn’t even know ex­isted. It gets you out in the great out­doors in search of ad­ven­ture - we love noth­ing more than geo­caching new ground while on hol­i­days in dif­fer­ent ar­eas. And, trust us, once you are in the geo­caching fold, you will never look at a hol­low log the same way again!


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