Are you planning a trip to Australia? Perhaps you’ve just started geocaching and you’re looking for some more specific tips. Either way, welcome!
Geocaching is a wonderful way to explore Australia - often sending you to places you wouldn’t have otherwise found. But, our land is rugged, and sometimes unforgiving. Here's a small collection of tips that should keep you out of trouble.
Our infamous wildlife
We take pride in having some of the most dangerous creatures on the planet. We have everything; from snakes, spiders and jellyfish, to crocodiles and sharks. Not to mention the giant birds, like our moody emus and territorial cassowaries. Even our fuzzy mascots pose a threat to anybody who feels like hugging them.
In the wild, your encounters can be unpredictable. Be sure to treat all our plants and animals with respect.
Check any holes or crevices before you put your hand in there
While this may seem obvious in some countries, other places may not require the same diligence. Here, it is vital. Use a stick to inspect the spot from a distance, keeping your face and hands from any hidden surprises.
If you are heading north, there will be crocodiles. A terrain 5 may be enticing, but please, don’t get too close to the water.
Wild kangaroos are NOT as friendly as their captive brothers and sisters
This can be said for most of our wildlife, including the emus. You may have fed these cuties at a local tourist park, but feeding them in the wild is not advised. While attacks are rare, be sure to keep a safe distance.
Watch where you’re walking
This one isn’t just for your safety, but also for the longevity of our beautiful plants and tiny creatures. And while most snakes and other wildlife will move on before your thumping feet can find them, there are exceptions. When treading through bushland looking for that ammo can, keep your eyes off that phone or GPS screen.
Taking care of yourself
Make sure somebody knows where you're headed
While most places have an obvious trail, we all know geocachers are unlikely to stick to it. Make sure you tell somebody where you’re going, because it’s not uncommon to see news reports of missing adventurers.
Fine, you want to come away from your Australian adventure with a tan, but the Australian sun is determined. Don’t be a hero, wear sunscreen.
Know how to treat bites and stings
We have our fair share of things that can hurt you, and a few of those are venomous. We highly recommend learning some basic first aid, just in case.
Consider bug repellent
Mosquitos and midges are vicious little things, and the blotchy, itchy sores they leave are never fun. In some places, even the flies can be rage inducing. If you’re straying away from the city, bug repellent may become your best friend.
Make sure any geocaching adventure includes adequate water. It doesn’t matter if you’re just going for a short walk - geocachers can get distracted, and dehydration can set in quickly, especially in the summertime. Bringing water is never a bad idea.
We also have an article about Geocaching Safely, which can provide a broader look at keeping yourself safe. If you haven’t already, be sure to check it out.
Our natural disasters are as varied as our landscape. Bushfires and floods are the most common risk for geocachers. If you are visiting an area that is experiencing something of this nature, check the recommendations of the local authorities, and rethink your plans if it puts you in any danger. Our emergency services don’t need another job during these times, and the final waypoint for that mystery cache is never worth your life.
Especially in the summer, our storms can be fast moving and violent. Check the weather before you leave, and if there is a storm approaching, get to a safe area, away from low lying flash flood risks.
Australia is a relatively safe country to travel in. Like anywhere in the world, there are exceptions, but for the most part, you’ll find us friendly and happy to help.
Ask the locals for cache recommendations
You can find local geocaching groups on sites such as Facebook, and they can point you to some of the local favourites. (And, if you’re in Brisbane, you can always email us for our personal favourites!)
Whilst Australia is fairly safe, common sense and safety precautions should be used, in both the city and the country. Be aware of your surroundings. Maintaining basic situational awareness should be common practice anywhere you are, so we won’t go into any more detail with that one.
Take advantage of being a visitor
If you’re a foreigner, you have the added bonus of pulling the tourist card. Take out that camera, and use it as a prop for your stealth mission as you search for that geocache. Don’t worry, most of us will just laugh at you from a distance. The worse case scenario, we offer to take the photo for you, seeing as you look like you’re having so much trouble.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
For the most part, we are a friendly group of people. If you’re lost, or need a little help, don’t be afraid to ask!
Australians are curious creatures - stealth is important
We are encouraged to report suspicious behaviour, however you’ll find that curiosity tends to get the better of us. If somebody sees you hovering over a space for too long, looking at something interesting, you can bet they’ll check it out the moment you leave.
If your stealth is as bad as ours, and that cache is in a spot that puts you in a suspicious looking position - leave it until you can grab it alone.
Failed stealth? Don't panic
If you’ve totally destroyed your stealth mission and a stranger (or the police) have approached you, don’t panic. Stay calm, and simply explain what you were really doing. We're nice, remember?
Bring along some Aussie cuisine
For an authentic Aussie experience, bring along some Tim Tams and Vegemite on crackers for that quick break between finds. Chances are, you’ll hate the Vegemite, but at least that awesome find will help you forget the flavour.
Don't forget to bring a camera
There is so much to see, and I guarantee you'll have stories you don't want to forget. Take plenty of photos, you'll regret it if you don't!
Look beyond the easy finds
Our country is a vast and beautiful place, and we encourage you to explore it with adventurous spirit. Some of the coolest caches we've found have been off the beaten track. If your fitness and experience permits, challenge yourself to explore!
Keep our geocaches healthy
The most common caches you’ll find will be mint tins, and clip lock containers. With our mixture of heat and heavy rain, these can break down fairly quickly. Consider bringing a small maintenance kit along, to keep those soggy logbooks at bay.
Park and grabs
Remote park and grabs are fairly common; however, while the roads may seem clear, the cars along these stretches can travel fairly fast. Make sure you’re completely off the road, and in a position that is clear. Don’t be surprised if someone pulls over to ask if you’re ok, just be sure to have an excuse ready (we like to say we’re just taking photos).
These creatures are cunningly intelligent. They seek out the blood of tourists to keep them going through another unforgiving summer. If you are geocaching in drop bear habitat, consider bringing along the Vegemite branded repellant, as an offering to these canopy dwelling predators. Whether these creatures actually exist is still under debate.
If, while in Australia, you get into a position where you require emergency help -
do not hesitate to call 000.
Australia is a diverse and beautiful country, and we hope you enjoy exploring it through geocaching!
UPDATE: When we first published this blog post, we ran a giveaway alongside it.
When we drew the winner, we also made a new friend. Joost is a geocaching explorer from Belgium, who creates epic videos. You can check out his awesome unboxing video below. If you aren’t already following Joost, be sure to check out his Instagram for more great geocaching content!