Geocaching

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Geocaching for grey nomads
Yesssss! Seek and you shall find.

While he was working full-time at an alumina refinery and also looking after his elderly mother, it didn’t always look as though Mike Fitzgerald’s long-held dream of hitting the open road would come true.

However, when his mother moved into a nursing home and he retired from his job, Mike decided it was the perfect time to finally explore the wonders of this amazing country

He bought a Ford Ranger and a second-hand Coromal caravan and he was on his way. While, like most grey nomads, Mike loves the scenery he sees, the history he discovers, and the people he meets, he also has a hobby which brings an exciting new dimension to his Big Lap experience.

Mike is a confirmed  ‘geocacher’. For the uninitiated, geocaching involves using a GPS-enabled device to navigate to a specific set of coordinates and discover the geocache hidden at that location. The caches can be found in all sorts of weird and wonderful locations and can vary in size and appearance. They might be in a small tin or plastic container, or hidden inside a tree hollow or beneath a piece of bark.

Often there are some small items that the finder may take, and he or she will then leave something of equal or greater value for the next person to find. Each geocache contains a ‘find log book’, and the geocacher will also post details online.

“Caches lead me to lots of places that are good to see,” said Mike. “Camping places, lookouts, parks and a host of locations that I would not normally would not know or even hear about.”

Some caches contain trackables which may be a coin or badge that has its own personal serial number which can be registered.

“You put your coin in a cache hoping another cacher will move it to a cache in another location,” said Mike. “I had a badge that travelled from Eaton in Western Australia to Sweden and, as it travelled. I followed its journey.”

Geocaching can be an addictive hobby and Mike currently has 930 caches found … and counting. It’s the challenge of the find and the excitement of discovering what lies within which brings the biggest thrill. Some caches can be nearly impossible to get to.

“One that took me months to find was a plastic snail that had a metal capsule glued into its  shell and which was drilled into a wooden staircase so all that was exposed was a snail shell,” said Mike. “There was a clue which read ‘home alone’ … clever.”

And would Mike recommend geocaching to other long-term caravanners and motorhomers?

“Of course,” he enthused.  “It’s great fun and encourages you to get out and see the world, and often the cache is placed where there is history involved.”

  • Do you have a hobby that helps enrich your Big Lap adventure? Email us here to share

 

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