One of the hobbies we enjoy while traveling is geocaching, the high-tech treasure hunt using a handheld GPS. It leads us to spots we may never find otherwise, and adds a sense of adventure to any walk or hike. Caching gets us off the beaten path, and provides a free, built-in tour of the area. This is particularly helpful when exploring a new place. In our travels internationally, we’ve especially appreciated caches that teach us about the history, geology or wildlife of the area. The caches below are some of our favorite finds from our travels. We hope they inspire you to get out and explore!
Old English Fort 1899 (near Montague, South Africa) – GCGJTD
Near Cogman’s Kloof pass in the Western Cape of South Africa there is an old fort built on top of a rock arch. The pass, which connects the town of Montagu and the town of Ashton, was built by Thomas Baines from 1875-1877. In 1899, the English built the fort to control the pass during the Anglo-Boer War. We were headed to Montagu by car, and this cache was a good way to break up the drive. It’s a nice, gentle hike to the top of the fort ruins, with pretty views of the surrounding mountains, farmland and countryside below.
Frazer Park (Auckland, New Zealand) – GC13NZE
Located about a 20 minute walk outside downtown Auckland, this cache is located at the top of Parnell Rise in Fraser Park. The location was the site of the old Parnell School, which opened in 1880. Being in a park, the terrain is easy, and it’s a nice area for a walk. Nearby, there is a plaque under the only Kauri tree in the park, telling more about the history of the site. Views back toward Auckland are very photogenic! We had some trouble at first locating this one, and reluctantly reached into a dark hole in a tree to find it. Having been in Australia recently all we could think of was potentially nasty critters in that hole.
Gili Air’s First Cache! (Indonesia) – GC2H4R7
Gili Air is truly a slice of paradise. It’s one of the Gilies, three small islands located a fast-boat ride from Bali. There are no cars, no paved roads, and you can walk almost around the entire island in a couple of hours. This cache is located at a beach-side bar. These types of caches are especially fun, because while you’re trying to be subtle and stealthy while searching for the cache, someone at the establishment knows exactly what you’re doing. This was the case for us. After checking a sign or two outside, we decided to sit down at the bar and have a cold beverage while continuing to brainstorm. Turns out, grabbing a beer with the friendly bartender was the right approach. He asked us, “Are you looking for something?” and when we asked him if he’d heard of geocaching, he immediately pointed us in the right direction! (We barely had to stand up.)
Treasure Hill (Guilin, Yangshou, China) – GC26G04
While in scenic Yangshou, on the karst-peaked Li River, we stayed at the cozy Outside-Inn . The hotel is located several miles out of town, far enough to feel worlds away from the bustling, touristy downtown area. The hotel was created from traditional farmhouse buildings that were renovated to welcome guests. One of our favorite activities during our stay was just plain walking. We walked along the roads, along any path we found, through rice fields, gardens and down to a nearby river. Just outside the Outside-Inn, you can head up a smaller version of one of the towering karst peaks. The view over Chao Long Village was beautiful, and along the way we were able to hunt for this cache.
Wat Noranatsunthrigaram (Bangkok, Thailand) – GC2M7PJ
Say that two times fast! If you find yourself walking to jump on the famed Bangkok water-taxi to head down the Chao Phraya River to the “Old City,” make sure to keep your geo-senses honed, you may just find a magnetic nano on the back of a city street sign! Luckily, Bangkok streets are busy enough that people aren’t likely to notice you unless you are really bumbling around. This cache was exciting because it’s in such a public place.