Another good option for walkers in Canberra.
What is Orienteering?
The aim in orienteering is to navigate your way around a course with a series of checkpoints called controls. The course is marked on a map provided by the organisers. The controls are placed on definite features such as track and creek junctions, a fence bend or by a distinctive boulder. The site is marked with an orange and white flag which has a punch attached. You use this to mark a control card you carry to show you have been there. The skill in orienteering is in choosing the best route between controls — while beginners’ courses may not offer choice, as you progress you will learn to decide between options — perhaps over a hill or a longer route which goes round it. The accurate “tortoise” is usually quicker than the “hare” who darts off and makes mistakes in navigation.
Orienteering is a Sport for All
Orienteering events provide a range of courses to cater for all participants. The courses are graded by age, by length and the amount of navigation required.
Typically there are shorter courses for beginners and for younger people; these follow “handrail features” (tracks, creeks, fences) through to ones designed to appeal to the fit and navigationally experienced, using more contour features.
Orienteering provides a special environment, in that the same event caters for all ages, for social and recreational participants as well as the more competitive, for families who can all go to the same event. If you want you can do the course in pairs or in a small group. A special attraction is that every course is different.
What do you need to start Orienteering?
To start you can wear jeans or tracksuit pants with a T-shirt and pair of runners (remember to bring a change of clothes as well as a bottle of drink and a snack). Your entry fee includes the cost of the special orienteering map, and you do not have to be a member of a club or the ACT Association to participate. For easier courses in well-defined terrain you probably do not need a compass. Ask the organisers on the day; if necessary you can hire one and be shown how to use it. See Welcome to Orienteering (151KB PDF) for more information.