Tips for Beginners in Orienteering


Willow Creek Adventure Camp has 2 main orienteering areas:

The Camp course
This is for Primary School Students. It is a series of short courses to help students learn how to orienteer.

The Bus Course
We have 4 courses in the bush area, these range from medium to hard, and are for high school students.

What Is Orienteering? If you like fun treasure hunts and cross country running, then you will love orienteering. In orienteering, participants make their way through the bush and visit checkpoints called ‘controls’ in a race-style format. Participants use a map and compass to navigate around a course to each of the controls.

Just like joining a friendly treasure hunt or foot race, there is not much equipment or attire needed to have fun whilst orienteering.

In fact, the following can get you started:

  1. Reliable footwear that can endure muddy trails or rocks: Well-worn boots will help avoid blisters. Sneakers will help if you are racing.
  2. Appropriate clothing: you would need breathable fabric that doesn’t retain moisture. Clothes need to withstand mud, brush, and abrasion.
  3. A compass: one of the most essential items. Maps are provided by the event organisers.
  4. A whistle is highly recommended to locate you in the case of an emergency.


Tips for being successful whilst orienteering:

  1. Orientate your map and work out ‘True North” using your compass before you embark on finding your first control.
  2. Study all the features drawn on your map using the map legend or key. This is essential in working out the fastest route and what obstacles such as buildings or fences may be in your way.
  3. Practice many times using a compass together with the map. It is important you are confident you are using the compass correctly to find the direction of each control. Ask for help before you start if you are unsure.
  4. Remember to continuously check the map is orientated correctly during the activity.
  5. Stopping, pausing, and walking can actually save you time. Many mistakes are made if you are rushing and don’t take the time to correctly study the map, use your compass correctly and look around you for obstacles. Orienteering is all about making accurate and smart route choices.
  6. Always double-check you are at the correct control. If you have made a mistake you will need to recalculate your route back to the correct control. This is another reason to take your time when working out the route with your compass so you can get it correct the first time.

Remember to have fun, and enjoy your time out in nature. Click here to know more about other activities at the Willow Creek Adventure Camp.