Run or walk, compete against yourself or others, or just for a family day out. The bush series caters for all in the great outdoors. (April-Nov)
Run, walk or push a pram to a 45 minute time limit. How many points can you get? (Oct-Mar)
Preparation for the Bush. Try out bush style orienteering in local parks before stepping out into the bush. Also includes a night event for the adventurous. (Mar-April)
Grab your mountain bike and ride around bush tracks in either a street style event, bush style event or a combination of the two. (Oct-Mar)


What does Orienteering involve?

Orienteering is a competitive or non-competitive recreational activity in which participants use a detailed map (and usually a compass) to navigate between checkpoints (known as “controls”) along an unfamiliar course. On the route, orange and white markers are set in the places that correspond to the control points on the map. Once the competitor has selected the best route to a control and found it they register their visit on a small electronic timing device (a “Sportident” or “SI stick”). The winner of the competition is the participant who has used the shortest time to visit all the controls in numerical order. Fast running alone does not make you a winner. You must also choose the best route between controls and find the markers without wasting unnecessary time. If you like a challenge, fresh air, and exploring the countryside: Orienteering is the sport for you!

Control example   SI_Punching_example.jpg                            

Where are events held?

The club has maps of bush, parkland and urban areas within the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Cessnock, Port Stephens and Singleton local government areas.

             Map course example

When are events held?

Winter Bush events are generally held on Sunday mornings scheduled roughly fortnightly between late March and early October. In summer daylight savings the club also holds Wednesday afternoon events with a weekly "Summer Street Series" followed by urban parkland events (“UFO Series”) in March/April. The club also runs some Mountain Bike Orienteering events (BOSS: Bike Orienteering Summer Series).

You can try orienteering anytime for free by visiting one of our local Permanent Courses at Blue Gum Hills Regional Park Minmi and at Brickworks Park Wallsend after printing your own map.

What time do they start?

Due to the nature of the sport, starts are staggered. At winter Sunday bush events participants can generally start anytime between 9:30am and 11:30am. Summer Wednesday events have a 5:00pm to 6:30pm start window for Street-O and a 4:45pm to 6:15pm window for Urban events. For your first event you should aim to arrive earlier rather than later as you will need some instruction before commencing!

How difficult is it?

Bush orienteering courses are structured into four navigational difficulty levels. Participants select which level they wish to do depending on their experience and navigational ability.

  • Very Easy: Very easy navigation for juniors or beginners. All controls are on tracks or along fences or other linear features and are readily visible.
  • Easy: Easy navigation, controls placed near tracks, fences or some readily identifiable feature.
  • Moderate: Moderate navigation requiring better map-reading skills. Controls mostly located away from tracks requiring some cross-country navigation. Route choice options will require some decision-making.
  • Hard: Difficult navigation needing good map reading skills. Controls require cross-country navigation and may not be visible from line of approach. Wider choice of routes means greater decision-making.

Street and Urban events are at an easy navigational level and suitable for most beginners.

Who orienteers?

Our club is a mixture of all age groups and we have many family memberships. Orienteering is great family sport as everyone can participate at the one venue (we even have babies taken around in backpacks). Realistically though, juniors need to be about 8 years old to undertake a course by themselves, but there is no upper limit and we have had people over 80 years old competing. (Note - for safety at Street events children under 14 need to be accompanied by an adult ). 

How competitive is it?

You may wish to amble around a course and enjoy the scenery or compete seriouly by going as fast as you can. It's up to you. For keen, competitive orienteers there are opportunities to represent the club, state and nation at the championship level. 

Can we participate as a group?

We have many participants that do the course in small groups. They are generally newer members or small family groups. When you gain more experience you will probably prefer the challenge of completing the course by yourself.

How long are the courses?

Distances tend to increase the harder you go up the navigational scale and will vary depending on the terrain. Typical distances for bush orienteering events are:

  • Very Easy 1.5-2.5 km
  • Easy 2.0-3.0 km
  • Moderate Short 2.0-3.0 km
  • Moderate Long 3.5-4.5 km
  • Hard Short 3.0-4.0 km
  • Hard Medium 4.0-6.0 km
  • Hard Long 6.0-8.0 km

Urban series events have two courses of around 3km and 5km. Street events are "score" events with a 45 minute time limit to visit as many controls as you can. Mountain bike orienteering events have a 75 minute time limit. 

How long will it take me?

Typical times for most competitors at bush events are between 45 and 90 minutes but can vary greatly. An experience junior running a 1.5 km course could complete it in as little as 15 minutes while others walking around harder, longer courses can take over 2 hours. 

Do I need to be a member?

Non-members are welcome. We understand that orienteering may not suit everyone so we encourage you to try a couple of events before joining.

What are the fees?

Click here for current fees

What should I wear/bring?

Comfortable walking or jogging shoes with good grip are recommended. Running gear such as a tee shirt and shorts is OK for Very Easy or Easy courses. Loose trousers, tights or shorts and long socks are recommended for leg protection on Moderate or Hard courses that venture off the tracks. Consider a hat or cap and/or sunscreen. If you have a compass you may wish to bring it but do not buy one as the one you purchase may not be suitable. Bring your water bottle for hydrating before and after. In warmer weather you may want to carry water with you on your course.

Where do I buy a map?

Orienteering maps are very detailed and specifically made by and owned exclusively by the individual clubs. They are provided at events as part of your entry and cannot be obtained anywhere else.

Is coaching available?

The club holds occasional training sessions throughout the year to assist people improve their navigation. At regular club events it is strongly recommended that you ask the coach or other experienced club member for any advice both before and especially after you undertake your course. Most people are very willing to assist those wishing to improve their navigational skills.

What isn't permitted?

Dogs, fires and smoking are all banned from all parking, assembly and competition areas.

Are events cancelled due to bad weather?

Events would only be cancelled if there were extreme weather conditions or fire risks.

Is the sport dangerous? Am I insured?

There are inherent dangers for anyone travelling in a natural environment, but bad injuries are rare. Even elite orienteers travelling at fast speed through the bush would suffer vastly fewer injuries than those playing any contact style sport. While the club has public indemnity insurance, it does not cover you for personal injury.

>Risk Notice: Competing in an orienteering event is subject to risks. These include death, serious injury or illness due to:  rough terrain and obstacles; overexertion; heat, cold or other adverse weather conditions; plant and animal life; and accidents with vehicles, other competitors or pedestrians. There are also risks that access to medical, evacuation or search services might be slow; and of damage to, or loss of, your personal property.

What other orienteering events are there?

Once you gain a little bit of experience you may wish to travel to events further afield than the local area. On most weekends during the season there are events somewhere within NSW offering courses for all ages and abilities. A popular “NSW State League” competition has events roughly monthly and there are annual national and international events open to all competitors.