This was to be TeamWolfie’s biggest and most successful geocaching adventures to-date, taking in the luscious bush scenery of the Central Coasts’s Ourimbah State Forest and surrounding areas. We set out to hunt down at least 10 geocaches today, and we found all 10 out of the 10. But it wasn’t all about finding caches, it was about finding beautiful places and scenery in our own backyard.
Today was about tranquility, and the first cache of the day was appropriately named Way to Tranquility (GCT5ZJ) – a Micro cache placed by local cacher Shifter Brains. The cache is located near a freeway overpass, which with a little imagination acts as a gateway to tranquility as it separates the forest on one side, with the houses on the other. Not far from here is a beautiful rainforest reserve called the Forest of Tranquility, and hence the name of the cache.
Tranquility under a Freeway Overpass
GZ lead us Wolfie Guy to a fairly obvious place to hide a cache of this type, so it turned out to be a nice quick and easy find, and a very good start to our 10-cache day.
Continuing a few more kilometres along the scenic road we come to our next hunt which is another of Shifter Brains’s geocache hides. It doesn’t have a nice exotic name like the last one – this one being known as Tinitus II (GCT5ZH).
It was time here to get a little muddy and a little dirty. Although right by the road, parking was a bit tricky along this narrow roadway, and as the cache description rightly says – it’s best to park a bit before or after Ground Zero.
We had a couple of freaky, weird, mysterious type experiences on this day – and Tinitus II was to bring us our first strange experience. Again – Wolfie Guy was straight onto finding this medium-sized cache hidden under some leaves in a rotted moss-covered log. The box had leeches inching all over it, so we dug it out with a stick. Upon removing it in the silence of the forest a loud and distinct cat’s “MEOW” startled both of us. Looking around we searched for the mystery cat which sounded so close, but no matter how hard we looked about us no feline could be found. Very strange indeed.
Now this alone was strange enough, however, upon opening the cache Wolfie Ben was stunned to find the log bog had a picture of a cat on its cover. We still cannot find an explanation for the “MEOW”, so we called it a ghost cat.
Looking for the Mysterious Ghost Cat
After signing the log we swapped a “Baby Fireman” for a “Green Disco Ball”, and thus adding to our growing collection of coloured Disco Balls.
We continued our trek further up Ourimbah Creek Road to the last of the planned caches in this area, another of Shifter Brains’s medium-sized hides, this one known as Ourimbah Track Head (GCT5ZG). Forming part of The Great North Walk, the Ourimbah Track makes its way through some beautiful dense forest environments with an array of wildlife.
White blossoms from the tree branches above us floated gently down around us while . Trudging up the steep and muddy trail scattered with broken crumbling leaf litter as we leave the car and road behind us.
A red fox scurried across the path ahead – running close to the ground, it’s white-tipped tail swaying behind it as it melted into the forest. Wow. We had never seen a fox so close in the wild like this, and our presence didn’t seem to concern it too greatly. It had passed right across an intersection that indicated ground zero – the cache was nearby.
A fox similar to this was at the Cache site
We hastily opened the cache under the threat of another leech attack while also inspecting the minor animal track on which the fox had passed right by the cache, wondering if this was a regular route for the fox. A distant barking dog at a nearby house signaled an alarm – perhaps the dog had sensed the fox, or us. It was no time to delay. We signed the log and made a quick swap – leaving behind a bottle opener for a shower timer.
Wolfie and the Ourimbah Trackhead Cache
Suddenly an angry black dog leapt out of the bush, barking viciously at us. Perhaps it was following the scent of the fox, perhaps it’s target was us. TeamWolfie growled back at the angry dog and told it to go back home, at the same time it’s owner was heard in the distance calling it back too. It turned and left us in peace to replace the cache.
It was time to back-track and head a few kilometres north now, up into the Ourimbah State Forest, but not without another freeway underpass micro. Our next find’s name very accurately describes the cache – Tiny Shiny (GC19KH1), a micro by GeoMonkeys.
For the casual observer, a freeway underpass is a noisy, baron, lifeless place. But for the geocacher it can be a treasure trove of hiding opportunities where a micro can be stashed – in this case so many possible places, all the same. It took less than five minutes – we found the container, and unraveled the scroll hidden in the tiny shiny bejeweled tin stashed in the concrete crack. Broken glass all around the roadside – an environment in which only a geocaching enthusiast could find a moment of bliss.
Getting the scroll back into it’s small housing proved an achievement in itself. Already breaking up in three parts it was becoming delicate, and it must be wound tight to make it fit. We returned the cache to it’s spot, so discrete to the casual observer, yet now so blatantly obvious to those who know it’s there with the sun reflecting off it like a shiny beacon. Sadly we were so caught up in the moment that we forgot to take a photo.
Now it was time to press in and up into the bushland of the Ourimbah State Forest. Our all-wheel-drive vehicle proved indispensable as we climbed up the steep muddy inclines to the next location – a micro called Jump (GC16QAQ) by gkseal.
GZ lead us to a rocky outcrop with stunning views and cliff drops. There is evidence of the area being used by 4WD enthusiasts, rock climbers, and campers with some impressive nearby caves.
Wolfie Jumping Around
The thought of looking for a micro in the bush seemed a little daunting at first – but don’t let this aspect put you off this cache. This is a very clever cache, in a very clever location that is ideally suited for a micro of this type. After the important business of signing the log it seemed a shame not to do some exploring of the nearby natural features in this scenic location.
Standing on the rocky mountain top on the edge of a cliff, we stared down into the forest of pale trunked ghostly trees. Ferns on the forest floor swayed gently in the wind, waving back at us. Below the cliff to the right was a huge fallen tree cut down by loggers. Following a safe path further down to my right we found a secret cave half way up the cliff, unreachable without some abseiling gear. There are a couple of accessible nice caves in this location, spoilt only by the trash left behind by other visitors.
We continued our journey north-west through the forest along the bumpy dirty track to another of the Shifter Brains caches, 12 or 12 (GC1GQJA). Appropriately named, on the corner of the road to to Red Hill there is a junction signposted 12km to Wyong this way, and 12km to Wyong that way. The main sign here is guarded by large hairy tarantulas mostly known as Wolf Spiders – beware!
Spiders of the Wolfie Variety guard the signs
The clue for this cache came in very handy – it really says it all and lead us right to it. Just keep your eyes open – no bush walking needed. The log book is just that. Enough said. Wolfie Ben found the cache quickly, signed the book, and exchanged a red gem for a metallic star. “12 of 12″ was our “6th of 6″ finds for the day so far. Time to try now for number seven.
It’s amazing to see the landscape and vegetation change so dramatically over such relatively short distances. From thick bushland we were guided to a drier and more dusty place. Forest Fruits (GC1G5DM) is yet another of the Shifter Brains cache hides – so called because of the orchards in the area, one being directly adjacent to ground zero.
Our first thought – what a shame they are lemons! But on reading the log we discovered that others had referred to them as oranges, so perhaps we’re just here at the wrong time.
This location had both the TeamWolfie members stumped for quite a while. It was to be the most difficult cache of the day – and the only one we came close to almost giving up on. The wind blew fiercely as we squinted against the flying dust. Flies buzzed circles around my head adding to the frustration of not being able to find it. The clue and location seemed obvious, but the hide was just so well disguised and easily overlooked. Maybe we were getting tired, but our persistence paid off in the end with the cache being discovered after a 20 minute search when we noticed some oddly placed logs.
The bag containing the log book was damaged – but thankfully TeamWolfie also shop at Aldi and had some spare bags exactly the same, so we replaced the log bag and disposed of the broken one. It’s just some of the good work we do when we go out caching!
Forest Fruit for a Hungry Wolfie
After signing the log and doing our caching business it was time for a well-earned break. Some Forest Fruit seemed appropriate at this location, so we pressed on after a brief food break where we munched down a banana or two.
Time to play Monopoly? Our here in the bush? Of course! Geocaching Monopoly – our next hunt was another of the Monopoly series of caches by cphoenix – this one based on the yellow square Coventry Street (GCYWN1) – as it is known in the traditional English version of the game. Probably the most difficult thing about getting to this cache (and another nearby) was deciding where to park and from which direction to get to them. We decided to come in around from the west, hence stumbling across this cache first.
Coventry Street was about a 10 minute walk down a relatively flat track from where we had left the car – this track also being part of The Great North Walk. The path here forms the official boundary between the state forest, and some farming properties. It’s a pleasant and relatively flat walk to this cache, with a couple of small creek crossings (there are foot bridges), and an unusual huge hole burrowed into the ground at one location which we presumed was a wombat den. With the aid of the clue and our two GPS units we found the cache only after a brief search in a couple of obvious places.
Wolfie must pay $22 rent for landing here!
This is the 2nd of the Monopoly series we have come across – the other being The Angel, Islington.
We paid the rent and continued to make our way east toward the 2nd cache in this immediate area.
Another cache awaits us just 500m further east along the track. The track now becomes windy and steep as we head down into a valley toward Dead Horse Creek (GCRC56) by Detourism. Along the forest trail we walked deep into the lush rainforest – with the bush changing again within a few minutes walk from a dry, windy, semi-rural landscape to something from another world. Bush rock was used as stairs which made the walk a lot easier than it otherwise would be. The variety of plant life was tremendous, it was like visiting another land.
The track wove its way through the mystical forest and at one point orange and black butterflies floated majestically before us. A running stream – presumably Dead Horse Creek, was calling us down into the valley. What a great oasis this would be on a hot summer’s day. On this occasion we didn’t need to cross the creek, as the cache was on the western side, and so were we.
While taking in the tranquil surrounds beside the creek for a split second Wolfie Guy thought he saw a black figure quickly speed past without making a sound. He questioned his own eyes when he looked for what it was and found nothing.
Ground Zero for this cache was a little tricky. The dense forest canopy and the steep walled valley playing havoc with our GPS units, but on reading the clues there was only one very obvious place where this cache could be, so we detoured from the track and made our way to what we were certain was the cache location.
We climbed around it, over it, under it, and looked in the middle of it. Oh dear – we were having a perfect day so far, was this one to get the better of us? Surely not. We had come so far. Keep looking. And by stroke of inspiration, Wolfie Guy lifts something up – it’s the cache! It was amazing to find such a large and obviously popular cache – so many treasures, so well hidden in such a natural environment – a place where it simply couldn’t possibly be found by even the most curious of muggles.
Dead Horse Creek cache is tricky, but worth it.
There were many treasures inside the well-packed cache. We left a precious stone and took a beautiful “Suncatcher” geocoin to help it on it’s travels, signed the log, and placed this awesome cache carefully back exactly how we had found it.
Although the cache was tricky, I don’t think we would have been disappointed if we hadn’t found it. This is a beautiful oasis and it’s worth visiting just for the scenery. The cache find is a bonus.
What goes down, must come up – as we make our way up out of the Dead Horse Creek valley and head westward back to our car, passing Coventry Street and the big wombat hole along the way.
Nine attempted caches, nine successful finds. What a day – but why stop at nine, when a tenth is just up the road a little bit? Bumble Along (GC1G5DJ) is yet another of the Shifter Brains caches – conveniently located next to a small roadside parking bay that offers majestic views across the surrounding countryside.
Wolfie just Bumbling Along
It was a short, steep climb down to the cache which we found after a short look in a couple of obvious spots. It was to be our tenth find for the day. Signed the log, left a precious stone, and took a travelbug to move it on.
At the start of this ambitious day we had no idea what to expect or how many finds we would achieve – but achieving a hit rate of 10 out of 10 was beyond our wildest expectations – together with being treated to the experience of finding some great new locations in our local region. We saw a friendly red fox up close, we heard a ghost cat “MEOW”, and caught glimpse of a mysterious dark shadowy creature in the Dead Horse Creek gully.
It’s been a great fun day out and TeamWolfie is looking at coming back here soon to finish off the remaining geocaches in this area that we are yet to attempt.