Hastings Orienteering Group to host first event on Sunday, July 14 in Port Macquarie

Gettting started: HOG president Matt Bell and committee member Cliff Hoeft welcome you to an outdoor adventure on Sunday.
Gettting started: HOG president Matt Bell and committee member Cliff Hoeft welcome you to an outdoor adventure on Sunday.

What do you get if you mix a treasure hunt with a running race?

Welcome to the outdoor adventure sport of orienteering.

It involves an individual or group using a topographical map to navigate and collect the most points in unfamiliar terrain.

Runners or walkers must first study the map and decide on the fastest path to reach as many landmarks as possible in 45 minutes.

Points are deducted from a participants score for each minute they are over the time limit before returning to the start.

A newly organised Hastings Orienteering Group (HOG) will host their first event this Sunday, July 14 from 11am to 1pm at Kooloonbung Creek in Port Macquarie.

HOG president Matt Bell said he was hoping for at least 50 participants this weekend.

"It's not a direct race, it's a timed 45 minute course where you try to get as many points as you can and get back to the start," said Mr Bell.

"There's 30 different control points (landmarks) which are lanterns with a unique hole punch, you basically stamp each box you get to.

"Kids usually say it's like a treasure hunt because there is the thrill of finding the next point.

"It's exercise for the body and mind, as well as learning new skills by navigating and exploring a new area.

"To get the best time you will need to plan your route carefully, spend time studying the map, know where your crossing points are and not be too greedy."

Hastings Orienteering Group received $7651 in funding from the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Community Grants Program on May 29 this year.

Setting a good time: Hastings Orienteering Group president Matt Bell shows how its done.

Setting a good time: Hastings Orienteering Group president Matt Bell shows how its done.

The sport was originally a training exercise in land navigation for the military, however HOG committee member Cliff Hoeft said it would now make an excellent outdoor family activity.

"It was something I did when I was much younger and am now returning to it as an adult," said Mr Hoeft.

"We are set up so we can support beginners and families.

"Port Macquarie has a lot of notable landmarks which people can recognise and follow the trail so it will be a really good activity for families.

"We'll develop more higher skilled courses as we grow the club and give them an easy entry group to the sport."

Participants can nominate HOG as their home club and compete in various events hosted by Orienteering NSW and 14 other orienteering clubs within the state.

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