Orienteering is a sport of both mental and physical challenge that is enjoyed by people of all ages with different motives. Some love the beautiful scenery synonymous with the areas orienteering is held in, while others enjoy the well structured competitive side of the sport. 

Frequently asked questions ...

  1. How do we give orienteering a go?
    The Hawkes Bay Orienteering Club holds orienteering events for different levels, including newcomers, all year round. The best way to give orienteering a go is to check out the list of events on the club website then turn up to any event at the advertised time or contact us via our face-book page, especially if you are unsure where the event is. Details with clear directions on how to get to each event are advertised a few days prior to the event on the website on the “Next Event” page.

    When you arrive, identify yourself to the organisers as being new to orienteering and someone will advise you which course to do and give you some basic tips for map-reading.

    There are permanent courses in Te Mata Park which you may do anytime. Maps for these courses may be downloaded and printed at home, they are found on our website page labelled “Park-O” (for public).

  2. Is orienteering suitable for families?
    You may do orienteering on your own, with a friend, or in groups – you choose. Families with children generally have fun going around a course together initially.

  3. What ages go orienteering?
    We have all ages doing orienteering at every club event, from under-1 to 80+ years-old. Babies can be carried in back-packs. Most of our courses are not suitable for push-chairs or wheelchairs sorry, but occasionally they are. There are some events for children only, (see 6. below).

  4. Do I need to run while orienteering?
    Certainly not. Many orienteers walk around their course.

  5. What equipment do I need?
    Special equipment is not necessary; just wear clothes and shoes suitable for walking or running.  If the weather is cold or wet make sure you have enough clothing.

    Maps are provided to you at the event.  You may hire an Ecard for timing at the event. Compasses are not necessary until you graduate to harder courses, then you may hire a compass if you wish.

  6. Are there events just for Primary School aged children?
    In Hawkes Bay we offer events in Term 1 for Primary School children only, called O for Kids events. More details may be found on the O for Kids page of our club website.

  7. Can I drop my child off to do a run on his own?
    This is not encouraged because there is no supervision of young runners at our events. Some of our events are in public areas. You should not ‘drop your child off’ unless they are confident orienteers that are able to register themselves (including supplying a contact number for a parent in case of injury) and complete their course reasonably well.

  8. Can I bring my dog to orienteering events?
    No, dogs are not welcome at our events as most of our events are on rural farm properties with strict animal protocols which everyone must adhere to.

  9. How do I cross over a gate?
    Always climb over a gate at the hinge-end of the gate. Never open a gate to get to the other side of it.

  10. How do I know which orienteering course to do at normal club events?
    At any orienteering event there will be courses of different lengths and difficulty available.  These will be advertised at the Event Centre where you register. If you are new to orienteering, consider the length of the course and the navigational difficulty.  If you are fit but not experienced you may want to do a longer course, but one of easier navigational difficulty; or you may prefer a shorter course which is more navigationally challenging.  In competitions, winning juniors may take about 30 minutes, while the top competitors choose a course that takes 60 to 90 minutes.

    The levels of course difficulty will be described, or indicated by colours:

    White Course: Easy. Courses follow drawn linear features (tracks, fences, streams, distinct vegetation boundaries, etc.).  Compass use is limited to map orientation only.

    Yellow Course: Control sites on or near (<50 m) drawn linear features (tracks, fences, streams, distinct vegetation boundaries, etc).  This gives the opportunity to follow handrails or to cut across country (i.e. limited route choice).  Compass use is limited rough directional navigation.  Contour recognition is not required for navigation but simple contour features may be used for control sites.

    Orange Course: Medium. Courses have route choice with prominent attack points near the control sites and/or catching features less than 100 m behind.  Control sites may be fairly small point features and the control markers need not necessarily be visible from the attack point.  Simple navigation by contours and rough compass with limited distance estimation required.

    Red Course: Hard. Navigation is as difficult as possible with small contour and point features as preferred control sites (no obvious attack points, no handrails etc.).  Route choice is an important element in most legs.

  11. What happens if I get lost?
    Orienteering clubs have search and rescue procedures for managing the rare occasion when competitors get lost while racing.  Competitors can take the following steps to help avoid this:
    • Choose a course suitable for your ability.
    • If you are still nervous, consider doing a few events with a friend until you get more confident.
    • Complete proper registration procedures and make sure you always check in at the finish, even if you do not complete your course.  This means organisers have an accurate record of who is still out on the course and can take appropriate action to find any lost competitors.
    • Take note of the safety information for the event, including the safety bearing – usually notified at registration or ask the organisers.  Key geographical features and the safety bearing can generally be used to navigate to a major features such as a road, which can help  get you back to the finish area.
    • Carry a whistle. This is recommended when doing a course in any rural area.</li