Girl reading map in woods as part of orienteering course


Orienteering is an adventure sport in which participants use a map to navigate around a course visiting checkpoints along the way. The objective is to visit all checkpoints in as short a time as possible. Each person decides their own route around the course.

Unlike many other sports, there is no finish time, although most courses are set up so that participants can visit their checkpoints within 60 minutes.
Orienteering is a sport where beginners and elites can be active side-by-side, each doing their own series of checkpoints.


The environment around you is marked on the map. Reading big landmarks like a hill or creek will help you see where you are and what's ahead. Orientate your map! North on the map is north on the ground too.


  • Increase your fitness
  • Build your brain power
  • Explore new places from wild bush to urban cities
  • Make friends


For orienteering in parks or cities you can wear shorts, running shoes and a T-shirt, but for bush orienteering, hiking pants and day hiking shoes might be a good choice. If you plan to run, running tights, long socks, and trail running shoes can be useful. Sunscreen and a hat are recommended in all cases.

Seasons / typical registration period

Orienteering is a very flexible year-round sport. Bush events are usually held in winter while sprints and urban areas tend to occur in summer. Events have ‘start windows’ meaning you can begin anytime in a set period (say 9:00am to 12:00pm). This makes it easier to participate around other commitments.

Approximate participation costs

‘Come and Try’ days are usually free while the cost for single events for juniors is between $5–$20.

Levels of competition

There are general beginner and intermediate events, but at the more advanced levels there are state and national events. Navigation ranges from very easy to hard and varies with age group. Course distances also vary depending on the type and age group: sprints are roughly one to three kilometres, middles are two to five kilometres and longs are three to seven kilometres. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, try  mountain bike and ski orienteering.

Orienteering Organisations

Social Media