Download the 'How To Get Started' brochure. (Acrobat pdf file 117K).

What orienteers need

Getting there

First find your way to the event area by using the directions on the Calendar page and the direction signs (if used). Please park as directed by the parking attendant or in a suitable place that does not block access to residents or other competitors and does not damage the environment.  

Directions to events

Melway map references are given wherever possible.

Orienteering signs are placed at or just before road junctions. The first one reached by people going to an event is usually at a junction with a major road and subsequent signs are placed at intervals and locations where roads fork or you need to turn off one road onto another road or track.  

Arriving at the Event

What courses are available?

Additional "Event Details" are usually displayed near registration or a handout sheet is provided showing course details and other information about the event. If you have any queries ask at the registration table when or before registering.


Choosing a course

Choose a suitable course from the range available.  Courses are graded and vary in distance from 2km to 18km:
  Grade Difficulty Distance Number of Courses
  Very Easy Follow tracks and fences - all control sites are easily identified.
1.5 - 2 Km 1
  Easy Use tracks and fences and other easily recognised features. Major features such as this are called "handrails".
2 - 3 Km 1 - 2
  Moderate Allows travel on tracks - with control sites being located at large features 50-100 metres away from "handrails". Moderate courses encourage orienteers to venture away from tracks and learn how to navigate using features in the bush. 
3 - 5 Km 2 - 3
  Hard Anything goes - controls will be placed in the bush in a way that offers runners "route choice" - multiple ways of travelling from one control to the next. In general, controls will be placed on (or behind) small features away from handrails. 3.5 - 14 Km 5 - 6

If not sure which course is suitable for you, please ask an organiser. 

Filling in control card

Fill out a registration card, near the registration table. Fill in all relevant boxes. Car numbers recorded on Bush O control cards are used as a double check that you are not still out on the course. 

Bush O control cards have 3 sections: 1 for registration, 1 for the start/finish area and result board, 1 for you to use out on the course. The time you have taken to complete a course is calculated and written on the middle stub which is placed on the results board after the punch marks on the card have been checked. 

Park/Street O cards have 2 sections : 1 for registration/start/finish and 1 for you to use out on the course.


After filling in the registration card, proceed to the Registration area and pay your fee, and either collect a map and a list of control descriptions, or you will receive a pre-marked map at the start time.

At many events you will choose a start time from lists of available times - if you do have to do this, allow plenty of time to get ready and go to the toilet before your allocated start time. (Participants on each course set out at two minute intervals on Bush O events to prevent people from following one another).

Proceed to the Start

The way to the Start location at Bush O events will be displayed and you will need to have your map, control card, control descriptions, plastic whistle and compass with you when you arrive at the Start area a few minutes before your start time.  

Enjoy the event

Don't be concerned about speed on your first event; concentrate on navigation - be aware of where you are at all times - orienteers call it "staying in touch with the map".


Every participant must return to the Finish even if they have not visited every control. This is necessary for competitors safety and to prevent unnecessary searches for competitors. Course closure times are set for events. If you are still out when Course closure time approaches, please head back to the Finish area by the quickest safe route.  


Control cards of finishers are checked against a master card to ensure that all the correct controls have been visited. Results are displayed in the assembly area. Results are also published on this web site and in " Orienteering Victoria" the VOA newsletter.