Where does orienteering take place?

Orienteering takes place in a range of places. Traditionally a forest sport, areas used for orienteering include parks and forest reserves as well as private grazing land and bushland. An increasing number of events are being held in urban areas including urban parks, suburb streets and even through urban landscapes such as around university buildings. Events nowadays are held almost everywhere but predominate around major centres.

Check out the state association to see if there are events or clubs based in your area. Complete directions and locations of events will be listed as part of their event schedules.

How to Find Events

Directions to the events are detailed in event programmes and signposted from major roads. Signs are usually placed near the event location to guide you to the parking area. The signs are either words, or an "orienteering flag" symbol in red and white (below right).

Types of Events

In Australia, events are organised by State Associations/Clubs.

National Carnivals

Australia has a series of open National all-age events held annually. This includes the two major carnivals (Australian 3-Days and Australian Championships) which are shared amongst the states. All states hold at least one major carnival every 3-4 years.

  • Australian 3-Days – held over Easter
  • Australian Championships Carnival – held last week September or first week in October 

Details of major events can be found here.

General Events

Orienteering events are held all the time, you should always check your local state association or club for event details.

Typically, orienteering events in the bush are held on most Sunday mornings between March and September (occasionally there will also be a course on Saturday). You can usually start your course some time between 9.30am and 11.30am. This does vary, so please check the available start times before you arrive!

Over summer a number of low key events are run, typically through streets and parks of suburbs and often on a week night.

EXAMPLE: Orienteering ACT runs 5 programs for orienteering each year.




Start times





10:00am – 12:30pm

Minor: Blue, Green, 1 × Orange, 3 × Red
SL: Blue, Green, 2 × Orange, 4 × Red




10:30am – 12:30pm

Blue, Green, 2 × Orange




12:00pm – 1:00pm

Green, 2 × Orange




5pm – 6:30pm

Green, 2 × Orange

Mountain Bike



10am – 12:00pm

Usually Long, Medium and Short

* Events, such as championships, may be held on Saturdays or be multi-day events.

Many states also have a schools program. Please contact your state association for further details about schools programs.

For dedicated orienteers, there is the opportunity to travel interstate and overseas to the major state, national and international competitions. Talented juniors and elite competitors can strive to be selected to represent Australia at World Championships while those over 35 have the opportunity to compete at yearly World Masters Championships.