Putting the STEM in Wheatbelt ecosystems

Grab your walking shoes and your phone—we’re going geocaching on the Wheatbelt Science Trail.
Kim Cousins
Kim Cousins
Freelance Journalist
Putting the STEM in Wheatbelt ecosystems
Image credit: Ursina Gringer

The Wheatbelt Science Trail is a map of 56 sites to look at, research further or visit for a science experience. It also includes a geotrail, which is the perfect opportunity to try geocaching.

Like a cross between chasing Pokémon and hunting for treasure, geocaching involves following GPS coordinates on your phone. This lets you locate specific spots around the countryside where you might find a geocache or container. Instead of finding a Jigglypuff, you’re likely to discover goodies or clues in the geocache left there by other geocachers.

What is Geocaching?

Video credit: Geocaching
What is Geocaching?

On the Wheatbelt Science Trail, you’re also going to learn about science, astronomy, geology, renewables and more.

Rhiannon Bristow-Stagg is project manager with Wheatbelt Science Hub (WSH) and spent the past 2 years helping develop the Wheatbelt Science Trail and geotrail.

Unable to come up with a definitive list of places to put on the trail (who could?!), WSH threw it open to the people of WA.

“We were overwhelmed for choice, with 118 sites suggested,” Rhiannon says.

“Even the committee discovered places they’d never heard of.”

Eagle Stone Rock and Lake Brown

Image credit: Stephen Humpleby
Eagle Stone Rock and Lake Brown

Warning: geocaching can be addictive

Rhiannon says geocaching is a great way for anyone with an interest in the world around them to learn more.

“The geocaches on the trail range from easy to difficult. Some will have swapables, and there are little nano ones that might have just a magnet. Some have puzzles you need to solve,” she says.

“The ones in the country are a lot more fun [than the city ones].”

View Larger

Collgar Wind Farm

Collgar Wind Farm

The geotrail was partially developed through a community geocaching workshop held by WSH earlier this year.

These community members created most of the easy geocaches on the trail, with the more challenging ones put together by WSH volunteers. New geocaches are being released periodically.

Rhiannon says WSH put quite a bit of effort into deciding on the information to share throughout the trail.

“We have so many granite outcrops in the Wheatbelt, so we kept varying the information left at sites,” Rhiannon says.

“For example, instead of just talking about the rocks, we described the macroinvertebrates that live in the rock pools.”

View Larger

Biliburning Rock

Image credit: Stephen Humpleby
Biliburning Rock

The Wheatbelt (not a belt made of grain)

You may be surprised to find out the area of WA the Wheatbelt covers. It actually starts around Jurien Bay, reaching south to Narrogin and Wagin. The area reaches as far east as Southern Cross.

The Wheatbelt is well known for its salt lakes and granite outcrops, but the trail also includes the Gravity Discovery Centre in Gingin and various museums.

“There are so many amazing places in the Wheatbelt,” Rhiannon says.

Koorda CRC

Image credit: Koorda drive-in
Koorda CRC

You can support the development and next round of sites on the trail on the WSH website.

The project was made possible through the Royalties for Regions Community Chest Fund, Inspiring Australia and a range of volunteers.

Kim Cousins
About the author
Kim Cousins
​Kim Cousins is a freelance journalist who would have become a scientist if she was better at maths. Instead, she's spent her career writing for newspapers across Australia and now teaches and studies social sciences at university. She loves nerding out with books and learning new things about the world.
View articles
​Kim Cousins is a freelance journalist who would have become a scientist if she was better at maths. Instead, she's spent her career writing for newspapers across Australia and now teaches and studies social sciences at university. She loves nerding out with books and learning new things about the world.
View articles


We've got chemistry, let's take it to the next level!

Get the latest WA science news delivered to your inbox, every fortnight.


Creative Commons Logo

Republishing our content

We want our stories to be shared and seen by as many people as possible.

Therefore, unless it says otherwise, copyright on the stories on Particle belongs to Scitech and they are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This allows you to republish our articles online or in print for free. You just need to credit us and link to us, and you can’t edit our material or sell it separately.

Using the ‘republish’ button on our website is the easiest way to meet our guidelines.


You cannot edit the article.

When republishing, you have to credit our authors, ideally in the byline. You have to credit Particle with a link back to the original publication on Particle.

If you’re republishing online, you must use our pageview counter, link to us and include links from our story. Our page view counter is a small pixel-ping (invisible to the eye) that allows us to know when our content is republished. It’s a condition of our guidelines that you include our counter. If you use the ‘republish’ then you’ll capture our page counter.

If you’re republishing in print, please email us to let us so we know about it (we get very proud to see our work republished) and you must include the Particle logo next to the credits. Download logo here.

If you wish to republish all our stories, please contact us directly to discuss this opportunity.


Most of the images used on Particle are copyright of the photographer who made them.

It is your responsibility to confirm that you’re licensed to republish images in our articles.


All Particle videos can be accessed through YouTube under the Standard YouTube Licence.

The Standard YouTube licence

  1. This licence is ‘All Rights Reserved’, granting provisions for YouTube to display the content, and YouTube’s visitors to stream the content. This means that the content may be streamed from YouTube but specifically forbids downloading, adaptation, and redistribution, except where otherwise licensed. When uploading your content to YouTube it will automatically use the Standard YouTube licence. You can check this by clicking on Advanced Settings and looking at the dropdown box ‘License and rights ownership’.
  2. When a user is uploading a video he has license options that he can choose from. The first option is “standard YouTube License” which means that you grant the broadcasting rights to YouTube. This essentially means that your video can only be accessed from YouTube for watching purpose and cannot be reproduced or distributed in any other form without your consent.


For more information about using our content, email us:

Copy this HTML into your CMS
Press Ctrl+C to copy