This isn’t just a game; it’s a powerful force of nature. Pokémon Go is sending millions of adherents on journeys around Australia trying to catch ’em all.
If you haven’t already heard – and that’s highly unlikely – Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game that was released on the App Store and Google Play to such massive popularity that the servers of the developer, Ninatic, reportedly had trouble handling all the players.
The game uses Google Maps technology to lead people to real-life places to “catch” Pokémon characters, which can pop up on screens literally anywhere – on the street, in the park, in the pub and maybe even in your house. There are also many “PokéStops” and “Gyms” to locate –set locations where players can “collect” items and meet up with others to “battle”.
Pokémon Go’s locations are based on data from another augmented reality game, Ingress (also by Ninatic), which was intentionally designed with an element of discovery. “We basically defined the kinds of places that we wanted to be part of the game,” John Hanke, CEO and founder of Ninatic, told Mashable. “Things that were public artwork, that were historical sites, that were buildings with some unique architectural history or characteristic, or unique local businesses."
If you’re on a mission to find interesting places the game can take you, we’ve rounded up some random and remote spots around Australia where you’re likely to find a PokéStop or Gym…
That there is a full-sized replica of Stonehenge on a Western Australian farm is random enough. Even odder, you just might find some Pokémon action here.
Coober Pedy Skate Park
This tiny and remote South Australian town is famous for opal mining and the underground “dugout” homes some residents live in to beat the heat. Now add the skate park’s Pokémon to the list. There are also potential Pokémon Go spots at the Visitor Information Centre and playground.
Remains of HMAS Protector
This historic naval gunboat was damaged in a collision and has been sitting off the coast of Heron Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef since 1942. If you’re playing Pokémon Go here, make sure your phone has a good, waterproof case.
This remote Western Australian town is the country’s highest-tonnage port and occasional cruise stop for ships that need to refuel before heading to Asia and beyond. Massive boats aside, there appears to be a Pokémon Go spot at the Redbank Bridge Tourist Information Centre on Wilson Street. If you find yourself in town, this is your mission.
Lord Howe Island
If you’re lucky enough to be on this remote island paradise and all that rugged natural beauty isn’t doing it for you, head to the Catalina Memorial or Lord Howe Island Museum to see what else you find.
About 340 kilometres east of Perth, this unique geological formation looks like a towering, 15-metre-high stone wave. There are a number of potential Pokémon Go spots around Wave Rock’s tourist site, including at the Information Centre and the “Wave Rock Walk Circuit” sign.
Once you’ve pulled over at this small roadside stop off the Eyre Highway in South Australia (no hunting while driving!), head straight for the Southern Right Whale Statue. Just do it.
This small town in the north of Tasmania, just south of Devonport, is famous for the colourful murals painted on the side of pretty much every building in town. While you’re walking along Main Street admiring the art – the murals depict the area’s history – keep an eye out for PokéStops and Gyms.
This small settlement in the Torres Strait, one of the northernmost islands of Australia, is apparently part of the craze. Check the Turtles Statue, Pearls Shell Sculpture, Anzac Park Memorial or Thursday Island Hilltop Guns for potential spots.
If you’re new to the game here are a few simple tips to get started:
The overall goal of the game is to catch as many Pokémon as you can, to build their strength (referred to as CP), evolve them, and to train and battle other Pokémon at Gyms.
You move up levels in the game by gaining Experience Points, or XP. You gain XP for completing various tasks such as catching Pokémon, evolving the Pokémon you have into new forms, and battling.
As you wander around the real world, you will see PokéStops marked as little cubes and Gyms marked as larger points with rotating circles and a Pokémon on top of the map in the game.
When you are first starting out, the best strategy is to focus on catching Pokémon and going to Stops to collect items. As you play more and more and move up levels you will have enough strong Pokémon to train and battle at Gyms. For now, here are the other basics:
Catch Pikachu to start When you first open the game you will see a few Pokémon nearby. You need to ignore these – literally, go and find them and when they appear on your screen click the small icon that looks like a person running away to walk away from them. After doing this a few times Pikachu will appear as your first Pokémon! Ta da!
Stock up on Poké Balls To catch Pokémon you need to have Poké Balls to throw at them – you start out the game with 50 and you can collect them at Stops. It’s very easy to run out of Poké Balls so it is important to stock up whenever you can!
Understand the other collectable items PokéStops usually spit out three to five random gifts. The most common item is Poké Balls, but here are some of the other items you may collect and how you can use them:
- Razz Berries Some Pokémon can be difficult to catch. Feeding them a Razz Berry makes it a bit easier
- Incense Incense allows you attract more Pokémon to you for 30 minutes. Using incense only attracts Pokémon to you and not any other players around you
- Lucky Egg Lucky Eggs double your XP for 30 minutes while you are playing. If you choose to use a Lucky Egg this is the time to do tasks like catching lots of Pokémon or evolving them as you will get lots of extra points!
- Eggs Regular Eggs can hatch items or Pokémon. You need to walk 2-10km to hatch Eggs depending on the type. You do need to walk – if you’re in a car the game knows if you are going too fast and it will not let you count the distance!
There are also other items such as Potions and Revive – you won’t use these until you start going to Gyms.