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Geocaching NSW: About geocaching

NSW Geocaching Community Groups

Geocaching NSW strives to promote our hobby with this great state and are happy to try to help out with any problem or plan you might have. However, we are no substitute for the awesome local community geocaching groups that have sprung up at grassroots level all over the state.

Looking for players near you to go hunting with? Need help with a tricky local puzzle cache? Just want to chat to like-minded folk close to your personal GZ? Why not check out the Facebook groups listed below. There is bound to be a group near you! Click the links to be taken to their Facebook pages. (Please note, many pages will require admin approval before you can access them... don't worry it usually doesn't take long!)

Sydney AreaNSW-Outline

Regional NSW

Cross Border Neighbours

Are we missing your local group? Get in touch with a link and we'll add you to the list!

Geocaching basics

Geocaching (pronounced /ˈjēōˌkaSHiNG/) is a 21st century version of hide and seek; a kind of hi-tech scavenger hunt. 

Typically it involves someone hiding a container and then telling others where it is hidden. The hider is  known as the "cache owner" or "CO" and the container is the geocache, or "cache" for short.
 
A geocache is typically a waterproof container the size of a lunch box, but it may be smaller than a thimble or as large as shipping container. 
 
Most geocaches contain at least a log ( a book, scroll or sheet) and perhaps a pen/pencil and swappable items.
 
To be able to tell others know where the geocache is hidden, the hider uses a GPS receiver to capture the geographic coordinates of the location. These coordinates consist of two numbers - the latitude and longitude, expressed in degrees and decimal minutes. The cache owner then publishes a description of the cache along with the coordinates, on any of several websites.
 

Read more: Geocaching basics

Geocaching websites

Geocaches are listed on several websites.

The largest listing is hosted by the US-based company Groundspeak (www.geocaching.com).

Other lists include:

Where is the first geocache in Australia?

Lane Cove geocacheThe first geocache in Australia was placed by Paul Edwards in Lane Cove National Park on 18 May 2000. Although the geocache was removed a year later, you can still visit the location and log a find as it is now a virtual.

Lane Cove (GC3E) by Paul Edwards

The next geocache in New South Wales was placed in Garigal National Park, near St Ives on 2 September 2000 — R&R (GC52) by Richard Ames (archived)

Three more geocaches were hidden in New South Wales in 2000:

Ten years of Earthcaching

Spindoc Bob at Earthcache IIIn the first few years of geocaching you could count the number of fellow geocachers on one hand, and most of them you only knew online. It wasn’t unusual to have to spend a good part of a day searching for one of your closest unfound geocaches and locationless and virtual geocaches were still part of the game.

Then, in the second week of 2004 a new type of geocache appeared — the EarthCache. At the time it was listed as a virtual geocache, the first one being Earthcache I - a simple geology tour of Wasp Head.

It took me a few months to find the time to head down to the south coast of New South Wales and find it, but in the meantime a second EarthCache close to work appeared - Earthcache II - the geology of WoolShed Creek, NSW. Not surprisingly I got first to find.

Read more: Ten years of Earthcaching

Australia's first geocacher

Head shot of Paul EdwardsPaul Edwards (kerravon) hid Australia's first geocache on 18 May 2000. To mark the 10 year anniversary, Paul tells how he become Australia's first geocacher.

At the recent 10 Years! event, I kept getting asked "how did you find out about geocaching?"

For me this is a strange question. It's a bit like asking someone "how did you know you were in a car crash?"

It's not that I "found out", it's more that it was "just there". I happened to be part of a community in which someone announced what use he had personally made of the switching off of Selective Availability (SA).

Read more: Australia's first geocacher

Tips for finding a geocache

Each geocache is different, and so is each geocache hunt. There are many things each geocacher should take into consideration.

Before you start walking

Prepare! Use aids such as Google Earth, Whereis, and street directories to get a clear idea of the not just where the cache is hidden, but what is in the area and how to get there. If the cache well away from roads, other aids like paper topographic maps and Open Street Map should be consulted to identify which tracks to take.

Check the cache attributes read the description and know your limitations. Some need kayaking, swimming, tree climbing or abseiling. If it looks too risky, go for another one instead. 

Dress appropriately for the conditions and location. Think long sleeves, long pants, hats, sunscreen and perhaps even gloves. Take appropriate equipment for your cache hunt, particularly if it involves a hike or long walk. Do you have water, charged phones, torches and batteries?  

Most importantly, let someone know where you're going and when you'll be back.

Read more: Tips for finding a geocache

Pocket queries for events

eventcache0 300x200When you plan on heading to a geocaching event, it's not unusual to find a few geocaches before, during or after the event.

It's a great way to visit a new area and make the most of your trip.

Here we provide you with a tip on how to set up a pocket query centred on the geocaching event.

 

 

Read more: Pocket queries for events

Tips for solving puzzle caches

jigsaw 300x200Puzzle caches are a great alternative to traditional geocache. But for many geocachers, they are too difficult or require too much effort.

This page has been written to give you some tips on how to solve those puzzle caches that might currently be beyond your reach.

It covers what to look for when solving a puzzle cache, some of the clever techniques used to hide clues and how to confirm you're on the right track.

This session was originally presented at the Geocaching NSW 2010 AGM event by founding president, Darren Osborne.

 

Read more: Tips for solving puzzle caches

Tips on searching

Five tips of geocaching

1 - don’t follow the arrow, follow the trail

Your GPSr will always show where they cache is in a straight line.

If you’re walking through the bush, there’s a far chance that the track will not be straight. In fact sometimes the track may take you away from the cache.

Don’t be tempted to bush bash and head straight for it. You may find that the track eventually finds it’s way to the cache.

Not following the track can not only take you longer, as you travel through thick bush, you could also damage wildlife.

2 – plan your cache hunt

Some caches are straight forward. Many urban caches are not hard to find and typically rely more on cunning placement, than a challenging walk.

Caches in bushland or remote regions should be studied in detail to identify; where you should park and what path to follow.

Google Earth or Google Maps are a great place to start. The satellite/aerial images allow you to identify the lay of the land, things such as roads, parkland and bush.

Topographic maps and street directories are also very useful.

3 - take a packback

No matter where you go, a backpack is handy to take geocaching.

In the summer, you should carry sunscreen, insect repellant, a hat and plenty of water. In the winter, a rain jacket, beanie and even an umbrella are handy. I also pack a first aid kit, spare pens and logbooks, food and gloves. Gloves are handy not only for bush caches where you might be wary of snakes, ticks and spiders, but also with urban caches, where you have to avoid spiders (again), rubbish and occasionally syringes.

4 – respect the environment

Most of the time you know where to find the cache, or where it should be.

If you need to conduct a more detailed search of the area make sure you replace any rocks, logs, branches and even leaf litter. You could be disturbing someone’s home. .

Sometimes the geocache is close to the corner of a garden bed or on the outer edge of clump of shrubs.

Sometimes the cache hider likes to make it a little difficult to find. This doesn’t give you an excuse to tear the place apart. If you can’t find it, then you may have to walk away and try again another time.

Hiders should also be aware that by placing a cache it will encourage a greater number of people to explore that area, typically in a 20 metre radius. Consider what impact this will have on the environment.

Also remember tip one about paths and tracks. Park rangers frown upon the creation of new paths, particularly through sensitive areas.

Ensure that your cache is far enough from muggle zones, but don’t venture too far into unmarked areas.

5 – respect the feeling of your fellow geocachers.

The Internet is a very impersonal medium. Sacracism loses its humourous nature on the ‘net and its very easy to offend someone, when you thought you were being funny.

Remember that your logs also appear in the public domain. If you are unhappy with experience at a cache, be diplomatic and fair, or contact the owner privately.

If you find a particular geocacher’s style of geocaches not to your liking, consider adding them to your ignore list and avoid confrontation.

Remember, there are many types of geocachers, each with their own likes and dislikes. What you consider to be ‘geo-trash’ is another person’s ‘geo-treasure’.

Maintaining a geocache

Being a geocache owner doesn't end when you hide a container and have it listed on the internet. Every geocache owner should take maintenance of their geocaches seriously. 

Many geocachers become annoyed when they find an unloved geocache with a wet logbook or damaged contents. Other become frustrated by unavailable geocaches that sit idle or calls for maintenance that go unanswered. Unmaintained geocaches are not a good advertisement for geocaching - particularly to new players and muggles.

Read more: Maintaining a geocache

Subcategories

  • What is geocaching?

    Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. Discover what it is all about and its history in New South Wales.

  • Finding a geocache

    There's nothing quite like the thrill of the hunt. Here are some tips to help you find that geocache. 

  • Placing a geocache

    One of the great things about geocaching is that you can 'give' back to the pastime by placing your own geocaches. Discover some helpful hints to help you with your next hide.

  • Resources

    Whether you're new to geocaching or have years of experience, here is where you'll find resources to make geocaching easier. Feel free to suggest, or write, additional resources to share with the geocaching community. 

    • Software

      Tips on how to get the best software, and the best out of software, for your next geocaching adventure.

    • Hardware

      From GPS receivers through to smart phones, here's some tips to help you get the most from your geocaching tool.

    • How GPS works
  • National Parks

    Geocaching is permitted in some areas managed by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service. Discover what is allowed in National Parks, how you can avoid stumbling into 'no-go zones' and keep up-to-date with news regarding the policy.

  • Geocache of the Month

    Discover the best geocaches that our state has to offer.

  • Challenge geocaches

    Geocaching NSW has placed a number of challenge geocaches to help inspire and stretch your geocaching experience.