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Geocaching NSW: About geocaching

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 (

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:

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

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

HTML for cache pages

If you’re tired of your geocache listing page looking dull and drab, there are a number of ways you can add colour and formatting.

The simplest approach is to use either a word processor (e.g. Microsoft Word) or an HTML editor (e.g. Dreamweaver) to design your page and save as HTML.

Open the .html file using Notepad or TextEdit and copy the text between the lines <BODY> and </BODY>. Unfortunately, most of these programs create surplus HTML coding, which makes later editing cumbersome and time consuming.

An alternative is to learn HTML coding and use Notepad or TextEdit to create your own. Note: make sure you select plain text, not rich text (RTF) when writing your HTML.

Read more: HTML for cache pages

Finding archived caches

Before placing a new geocache, it's worth taking a look at the 'geocaching history' of the location you have in mind. It may be likely that one, or more, geocaches have been placed in the area before but have since been archived. It may be that the area is frequented by muggles, is regularly cleaned by the land manager, or just isn't suitable for a hide. This information can be useful, to avoid your new geocache following the same fate.

While retains the details and logs of archived caches, it isn't easy to find them. Thankfully, does. Here is one way in which you can find archived caches in your region.

Read more: Finding archived caches

Geocaching and the police

nswpolice 300x200From time to time, geocachers ask how they should conduct themselves with Police and security personnel. Additionally, Police would like geocachers to understand how they can minimise unnecessary, and often costly, Police involvement.

This article results from discussions with NSW Police, including some involved in "suspicious package" callouts.

Firstly, it is important to remember that police must attend to concerned calls from the public, particularly in this era of heightened alertness. You can reduce the chances of having to explain yourself by considering these guidelines.

Read more: Geocaching and the police


  • 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.

  • 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.