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What is 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 (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