The geocaching.com guidelines are treated as rules and if your cache doesn't meet the guidelines, it is unlikely to be approved for listing on that site.
The current guidelines can be found here. In summary, they are:
- If a physical cache, the cache is not in a park or other area where the land manager has banned geocaching, such as US National Parks and US National Wildlife Refuges.
- The cache is not buried.
- No aspect of the cache defaces public or private property, whether a natural or man-made object, in order to provide a clue or a logging method
- The cache is not near a sensitive archaelogical or historic site.
- The cache is not placed in a railroad right of way (150 feet "safety zone")
- The cache is not placed on or near a military installation.
- The cache is not placed near or under a public structure deemed potential or possible targets for terrorist attacks, including but not limited to highway bridges, dams, government buildings, elementary and secondary schools, and airports.
- If the cache is placed on private property, the cache page states that permission from the owner has been obtained.
- If the cache is placed in a park or other area where the land manager has established a permit system for geocaches, the cache page states that the permit has been obtained.
- If a physical cache, the container includes a logbook or logsheet (no "codewords").
- If there are multiple locations, all of the waypoints have been entered as additional waypoints
- The cache is not temporary, but rather is expected to be in place for three months or longer.
- The cache will remain at the posted coordinates and does not have a goal of moving to other locations not provided for review.
- The cache (or any physical stage of a multiple-waypoint cache) is not within 528 feet of any other existing cache or stage of any other existing multiple-waypoint cache, unless there are special circumstances explained in a "note to reviewer," and the cache does not otherwise "saturate" the area when taken together with other existing and pending cache submissions.
- The cache is within the owner's usual geocaching territory or, if placed beyond the owner's maintainable distance, a maintenance plan has been explained on the cache page.
- The cache contents do not include explosives, fireworks, ammo, lighters, knives (including pocket knives and multi-tools), drugs, alcohol or other illicit material, or any food items/scented items.
- The cache doesn't require going into a commercial business, buying a product, paying an entrance fee, etc., so that it would be "commercial" in nature (intentionally or not).
- The cache doesn't promote a religious, political, charitable or social agenda.
- If a Traditional cache, the cache can be found at the posted coordinates, without going anyplace else or doing anything else.
- If a Mystery/Puzzle cache, the posted false coordinates are no more than 1 or 2 miles from the actual coordinates, and any puzzle can be solved by using information on or derived from the cache page.
- If a Letterbox Hybrid cache, the cache can be found by reference to GPS coordinates, and the container includes a letterboxing stamp.
- If an Event cache, the Event is more than two weeks away, is less than three months away (six months for a national/regional event), is sponsored by geocachers, is open to all geocachers, the primary attendees are geocachers, and the primary purpose of the Event is NOT to organize a group hunt for a cache or caches.
The New Zealand Recreational GPS Society has developed an informal guide to geocaching in New Zealand. It is not meant to be a set of rules, rather a guide towards better geocaching. They are not enforceable.