Hiding a cache

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Defining your objective

Before placing a cache , it's often useful to define your objective. For example, your objective could be to:

  • Share a stunning place or view with your fellow geocachers
  • Boggle their minds with a diabolical puzzle
  • Make them search for a cache in an extremely public place
  • Give them a nice hour or so out of the house

There are many other objectives, all equally valid!

Hiding a cache does mean taking into account some Guidelines (specific to geocaching.com, but often still valuable). Further to this, you should consider Cache hiding best practice.

Geocaching is not just like real estate - location, location, location. It also takes into account the fun of deciphering a puzzle, finding a cache in a extremely public location, taking a trek through 10 kilometers of virgin bush land or anything else that really takes your fancy.

Before hiding you should also consider the ongoing maintenance that your placement may require.

Where do I hide the cache?

When thinking about where to place a cache, try to keep some of these things in mind:

Will it be easy to get to ?

If it is only a hundred meters from a road or path, there's a good possibility that someone (not a cacher) may find and either take or plunder your cache. Try to find a place that will take a bit of time to get to, preferably on foot. Remember, not everyone who caches will have hiking equipment or 4WD access so consider that there are also people who cache with their kids and would appreciate something not too hard. On the other hand there are die hard cachers who would walk 30 kilometers (each way) to get to a beautiful view and wonderful virgin bush.

Will it be easy to find?

If it is too visible, or too close to busy roads, trails, etc. there's a good chance someone may stumble upon it. Don't make it too difficult or rate it accordingly. There's nothing quite as annoying as heading out to a terrain 1 / difficulty 1 cache and finding that you need to bushwack for 250 meters. Or getting to a pile of rocks spread over hundreds of meters and trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. If you hide it well, give enough hints so that the finder has a reasonable attempt to locate it. Hints will be encrypted in ROT 13 format, which is easy to decrypt on the trail.

Will it be on private or public land?

If you place it on private land, please ask permission before putting it there and make sure your cache description says that access is available and permission has been sought and obtained. Some parks and gardens will not appreciate cachers coming into and destroying the vegetation. If in doubt, ask permission. You are ultimately responsible for the cache so make sure you know the rules for the area where your cache is being placed.

Is it a good location?

You should consider a cache in a place that is unique in some way. The big reward for geocachers, other than finding the cache itself, is the location. A prime camping spot, a good picnic area, great viewpoint, unusual location, etc. are all good places to hide a cache.

If your chosen location has a number of features, you may want to place a multi-cache with multiple waypoints that takes finders on a journey to the final cache. Alternatively, you might just mention what's nearby in your listing. One good cache in an area is far better than several low quality ones that only serve to show more of the same. In general, you should not place a cache where there is already one nearby that highlights the area to finders.

Think of your chosen location as a destination, not just a particular spot, landmark or item with coordinates. People finding your cache will see the surrounding area, and if encouraged by multiple waypoints or a suggestion in the listing, will often explore further out of their own curiosity.

Preparing your cache

You need a container. Anything water resistant, snow resistant, sun resistant, etc (depending on your climate), will do. Geocachers have had good success with plastic buckets, tupperware, lock'n'lock, sistema containers, ammo boxes, plastic pipes, etc. You'll also want to invest in some zip-loc bags to put the items into in case your container leaks. This is probably a good idea for your log book, even if you think the container is water proof. The next finder may not reseal the container as well as you hope.

Whatever the container, make sure to mark your cache so that someone who comes across it can work out what it is. Mark the container with http://www.geocaching.com.au, the name of the cache, and any contact information they feel is necessary. More info is better than less. That way if someone finds it they can contact the hider, especially if the cache looks suspicious or is on private property.

Depending on the location and difficulty of the cache you may want to camouflage it.

A logbook and a pen. A small spiral notebook is often the best. Avoid loose leaf sheets as they won't remain in good condition. Put a pen in the cache as well. Not everyone will bring a pen, so if you want a log left, leave a pen.

You should also include a stash note. It's a piece of paper that tells the finder (especially if they're not yet a geocacher) what it is all about. http://wiki.geocaching.com.au/wiki/Stash_note

Lastly, you can put goodies / swaps / trade items / trinkets in the cache. It's recommended, but not necessary.

It's up to you what you want to put in your cache, budget permitting. Try and avoid second hand items or things that the kids or dogs have chewed on. Nasty! Do not put food in a cache! Critters have better noses than we do, and will bite, nibble or swallow your cache in an attempt to get to the goodies. Anything that might cause a fire or be unsafe in the hands of a stranger (especially a minor) should also be avoided.

Placing your cache

When you have determined where you are going to put your cache, go put it there.

When you reach the location to place your cache, the hardest part is getting exact coordinates from your GPS unit so you can use these on a Cache listing website.

Using the hints and tips supplied in the accurate location page as well as a reading and basic undertstanding of accuracy will assist you greatly in determining accurate coordinates. ie. a waypoint.

This will also place you in good standing with the people who will try and find your cache as they can be reasonably certain that the actual cache is within the accepted limits.

Letting everyone know about your cache

Now you need to list your cache online!

For full details, see Listing a cache. But in brief:

There are a number of Cache listing websites, but most Australian caches are listed on one of two sites, Groundspeak (Geocaching.com) or Geocaching Australia (Geocaching.com.au).

We hope you chose to list with us here at GCA, but to help you make the decision that's right for you, check out GCA vs GC.

To list your cache with Geocaching Australia, fill out the Hide A New Cache form. You'll be able to make a good looking cache page with ease, thanks to our Advanced Editor (no HTML knowledge is required!)


Once you place the cache, it is your responsibility to undertake maintenance of the cache and ensure the area around it is not suffering. There are potentially many people who will seek and find your cache. If you notice severe trails being made to your cache location, then you may consider temporarily making the cache unavailable so the area can recover.

You'll need to return as often as you find necessary to ensure that your cache is not impacting the area, and ensure that the cache is in good repair.

When you receive information that the cache has been compromised (eg trashed, washed away, cracked in the sun or snow, etc), please arrange to do some maintenance. If you feel that the area is not longer worthy of a cache, don't just archive the cache and leave it to be rubbish. Retrieve the cache and dispose of it accordingly.

It's encouraged that you should replace the container, clean up the contents, check the log book for usability, check the pen, etc. There will always be more people who will want to find your cache and if it's in good condition it encourages other to follow in their footsteps.

Nasty caches that haven't had any maintenance aren't any fun to find.