Frequently asked questions
- 1 General
- 1.1 What is geocaching?
- 1.2 What is this web site?
- 1.3 How do I log on?
- 1.4 Why are there a user name and a caching name? Which is which?
- 1.5 Some people have stars against their names in the forum. How do I get one?
- 1.6 I can't work out all this primary/secondary site stuff.
- 1.7 How do I get my web site on the sites page?
- 2 Listing caches
- 2.1 Where can I find the cache listings?
- 2.2 Why are some listings in bold?
- 2.3 Why are some in gold?
- 2.4 How do I list a cache on this site?
- 2.5 Should I list a cache here as well as on geocaching.com?
- 2.6 Can I put images with my listing?
- 2.7 I've found a cache listed here, how do I log it?
- 2.8 Ok, now I've logged it, does it increase my finds?
- 2.9 Can I log a groundspeak listed cache here?
- 2.10 Are caches mirrored on gc.com?
- 3 Logging caches
- 4 GPX Files
- 5 Swaggies
What is geocaching?
So you’ve wandered onto a web page, read an article or maybe accidentally found a cache somewhere and are now trying to work out what this strange sport is all about.
Geocaching is a loosely organised individual sport relying on satellite technology to show you where latitude and longitude coordinates are within a few metres. Geocachers set off to find coordinates that they have gotten from websites such as this one and when they get there they are rewarded with a find. They use a hand-held GPS device, about the size of a mobile phone, to find their quarry. The search can take from a few minutes to a few hours.
What do they find? More often than not, a lunch box containing a log book, maybe some swappable goodies, and a pencil. Geocachers write a log in the book about their hunt, they may swap something they have for something in the box, always making sure their swap is fair, and replace the container exactly as they found it. The containers vary and may be as small as a film canister or as large as a 44 gallon drum.
But caching (pronounced “cay-shing” – not the American “cash-ing”) is about a lot more than Plastic Boxes – it’s all about getting out and seeing things you wouldn’t otherwise have seen. Some are puzzle based, some take you through several steps before you get to the final point. There are lots of variations and only a few rules.
After finding a cache, finds are logged on the internet as well so that other finders and the cache owner can see what is going on with their cache. Photographs can be logged as well, adding to the wealth of information and a personal history that geocachers are creating.
Sites like www.geocaching.com.au and www.geocaching.com allow creation and logging of the caches you find. Courtesy asks that if the cache you find is originally created on www.geocaching.com then you make your logs on that site – they will flow through and be visible on this site about 24 hours later. www.geocaching.com.au is not only a listing site but provides local information and statistics that are not available through the US site. The Australian forums are a valuable source of information, community and support as well. Don't forget to read the FAQs as well.
Cachers are environmentally conscious – try to stay on paths, not to crush vegetation and leave an area as you found it – if not better. Cache In Trash Out – if you find rubbish on a trail – take it out with you. The best way to a cache is usually up the path until the last possible moment.
Beg, buy, borrow a GPS from somebody, plug in the coordinates and head out – it's the best way to find out what this somewhat odd sport is all about.
What is this web site?
This web site is a forum for Australian geocachers to exchange ideas and a central listing and stats resource for Australian and New Zealand players.
How do I log on?
To use some functions of Geocaching Australia you need to be logged in. Your Geocaching Australia Forum login is uses throughout the Geocaching Australia site. We're working on a nice login screen. In the meantime, you can log in one of two ways:
- Turn on autologin in the forum. When you next log on, select the little box marked "log me in automatically." This is the preferred approach.
- Alternatively, you can enter the forum first. Log in to the Geocaching Australia forum as usual, then click the logo at the top of the screen to get into the main website.
If you are having problems logging in, please visit the Login Test page and post the debug information here with the subject "Login problems".
Why are there a user name and a caching name? Which is which?
Due to the fact that Geocaching Australia is not the same site as the Groundspeak site, you have two usernames:
- Your username on this site (your "Geocaching Australia username")
- Your username on the Groundspeak site (your "Cacher name")
For most people, your two usernames will be the same. For some people, your two usernames will be different. For example, username "Pesky!" has caching username "The GeoMonkeys"
To see what your usernames are, have a look at your cacher page. Follow the link under public profiles on your account page. Setting up your Cacher name
To set up your cacher name, please post a request set up your cacher name with the subject line "Please set up my cacher name as name."
Remember the names are case sensitive. myname is NOT the same as MyName We usually set them up within a day or so. You will see an error message when you make this request. That is normal. Changing Usernames
To change your Geocaching Australia username, update it in your forum profile.
To change your caching username:
* Update it on the Groundspeak site * Wait a day or two so the changes ripple through the feeds * Post your request to change your name with the subject "Change caching name from name to name." * We'll then change the ownership of your caches and logs to your new username.
Some people have stars against their names in the forum. How do I get one?
Stars are awarded (for want of a better word) for cache finds of 50 and over, in blocks of 50. All cache finds an any site can contribute to your count. If you are including finds on listing services other than Groundspeak and Geocaching Australia, please add a note and the site to the comment on the stars request form here. The form has space for two names, your forum name and your caching name. the difference is explained here. These names are case sensitive.
I can't work out all this primary/secondary site stuff.
It's something left over from a few years ago that has caught on. In the words of ideology:
History of the term "secondary site".In September 2001, snifter asked us on the ideology site whether we were going to log our find of her cache on the "main" site. Naturally, we told her that http://ideology.geocaching.com.au was the main site, so perhaps she meant the secondary site, and linked to the groundspeak site. A year or so later, we saw that Jeremy had renamed his site "the official global gps cache hunt site." Our response was "official, my arse!" and promptly renamed geocaching australia "the official galactic gps cache hunt site." This continued for a year or so. After a while we thought that "the primary site" was more punchy so we renamed geocaching australia to that. We think it's quite funny to type geocaching in google and see this site listed as the primary site!
How do I get my web site on the sites page?
Its all do-it-yourself now, driven off your profile.
Log into the forums and click on 'Profile' on the right side of the header area. Near the bottom of the Profile information in the centre section there is an edit box titled Website:, enter the url of your website here (including the http://), make sure the Country/State/Island combo at the top of the profile section is correct.
On March 28 2003, ideology wrote: Geocaching Australia started out when we read Team Chaos' web-site and were distracted by the pop-up ads. So, we thought we'd provide ad-free web space where people could publish their stories in some kind of linked community.
We didn't want to get into the cache-directory game because we liked the idea of a central repository.
Soon after, the Lane Cove cache was removed and there was a flurry of widely distributed emails about ecological damage. We realised that there were local issues that were outside the scope of the secondary site and that Geocaching Australia could help facilitate through a local discussion board, voting and other network-community things.
Two other local discussion boards emerged, and one accidently discovered the Geocaching Australia site, which we hadn't yet announced. Rather than duplicate those, we set up Geocaching Australia as a simple portal with links to all the caching pages we knew of.
We realised that it was dangerous to rely on other sites, so we started building our own database of caches, airports, cities, coastlines, roads, railways, waterways and all sorts of stuff. We soon got a little mapping program which we called the Planner, and linked that into CheatiSearch. They are still ticking along on the site.
Over time we realised that the direction that the secondary site was going wasn't what we wanted to do. It seemed to us that the sport was being dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. So we figured that we should build an escape route just in case the US went off in a different direction.
We started building the infrastructure to add and log caches. We didn't turn it on because we weren't sufficiently annoyed with the US situation. One day one of the Australian cachers suggested we plot all our houses on a map. We turned on that part of the functionality and half a dozen or so cachers put in their home coordinates and saw their waypoint on the map.
We are now modifying the underlying infrastructure to speed it up and support cache setting, logging, etc. We aren't sure whether it will ever be used, but our concerns about the secondary site are growing with their recent unilateral decision to stop moveable caches.
Where can I find the cache listings?
Caches are listed under states on www.geocaching.com.au. When you first visit the site the tab between 'My' and 'Caches' reads 'All'.
Click the tab and select the state from the list on the page. The site uses a cookie to remember your last visited state page and will show that page when you next log in.
Why are some listings in bold?
Caches less than 1 week old are in bold to show they are new caches
Why are some in gold?
Geocaching Australia allows a cacher to recommend a cache to other cachers. These are shown as gold in the listing.
How do I list a cache on this site?
Log into Geocaching Australia, If you are in the forums, click on the logo at the top of the forum page. Click the 'My' tab at the left of the line of tabs in the header, Under 'My Caches', above the list of caches you have hidden is a link, 'Add New Cache'. Click the link and fill out the listing form. The cache status has four options, Draft - I'm still working on this, Unavailable - Temporarily out of action, Available - go find it and Archived - Taken out of the game. If you want to list a cache immediately, select 'Available', If you want to release it at a particular time, select Unavailable and change it when you want it to be released.
Should I list a cache here as well as on geocaching.com?
Its better not to list the same cache on more than one site as it leads to confusion and splits the logs between sites so there is single place on the 'net where you can see a complete set of logs, it also makes the find count and statistics inaccurate and can lead to cachers inadvertently logging the same cache twice. A link to caches listed on geocaching.com will appear on this site, along with any logs.
This has been discussed in a few forum posts. One is here
Can I put images with my listing?
Yes, you can add images to your cache description. They can be hosted in the gallery at gallery.geocaching.com.au, or, if you prefer, your own web space.
I've found a cache listed here, how do I log it?
Find the cache, either by using the state lists or entering any of the cache name, GAcode or owner in the search box in the site header. Select 'Log this cache' from the right column.
Ok, now I've logged it, does it increase my finds?
Well yes, it increases your total finds and the number of finds shown on geocaching.com.au will increase, however the number of finds shown on gc.com site will not increase as they don't have the facility to accept logs from sites other than their own. This is a bit of a non issue as geocaching.com.au can keep track of all your finds, irrespective of the site the cache owner has chosen to use.
Can I log a groundspeak listed cache here?
Although it is technically possible, the majority of cachers believe that it is best to log a cache on the site where it is listed. That way there will be a complete log for that cache at the listing site.
Are caches mirrored on gc.com?
gc.com does not have the facility and infrastructure to accept listings from other sites so there is no indication that the cache exists on that site. geocaching.com.au can track caches that are listed on gc.com and keeps sufficient information to view the cache description on gc.com, log a swaggie into the cache and view the cache location on maps more suitable for local cachers.
Some of my groundspeak caches are missing from the logs
Geocaching Australia collects daily feeds from various sources to collate all of your finds from GPS Games (Shutterspots), geocaching.com and of course any caches logged on Geocaching Australia.
Occassionally a disturbance will occur in the feed which may delay the loading of your logs from GPS Games or geocaching.com into Geocaching Australia.
On infrequent occassions the feeds are missed completely. You will need to read on to see how you can correct this anomoly.
The disturbances are generally rectified within a day or so and most of the time within 3 days. On infrequent occassions the log may never make it through to Geocaching Australia and that makes the faeries sad.
There are a few reasons why a cache log might not be listed on the system:
- New caches and logs: These can sometimes take a day or so to get onto the system. If it's not here within, say, three days, something is going wrong!
- Existing caches missing logs: The feed only provides the latest 5 logs on any given day. If you found a cache on the same day as 5 other people and your logs ends up being the 6th log for the same day, it will be missed.
- Logs which are dated in the past: The feed only provides the latest 5 logs on any given day. If you log a cache and your found log is further in the past than the latest 5 logs it will be missed.
- Archived caches: We are missing lots of archived caches because it's difficult to get their details. We would like to get details on as many as possible.
Option 2: If you are unable to play catchup because you can't create a GPX file or don't use GSAK you can let us know about a missing cache. Please post the details of the missing cache here with the subject "Missing cache: waypoint - cache name" Your message will go into an administration area of the forum and be dealt with within a couple of days. The area is hidden so you won't be able to see your message after you've sent it, but the admins will be able to.
Can I get GPX files of the caches?
Yes, GPX files of caches listed on this site are available free to all cachers on the gpx page. They are dynamically generated to include all the current locally listed caches.
What is a Swaggie?
A Swaggie is a trackable hitch hiker that can be placed in a cache. It has a name and a nickname. You think up the name and geocaching.com.au will supply the nickname in the form of a SWxxxx code.
Can it travel overseas?
Not as yet (well, New Zealand is ok). We are working on a way to allow a swaggie to be logged into a cache not known to us by a person not known to us. A swaggie won't have many issues travelling withing Australia or New Zealand.
How much do they cost and how do I get one?
Swaggies are free to list, there is no requirement to purchase 'dog tags', When you list a Swaggie you will be prompted for a name and password. The password is used by the finder to verify they have the Swaggie. You need to include the password with the Swaggie note. A suitable draft swaggie note is here.
Can I put a travel bug in a cache listed only on this site?
Although it is possible, we would rather you didn't as the groundspeak site does not track a TB through caches it hasn't listed . The TB would 'disappear' as far as the groundspeak site is concerned, eventually reappearing when it is placed in one of their caches again.
How do I add a Swaggie and release it?
Click the 'My' tab on the header to show the 'My Account' page, At the bottom left, under 'My Swaggies', click 'Add New Swaggie'. Chose a name for your swaggie and type it in, fill out the description with the tasks you want to set for the Swaggie and type in the password you want used when the swaggie is logged.
The password is similar to the number engraved on a Groundspeak TB and is entered by the finder when the Swaggie is logged. Once you have saved the page the swaggie will appear on your account page. You can edit the swaggie from that page. To release the Swaggie, select the cache from the listing and then 'Drop a swaggie in this cache' from the log option. There is a draft Swaggie note here.