Geocaching is the free high-tech treasure hunt where you use your GPS to find caches hidden by other players. It's a great way to be outdoors and enjoy the thrill of the hunt!
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. We use a hand-held GPS, about the size of a mobile phone, to find our quarry.
What do we 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 by most Australians as "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 geocache, 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 also be logged, adding to the wealth of information and a personal history that geocachers are creating.
Cache Listing Sites allow creation and logging of the caches you find. Courtesy asks that if the cache you find is originally listed on one site, then you make your logs on that site.
Geocaching Australia also provides local information and statistics that are not available through Geocaching.com. The Geocaching Australia Forum is 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.