I had a similar incident a month earlier with a cache of mine in Victoria (Brisbane Ranges National Park).
The common thread to come out of these two incidents was they both occurred on National Parks land.
Thankfully, Victoria is more tolerant of Geocaching than its northern cousins, who have banned it.
In the past two weeks I have spoken with contacts that I have in both the Victorian and NSW Parks services to assess the state of play.
In short, Parks Victoria are aware of the practice and will tolerate it. However, they prefer that geocaching does not take people off the trail or damage the environment. Caches hidden in rock over hangs, or holes of some description are OK, as long as they are on or at the end of track.
Of course, the ranger of that park would like to know in advance and may prevent you from hiding it, or ask you to place it elsewhere, if they so choose.
While it works for the moment, it does seem to be a complicated procedure. I am still in contact with the ranger from Bacchus Marsh and am hoping to clarify the situation soon. Victorian geocachers may have more to add or dispute here.
Victorian geocachers may have more to add or dispute here.
In NSW, the situation is very different. Offically, geocaching is banned. I contacted my good friend at NSW P&WS to find out some internal background on this issue. Here is some of what they said:
The Geocaching Policy (due for review in August 2005) has just been reviewed and the policy position has not changed. However, geocaching has been split from the Orienteering and Rogaining policy, and now has a separate policy. The geocaching policy is unlikely to be reviewed for another five years unless there is a major issue.
Geocaching is 'a bit of a headache' for park officers, because there is NO PEAK BODY to talk to when reviewing the policy.
It has been suggested you make a submission when the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation goes out for public comment - probably in the middle of the year.
You may be able to get a clause added to the Regulation so that goecaching might be permissible with consent.
For example, even though the Regulation forbids gatherings or activities of more than 40 people, and forbids sporting activities or organised activity, there is a clause in the regulation to allow rogaining and orienteering events - with permission.
When I discussed this further with my contact, the key point that came out was the lack of an Association.
Now while there are no guarantees on what a representative association would achieve with NSW P&WS (or other bodies for that matter), there is no way one can get past step one without forming such a body.
Therefore I propose the formation of a Geocaching Australia Association to represent the geocaching community in matters such as those listed above.
What the association would do, who it would be made up of, what it would produce is still up in the air. The main aim of it is to present a list of ideas to the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service, to get some form of geocaching allowed in their region.
One criticism of forming such an association would be a fear that such a body would be seen to place controls on geocaching, which is currently seen as free and open.
While there may be some merit in that, the reality is that geocaches should only be placed in locations that have the permission of the landowner.
I envisage that the association would not have the power to archive or remove caches that fall outside the law or its guidelines.
Depending upon where a geocache is listed, this would be the responsibility of the geocache owner and/or approver.
It is not an enhancer, more a messenger/point of contact. Its role is to act as a representative body in discussions, develop guidelines and promote best practice.
Please be constructive in your comments and do not flame or shoot down any ideas.