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Review: Geocaching in Australia’s Premiere Issue

It’s here, it’s finally here … Issue No 1 of Geocaching in Australia.

At It’s Not About The Numbers, we’ve closely followed developments with the new Australian magazine since publisher James Parr announced his venture just over eight weeks ago. So it should be no surprise that my copy is already dog-earred after repeated readings over a few days.

Retailing for A$6.95 per issue (but currently on sale for A$5.95), Geocaching in Australia is modelled on the design of popular American title FTF Geocacher, which recently celebrated its first anniversary. The 34-page newcomer features articles on travel bugs, school geocaching programmes as well as dozens of cacher-submitted stories and photos from around the globe.

Unfortunately, there’s little New Zealand content – a situation Parr hopes to correct – except for a nice piece on Cumbyrocks and myself.

Sure, the layout and grammar need a little work but considering the short amount of time the South Australian had for production, it’s not too bad (and as a career journalist and paginator, I have a very critical eye in such matters).

When I spoke to Parr last week, issue No 2 was just days away from going to print and he was already starting work on his third installment, which will contain several bonuses for readers.

Overall, he’s pretty happy with his efforts so far, describing the “massive learning curve” involved as similar to finding a difficult cache. And he says everyone who has seen issue No 1 has given good feedback.

“Personally, I am critical of myself and have ideas for improvement but, for a first attempt, I am so proud
and pleased – though not blind to things that did not work as well in print as I would have liked.”

Geocachers worldwide have certainly embraced his venture, with only 20 copies of his first offering still unsold.

“The response has been amazing and is increasingly rapidly – and it is all about the numbers for subscriptions – with nearly 1000 issues posted to the US, Canada, Australia, Germany … and wait for it, one to New Zealand.

“So it has been well above my original numbers, and well above my adjusted numbers. Advertising is also increasing, however I am limiting the spaces available as I don’t want too many pages of ads. It is about the geocaching for me …”

For the record, advertisers in issue No 1 include Groundspeak, Opencaching, Pathtags and British webstore UK Geocachers.

Offering No 2 is “going very well, being done in half the time”, Parr says. There won’t be any “major changes”, he has incorporated “some nice, new features like puzzles, a kid’s cache corner” as well as prizes and giveaways that will be spread between upcoming issues.

“Ones I can tell you about are … (drum roll) some free A4 sketches by a talented artist of your favourite geocaching photo in issues two and three, and some free iPhone apps in issue two. There are other things in the works that are too early to speak of but it’s looking exciting for everyone.”

Since then, Parr has posted the following note on Groundspeak’s forums: “Coming in May … EVERYONE who has taken a year’s subscription will also receive a free travel tag and go into a draw to win a GPS, thanks to a sponsor.”

It hasn’t all been easy with Parr admitting he’s had to overcome a substantial time delay in getting issues back from his printer, which threw out the timing of his second volume.

“Posting of issue one was later than I wanted and therefore issue two will be distributed in the first week of April. Subscribers will get the next issue with a small gap and then more consistently from issue three onwards.”

Plans to bring geocaching’s Holy Grail – the Original Can of Beans – Down Under are on the back-burner, though Parr says he’s still enthusiastic.

“It’s all about time, and magazine and website orders are first priority, so unfortunately I have not been able to get past the early steps.”

For now, he’s more concerned about Christchurch and Japan, voicing his sadness at these tragic events and wanting to congratulate the Australasian geo-community for supporting the GCOIN" href="http://www.notaboutthenumbers.com/2011/01/28/hot-off-the-press-new-geo-magazine/" target="_blank">Kiwi quake geocoin fundraiser.

“The pictures of the events taking place in Japan are awful and I wish all readers my best for all the families around the world affected by these and other disasters. It is good to pause and remember many are doing it very hard with floods and earthquakes etc.”

On a lighter note, Parr is also seeking pet owners to feature in an article for his May issue. While he expects the focus will be on geohounds, he says “if you cache with a parrot or anything else, we’d like to hear from you”.
If that sounds like you and Polly, contact him via the magazine’s website, The Cache Is Out There.

* To buy or subscribe to Geocaching in Australia, visit Parr’s Australian Geocaching Essentials webstore.

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