Trig points and private property

A few weeks ago I was doing some work to confirm the name of a summit on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide.  The hill is recorded as ‘un-named’ VK5/ SE-016, on the Summits on the Air (SOTA) database.  As it turns out the summit is actually called Black Bullock Hill.  See my previous post…..

What I did find out when researching this summit, was that there was a virtual Geocache located at this summit.  What is Geoacaching?

Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world.


For more information on Geocaching, please have a look at…..

There were references in the Geocaching Logs on the internet, for this summit, such as:

“This trig was just beyond the fence so Mr S decided to quickly climb over.  It was only then that he discovered the top strand was live.  Quickly took a photo and then Mrs S held the strand down with a stick whilst he made the return journey’.

And then last week I paid Noel and Anne a visit at Mount Gawler, where there is also a trig point, and where there is also a virtual geocache.  Again, on the Geocache Australia site, and under the Log notes, I read the following:

‘Arrived to find locked gate and no sign of life at house, so did the climb gate, take photo, high tail outa there trick’


‘Trig point is on a common access road although the gate may be locked at times this means the owner to the property ‘Noel’ isn’t home.  Access cannot be denied but it would be polite to ask, although the Trig point is befoe you reach the house……’

These comments by the Geocachers got me thinking again about the issue of Trespassing, and access to land where trig points exist.


I contacted Geocaching Management via email, and got a very prompt reply from them.  They advised that they had removed these 2 geocaches from the list.  They went on to say:

‘You are correct in that no unauthorised person is allowed to access an area without landholders consent.  The trigpoints were derived from Geoscience Australia and slowly we’ve been weeding out the legally and physically inaccessible ones. Any member has the ability to de-list a trig found to be on private property……….I’ll be posting on our forums to remind geocachers to respect private boundaries when out and about (something they should be doing anyway)’.

I also telephoned Steve, the Manager of Survey Operations and at the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.  I had previously corresponded with Steve, who had previously stated that the land owner:

‘has the right to deny entry to the said trig point to everyone except surveyors carrying out their work…….Land owners are within their rights to deny access to trig points on their land for any prupose other than surveying’.

Only a surveyor or a person authorised by a surveyor, may enter private property, under the authority of the Survey Act 1992.  There is no ‘freedom to roam’ or ‘everymans right’ as exists in the United Kingdom.

I have posted on this topic previously.  You can read those posts at…..

So PLEASE, ignore any RUMOURS you may have heard about being able to access private property.  They are just that, ill-based rumours, which may land you in hot water with the law, and spoil things for other SOTA activators.

DO NOT access private property, unless you have the expressed permission of the land owner.




Wikipedia, 2015, <;, viewed 19th January 2015


4 thoughts on “Trig points and private property

    • Hi Andrew,

      As I mentioned to Ian, there are some guys over here in VK5 who are under the belief that if there is a trig point on property, then they have a right to access the trig point. Not true. I dont envisage them getting ‘locked up’, but what it may do is have a ripple effect for future activations. Most of our summits here in VK5 are on private property and out in the ‘bush’. And the bush telegraph works well, especially in the local pubs amongst the ‘cockys’.



      Best 73,


  1. Hi Paul,

    Before becoming involved in SOTA I was an active geocacher, logging trigpoints on the Geocaching Australia website, As mentioned the trigs were sourced from Geoscience Australia, and to be logged should be approached and photographed on public land. If not they should be archived. I’ve archived some myself after finding out they were on farmland. The wiki entry for trigpoints is

    73 Ian VK1DI

    • Hi Ian,

      I sent off a ‘Support ticket’ to the Geocaching Support Centre, and I must give them a lot of credit, as they responded very quickly and archived those 2 summits.

      There are a lot of rumours going around over here in VK5 amongst amateurs re access to private property where there is a trig point. Sadly it is mostly mis-information passed on by the ill-informed, which may end up landing an amateur in the ‘s…’. And with the possible spin off effects for the rest of us.



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