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Whether searching for gold, gemstones or other minerals, fossicking can be a fun and sometimes rewarding experience. Victoria has a rich gold mining past, especially in the areas around Ballarat, Bendigo and Castlemaine. Although the gold rush has long since past, it is still possible to find gold in these and other areas.

Before commencing to fossick or prospect, a miner's right (licence) is required by anyone over the age of 18. This can be obtained online or in person from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) or from designated tourist information centres and prospecting supply stores in areas popular with fossickers. For further information or to buy your licence online, see Earth Resources.

Where to fossick

Fossicking and prospecting are allowed only on certain areas of public land or on private property with the consent of the landowner. Only hand tools, such as picks, shovels, sieves and pans are permitted to be used. Metal detectors are also allowed in most areas.

Fossicking is permitted within certain areas of national and state parks which were mining areas during the 1800s. As well as the possibility of finding gold, there are also relics from the gold rush era to see. These parks are listed below.

Park Nearby or surrounding cities and towns
Beechworth Historic Park Beechworth
Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park Castlemaine, Chewton, Fryerstown, Guildford, Harcourt
Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park Barnawartha, Beechworth, Chiltern, Eldorado
Creswick Regional Park Ballarat, Creswick
Enfield State Park Ballarat, Rokewood, Smythesdale
Greater Bendigo National Park Bendigo
Heathcote-Graytown National Park Heathcote, Nagambie, Rushworth
Kara Kara National Park Avoca, Moonambel, St Arnaud
Kooyoora State Park Inglewood, St Arnaud, Tarnagulla, Wedderburn
Maldon Historic Area Maldon
Paddys Ranges State Park Maryborough, Talbot
Reef Hills State Park Benalla
Steiglitz Historic Park Anakie, Meredith, Steiglitz
Warrandyte State Park Bend Of Islands, Chirnside Park, Christmas Hills, Kangaroo Ground, Warrandyte, Wonga Park

For those more interested in gemstones than gold, the following parks allow fossicking for gemstones in certain areas:

Park Nearby or surrounding cities and towns
Cape Liptrap CP Sandy Point, Tarwin Lower, Venus Bay, Walkerville, Waratah Bay
Great Otway National Park Aireys Inlet, Anglesea, Apollo Bay, Cape Otway, Colac, Forrest, Lavers Hill, Lorne, Princetown, Wye River
Mornington Peninsula National Park Blairgowrie, Boneo, Cape Schanck, Fingal, Flinders, Main Ridge, Portsea, Rye, Sorrento, St Andrews Beach
Warby-Ovens National Park Glenrowan, Rutherglen, Wangaratta, Yarrawonga


Guided fossicking tours

One of the best ways to find an area where there is a good chance of finding something of value is to join a guided tour.