Find your fortune and visit beautiful destinations while you’re at it.
Located on the western slopes of the New England tablelands, Inverell is sapphire country. There are several privately owned fossicking sites that offer advice and equipment for beginners.
The little town of Oberon can be found in the shadow of the Blue Mountains approximately 150km west of Sydney. It has five fossicking sites with public access, where fossickers can search for sapphires, zircon, gold and diamond.
3. Glen Innes
The most prolific sapphire region in NSW, Glen Innes and its surrounding country is also one of the world’s richest mineral diversity belts. Add to the mix a very pretty town in the rolling hills of New England, and you’ve got a wonderful destination for fossicking.
4. Mount Hope, New South Wales
Ironically named, Mount Hope is a former copper mine that was destroyed by a huge bushfire during the 1950s and has since become a ghost town. Located 120km south of Cobar on the Kidman Way, fossickers can search for rock crystal half a metre below the surface.
5. White Cliffs
One of Australia’s quirkiest towns, White Cliffs is a remote outback post where offensive summer and winter temperatures have driven residents to live mostly underground. This is opal country, and the landscape is littered with craters indicating mine shafts, many still in operation.
6. Lightning Ridge
Known for its colourful local characters, Lightning Ridge in the northern reaches of Outback NSW is home to some of the country’s most beautiful opals. Hobby fossicking generally occurs in the tailings of commercial mining operations where smaller pieces are usually overlooked.
The gold rush might have come and gone, but there are still places to fossick for the shiny stuff around Bathurst. While the historic village of Hill End is closed for fossickers due to its heritage status, the surrounding creeks can prove fruitful.
With a dark history of race riots, Young was once a Wild West-style frontier town where Chinese and European prospectors clashed over goldfields. This history is told through museums and memorials in the town, making it an interesting place for fossickers to visit. There are some sites to try your luck here, too.
The pretty little town of Nundle is located 70km south of Tamworth on the Peel River. It’s hilly, rocky country where a keen eye might just uncover a small fortune in gold. Information for fossickers is available at the caravan park.
Newbies to fossicking will find all the gear and help they need available at Three Creeks Gold Mine at Bingara. Privately owned and operated, this small commercial mine offers camping and guided fossicking for tourists.