TASMANIAN TRAVEL GUIDE
Fossicking in Tasmania
Fossicking In Tasmania without Prospectors Licence
There are many localities within Tasmania where interesting lapidary and mineralogical material occur. In recognition of the recreational activity of fossicking, some of the best of these areas have been set aside for the use of fossickers. A prospecting licence is not required to fossick within declared fossicking areas. For more information on prospecting in Tasmania please click here.
Eleven areas have been declared official fossicking areas under the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995 (MRDA) and have been listed below.
These areas, which extend from the ground surface to a depth of two (2) metres, have been set aside for non-commercial use by fossickers and gem and mineral collectors.
Under some circumstances, fossicking areas may be included within an Exploration Licence. A valid prospecting licence is not required in order to collect mineral samples within declared fossicking areas.
Conditions apply to the use of fossicking areas. Fossickers should avoid causing undue damage to the land, and should take only a 'fair share' of material.
Don't be greedy! Fossicking areas are set aside strictly for the use of amateur fossickers, and cannot sustain any degree of commercial collecting.
Please be considerate towards others to ensure the continued enjoyment of fossicking areas for all.
This 9 km2 area is about 90 km SSW of Hobart in southern Tasmania. It is reached via Huonville on good sealed roads as far as Hastings or Dover, and then on fair unsealed roads and forestry tracks. The Lune River fossicking area is nearby. Travellers should watch out for log trucks and forestry operations.
Over an area around and to the southeast of Coal Hill, approximately four kilometres northwest of Hastings. Collecting is best in recently clear-felled areas.
The area yields fine specimens of agate and chalcedony. Some agates may contain geodes with crystalline quartz, rarely amethystine.
This 0.5 km2 area on the West Coast is about 90 km southwest of Burnie and 200 km northwest of Hobart.
It can be reached via Queenstown or Rosebery on the Murchison Highway, a good sealed road. Access to the site is easiest via the Williamsford Road.
There is a turnoff to the west about 4.3 km from the Murchison Highway junction, from where a four-wheel drive track is driveable for about two kilometres before the track becomes overgrown, with fallen trees and boggy patches.
About 3.5 km along the track is a fork, and fossickers should take the western fork for another 500 metres until the mine dump is reached.
This 8 km2 area in northeast Tasmania is about 90 km northeast of Launceston and 250 km NNE of Hobart.
It can be reached on good sealed roads via Scottsdale or St Helens, using the Tasman Highway and Gladstone Road, or via Bridport using Waterhouse Road.
The main collecting area is around the old tin workings from Ah Kaw Creek and Mt Cameron Creek to Alhambra Creek
The area has yielded good specimens of smoky quartz, clear quartz, amethyst, topaz and jasper.
|This 1 km2 area is 30 km north of Whitemark on Flinders Island in Bass Strait, and is reached via air or sea and then on unsealed roads. Because of the coastal location tidal charts may need to be consulted.
The main collecting area is among granite boulders on the foreshore in the vicinity of Diamond Gully (AMG reference 572 500 mE, 5 591 900 mN).
The area yields topaz crystals and pieces (known colloquially as `Killiecrankie Diamonds'), along with smoky quartz and rare zircon and beryl. The main product from this area is the topaz.
|The Lord Brassey mine is located on Brassey Hill, about 17 km west of Waratah in western Tasmania. Access to the 0.6 km2 fossicking area is via a very rough and steep four-wheel drive track heading north from Waratah Road, about 300 hundred metres west of the Heazlewood River picnic area. The mine is reached after travelling approximately 1.5 km along the 4WD track. Most fossicking is done on the dump adjacent to the mine (adit) entrance close to the top of the hill.
This small mine operated on a nickel sulphide occurrence in ultrabasic rocks (serpentinite and pyroxenite). The sulphide ores probably formed during deformation of these rock types, and later weathering converted some of the sulphides into carbonates.
|This 5 km2 area is located about 100 km south of Hobart, and is reached via Huonville on a good sealed road as far as Lune River. A collapsed bridge has made the Leprena Road impassable to normal vehicles after 1.5 kilometres.
Over an area east of Lune Sugarloaf, starting 2 km south from the old Ida Bay township, extending east to cover flats bordering the now disused (old) road to Catamaran.
The best collecting areas are in more open areas, such as recently clear-felled sites. Material is widespread on the surface, in outcrop, creeks and small pits.
|The old Magnet mine is located six kilometres directly west of Waratah in western Tasmania, although access is by a somewhat circuitous route. The mine is reached by traversing an unsealed road (the Magnet Road) leading off the sealed Waratah Road opposite Whyte Hill (on which a Telstra tower has been erected). This junction is approximately 12 km west of Waratah. The track is steep and badly eroded and is best restricted to 4WD vehicles.
The site is important as it is one of only a few accessible locations for crocoite and yellow cerussite.
|This 0.5 km2 area is located adjacent to Lonah Road between Ulverstone and Penguin in northwest Tasmania. The area is about 100 km northwest of Launceston and 20 km southeast of Burnie, and can be reached via Penguin or Ulverstone on good sealed roads..
Jasper occurs as small water-worn pebbles found near to, and between large, dark-coloured rocks which are Cambrian volcanic rocks. Fossickers may collect the loose jasper pebbles but must not damage the rock formations.
|This 2 km2 area is adjacent to the Tasman Highway at Moorina in northeast Tasmania, and is about 250 km NNE of Hobart and 70 km northeast of Launceston. The area can be reached by the Tasman Highway, either via Scottsdale or St Helens.
Sapphire is one of the most sought after minerals in the area, and is moderately common as subrounded to well-rounded grains, usually small but rarely up to a few centimetres in size. The colour is usually a dark blue, but is sometimes green or parti-coloured.
|This 0.5 km2 area, on the shoreline of Bass Strait at Weymouth, is about 200 km north of Hobart and 50 km north of Launceston. It can be reached via Pipers River on sealed roads.
The main collecting area is on a beach west of Weymouth at approximately AMG reference 511 200 mE, 5 460 400 mN.
The area has yielded fine-grained quartz pebbles, petrified wood and some agates and chalcedony, all of which are regarded as important sources of tumbling material for lapidarists.
|The area is about 80km NW of Hobart, and is reached on sealed roads via Bothwell or Ouse, and fair unsealed roads thereon.
Interesting material occurs over most of Tunnel Marsh (AMG reference 462 300 mE, 5 323 300 mN).
Agate, jasper and petrified wood are found over most of Tunnel Marsh and are extracted by shallow digging. The material is generally inferior to that found at Lune River and Penstock.
A prospecting licence allows the holder to conduct fossicking activities for rock and mineral specimens outside of the declared fossicking areas.
A prospecting licence is valid for 12 months from date of issue and the external link below contains all required details and application.
Gold, gold, gold!
Alluvial Gold in Tasmania
If you are considering hunting for a little gold on your Tasmanian trip you may find this free 31 page publication by the DIVISION OF MINES AND MINERAL RESOURCES (in PDF) of value.
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