I would like to find some gold

I am looking to go on a mission with my pan and river sluice. I was thinking of trying out some of the unclaimed creeks in the west coast, im not too worried about prospecting on crown land but I wouldnt want to step on any claim owners toes without seeking permission. Would anyone have any good rough locations with on foot access that have unclaimed creeks? Or maybe a claim owner would give me permission to have a wee dig around their creek with my hand tools?
I am inexperienced so im not too fazed about getting heaps, but no point working a poor creek.
Just being in nature is a win for me, any treasure is a bonus.
Thank you

Hey Thatfella, I would start by looking at the “public fossicking” areas listed on the Permit map Permit Map - New Zealand Gold Prospecting & Fossicking

There are a bunch on the westcoast. They are not that rich but they all have some gold as they are historically mined areas. You’ll get a bit of colour and its totally legit to do so.

Spots that are richer are normally permitted and permit owners normally don’t mind allowing people to pan or hand sluice if you ask first.

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I have just come from Shamrock creek, plenty of fine gold around

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Thanks for the info, shamrock is on my list for sure. From my research the gold is not too bad for a public site, if you dig deep enough. I have tried panning the lyell and got small bits, it was fun but I got very little . It was nice to yarn to the other people digging around, but id love to go to a non-public gold site and try a richer creek. I think ill try out shamrock next though, is it best to go after a heavy rain?
Maybe if a claim owner in the coast sees this they can flick me a message and we may be able to sort something out this year, i wouldnt mind paying a fee/ box of beers.

how do people on here tend to feel about fossicking un claimed govt creeks?

As some of the wiser fellers have mentioned in the past you used to be able to buy a miners right (well before my time) and prospect anywhere on public land (I believe you still can in Auz).
I’ve never thought twice about it in Otago as there aren’t many fossicking areas although I’d suggest you respect the area (residents and nature), clean up after yourself (holes and rubbish) and make sure you’re not on an existing claim (river dredging and general prospecting claims) or private property. I’d say generally ppl abusing the above are the reason we’re so restricted- that and the government selling our rights to foreign corporations (not having a dig at the wiser fellas :sweat_smile:)

Good luck and enjoy!


Totally agree with Aurum, be respectful to the land and anyone who comes by, cause no damage and don’t make a fuss and if you are just having a scratch around no one in their right mind will mind, and as long as its not a National Park, Private land or a Claim you should be all goods :).

Best of luck, unclaimed creeks can be richer but they are also hit and miss as the public areas even though they are hit harder of course had some insane gold back in the day and if you get an good unmined spot they are as rich as anywhere.


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Respectfully The Sluicer you are giving out terrible advice to Thatfella. Perhaps curb your enthusiasm a bit and use your platform to inform people of the rules.

Fossicking is limited to the active stream bed only. Anything other than public areas is illegal.

I found you tuber Nedonrocks hole up Goldsborough last week. Miles out of the creek, miles out of the public zone. All that does is give authorities ammo to further ban and limit activity.

Perhaps you should drop into the doc office in Hokitika and explain your new rules to them, lol. Peace.

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thank you for the info, it is defienetly as I expected. may as well explore our land here in NZ i reckon.

Yeah i figured people wouldnt mind in reality. I might first just go in with a pan and test multiple spots that i can access rather than working spots as i find them, and ill start creating a list .
There is so much land out there , theres got to be some pretty good spots.
Are there many unmined spots around the goldsborough site?

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I am aware of the governments “rules” , i am not too concerned about them if using hand tools, as long as I leave no trace and stick to unclaimed and public land.
I think filming yourself and uploading it is probably looking for trouble though.
Thanks for the input though.

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It is simply how I feel about it (as per the question) and I think is fine advice, technically you are not aloud to take rocks out of a river or divert any water way but that does that stop people from digging a swimming hole, or taking some gravel home for their garden? No, and it shouldn’t stop people from safely gold panning either, and as a matter of fact I have talked to multiple Doc rangers based out of Hokitika and Greymouth some of which I have even met on the river and all of them I have talked too about it think the rules are ludicrous and they support panning, my dad and I even had a joke to a Doc guy down at the Milford track in fiordland and said “you should lend gold pans to people on the track” (we said it as a joke) and his response was no “No thats not aloud” it was “Thats a great idea! We should starting doing that for sure!”, and every single person I have talked too about it in real life, friends,family or otherwise all think the rules are ludicrous and should be changed, if the system was fair claims were actually reasonable to get and not tens of thousands of dollars maybe my views would be otherwise, but thats my opinion on the matter.

Yours respectfully - Dillon

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Cheers bro, in the site itself, you can find untouched ground but 90% of it has been cleaned out as its such a popular site, you can get a gram or if your really lucky maybe two a day if you are digging all out but finding those ultra rich virgin spots is very difficult. Outside of the site and its tributarys (as most people venture up those too) im sure there is plenty of unmined ground, however be careful as there are also a lot of private claims there.


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Yeah, we are welcome to disagree with each other , that should be expected on forums like this one. We all have unique brains, so we all calculate things differently.
We all have different philosophies when it comes to the “law”, and whether or not you choose to be bound by it.


Id be more than happy with a gram a day to be honest. Ill definetly check it out when im in greymouth later this month

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