Metal Detectiing for Gold in Queenstown and Arrowtown

Hey guys,

First off, I’ve been reading a lot of these threads and it seems like a really helpful community here.
Okay, I just wanted some advise with metal detecting for Gold in the arrowtown/arthurs point area. I am a novice, Ive been out a few times now with no luck. I’ve done research and know where gold travels in the river, so have been doing those areas in the corners.
I wonder if its worth heading up into the mountains, in the valleys/ridges? Can nuggets still be anywhere on the flat ground in Arrowtown near the river? Does schist act as bedrock, can gold be trapped in the cracks?

Apologises of the bombardment of questions, just wanted some knowledge.

Thank you

Someone is sure to have some advice shortly.

Just becareful where you go, a large swarth of that area over the hills all the way to Glenorchy is tightly claimed. Check NZ PAM website

There are many detectorists all over that area.
You might try thinking outside of the box. Get into a little known park or reserve, where someone has not detected the corners and a nugget may have been waiting for you to rescue it.
Some fresh ground is another good one, any roadworks? Ask them if you can detect their workings, or if a tree upturns - get in there!

1 Like

Go hard Outlaw. Show us ye finds.



Hi there, most easily detected gold was picked out of the arrow and shotover areas a long time ago, unless you have the latest detector with all the bells and whistles you’ll just end up feeding the sand flies. That’s not to say the odd nugget is still about though . but apart from a few small creeks all of the rivers from glenorchy to Cromwell are privately claimed and most guys take it seriously. Once you go out of the claim areas then your into mutt langes land and could be prosecuted (see previous posts about the new gold sheriff about)
Honestly you will have no chance around the public fossicking areas as it gets turned over on a daily basis and is full of trash. Your best ( and realistically only) bet is to find land owners who will give you the nod. Or just take the risk and walk the mountains!

I know a guy who has found nuggets on the top of skippers saddle, if you do your research right then the possibility of finding a good spot still exists.

In my opinion you’ll find more treasures down on Queenstown beach with a detector than in the hills.

Good luck, I hope you find a spot. Most don’t around here. Try looking further afield -central otagos hills still have good virgin ground if your prepared to walk hard.


Cheers for the reply’s fellas, It seems like might have to do some hiking into the unclaimed hills. Thanks for all the info, will update if I find anything.

It could be said that the best areas are yet to be worked. Most people have no imagination and follow the sheepies just like sheepies! Most claims are in larger rivers and streams and yet some of the best places I know of are not even looked in.

Recently I know of two tiny streams that have yielded some great nuggets, many more than a gram, and yet they are not frequented nor fossicked by any one. Just because it is a small creek or stream it does not mean good gold.

Many farmers would be happy to let you have a fossick with a detector - you never know until you ask.

YOUR nugget is awaiting you - do some research as to what is claimed and what is not claimed, then find a wee creek nearby, ask the farmer and then go get YOUR nugget.


Gavzilla has a good tip there - if there is a heap of junk in the arrow and no one else is bothering - you could go hard, take all the junk out, and hopefully someone has missed a sizeable nugget amongst all that junk.

1 Like

Hi the outlaw.
When I first started detecting in this area (years ago) I made a lot of mistakes. The sad truth is that as stated many times in many posts, the only place you can legally prospect in Queenstown area are the 4 fosiking sites listed on nzpam website. Even if you are not in someone’s claim or private property, you are still breaking the law. When I realised this I almost gave up. I am happy I didn’t. There are many, way more experienced people on this forum than me, but for what it’s worth, here is my advice to you:

  • go to the fosiking sites. It would take a person years to properly search everything and even than, the sites are changing permanently (river, fallen trees, rock slides). Also yes, there is a lot of junk, but it would teach you how to make the most out of your equipment.
  • stay on this group. Make friends. Create positive long term relationships. Tag along with more experienced members.
  • ask for permission to prospect on private land. You will get allot of no but also some yes. DOC has most of the time the contact numbers of land owners in the backcountry.
  • get permission to prospect on someone’s claim. In my experience this is way harder than getting permission to prospect on private land but you never know.
    Stay legal, stay safe and prospecting will bring you some of the most rewarding memories :slight_smile :slight_smile: