Public Fossicking Area Collaboration (12 Mile Creek)

Please feel free to contribute to this tread,any information you would like to share on the public fossicking area (12 Mile Creek) 10 km West of Queenstown.Information may include-vehicle access and parking,track locations,hazards,camping facilities,toilets,accommodation,access and/or local info contact numbers,boundary locations,how bad the sand flies are and last but not least any general locations for finding a little gold.(Or a lot who knows!)

Dont forget to upload any good photos or Youtube links too!!

The more of us who contribute the better so don’t be shy.

This could be an excellent resource for us Paydirt gold seekers!!

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Located close to DOC campsite(12 mile)right on the lake edge.simply beautiful.
Only ever got very fine gold here…anyone else struck it rich here…lol

One of the more poplar fossicking sites, large (100 sites) 12 Mile Delta DOC campsite is located next to the creek on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and attracts large numbers of overseas tourist over the summer. Tap water, toilets, dogs allowed on leash. The creek is an easy 5 minute walk from the camp site. A bush track leads up the creek above the canyon to access a rougher boulder strewn area about 15 minutes walk from the campsite. Best visited after the winter snow thaw. Sand flies are annoying but bearable once you get your first flake.

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12 Mile Creek is a great place for relaxing and finding some colour!

Found 2.2g in day a couple of years back!


I notice on NZPAM that this Public Fossicking Area is in an Area marked Reserve Block E “Prospecting permits for metallic minerals will not be granted or extended over this reserved area”
Does this mean 12 Mile Creek and 5 Mile will no longer be a Public Fossicking Area after March next year (20/03/2020) ??

For dredging above the fossicking area I think, top of 12 mile used to be a separate claim but it was made impossible to work with machinery as QLDC say it is a viable source of drinking water and that unnatural sediment wash contaminated the river! Biggest load of rubbish I’ve heard.

Thanks, I had a few good finds in the Public area with my detector in March this year and was planning to have another go in April next year when im down South, guess I will find out when I get there…

Any photos of the gold you detected in the public fossicking area of 12 mile & what detector were you using? Cheers.

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

Hi When I say “Good Finds” you must keep in mind I am from the North Island and anything I can see with the naked eye is “Good”
Picture isn’t the best taken with Phone total weight was just under a Gram found over 5 or 6 hours with GM1000… unfortunately my trip was cut short after I slipped on a rock somersaulted backwards stuffing back and fully submerging GM1000… surprisingly no water got into it…


Awesome. The Minelab GM 1000 is a great little gold detector. It loves those small/tiny bits of gold.

Good luck out there

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

Yes they must be easy to use if I can find gold with one… I was inspired by Elias the young Swede and the finds he made with his… Unfortunately living in Tauranga NI doesn’t allow me to use the GM1000 very often, I spend a lot of time up the Coromandel but haven’t taken the detector yet, I have panned a few of the streams up there and always find a few specs in the moss… I gather from some of your posts on this and the old Forum you spent a bit of time up that way? in your opinion is it worth having a swing with the GM1000 or would I just be wasting my time ?

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Hi there Julian, I spent many years living in Waihi & Whangamata so the Coromandel was my back yard gold hunting paradise. Mostly just using sluice boxes, panning & crevicing. Definitely gold there to be found. I wont bombard you with pictures as you have probably already seen them if you have seen past posts. I had a ball doing what I did using my own home made equipment. I tried detecting a few times but it is very steep bushy terrain & not detector friendly. Also full of a lot of old hard rock mining iron “rubbish”. Although I did find numerous old pick heads & old shovel heads that are pretty cool & made it home with me. Lot of hot rocks, basalt, so heaps of false signals. They drove me nuts, more nuts than I already am. The detectors I used back then was my Minelab GP 3000 & a Whites GMT. The GMT was a bit more user friendly with its three piece shaft so was easily broken down for back packing in the steep bushy terrain, & with its iron discrimination ID. My GP 3000 also had a three piece shaft but being tethered from the battery to the detector with the curly cord was a real pain in the arse in the bush, plus the extra general weight of the PI detector in the steep terrain.
I am now down in Queenstown & central Otago is detecting heaven. Large open country & far superior gold to Coromandel. Coro gold has a very high silver content so of very poor quality. But I did cut my teeth with gold hunting in the Coro & had many an enjoyable adventure. Gold or no gold. Just the fun in general of adventure & discovery in what the bush has hidden away over the years of mans rape & pillage from the very early days of human endevours in that beautiful paradise. From Kauri logging, Kauri gum & gold mining.
I don’t know how well the GM 1000 would do in the Coro but it sure is light enough & it too breaks down into an easy back packable unit. Having a good iron discrimination too. Those creeks are full of metal crap. So you might like to target areas of old mining locations on the down slope side of the reefs & rich stringers that were worked. I would shy away from the large mine areas & focus on the areas that had the rich little stringers. I wont tell you were those are as half the fun is in the research & then going out there in search & discovery & if you find something the buzz is massive as you have done it all yourself & been rewarded for your effort. Good luck out there & keep us posted.
I am planning a day out tomorrow but the weather isnt looking to be much good. Have woken this morning to snow quite low down on the hills. Bugger.

Best of luck out there

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

Thanks for the reply it has given me the enthusiasm to get back out and have another scrape around, I made a small three part collapsible Sluice to use up there for the small flakes I had been finding, it breaks down from 1M to only 40cm so fits in the backpack quite nicely, I have only used it twice so far once up Corro and once in the hills behind TePuke down stream from Muirs Reef. both times I got colour (Poor pics attached) I have a telescopic pole and wireless headphones for the GM1000 so I will throw it in the pack as well. As you say its making and modifying the bits and just getting out there that’s the fun part, any colour is just a bonus.

Hope the snow clears for you soon


Good on you Julian. Bit of a drive from Tauranga to get up into the Coro areas. Do you do overnighters? I ended up mowing the lawns & doing section work today but the weather is looking great for tomorrow. Just hope the snow didn’t come right down into the gully I am planning on E-Mountain biking into. Your sluice box setup looks ideal. If you dig to bedrock the bigger bits will be down on the bottom. The Coro is full of nice specimen bits if you get into the right areas & the little creeks flowing down out off the higher areas that don’t have much over burden to deal with & plenty of shallow bedrock. good luck.
Sorry guys for dragging this way off topic from the 12 Mile creek Fossicking area down here in QT.

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

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Yes Sorry this is way of topic… Its only an hour and a half drive from Tauranga to Lower Corro, I take the camper Van and stay a few days, I haven’t done any digging to bedrock up there yet only took a small scoop but I will take some heavier gear next time now my interest is re kindled… E-Mountain Biking sounds like a great idea for getting into remote areas down South way more discreet than a motorbike / 4x4… thanks for the all the tips I will start doing some research…

Next time I post something I will try to put it in the correct place, just to bring it back on track here are a few pics I took up 12 Mile last year my first attempt at using a sluice, sorry about the Quality its time I got a proper camera.

12 Mile Creek March 2018


Nice to see you giving Julian some tips JW. I really used to enjoy reading your posts when you were up the Coromandel, certainly tiger country compared to where you are now. Julian I hope we see lots more of your intrepid journeys around the Coro. As JW said research is the key, some of those smaller coro mines were on very rich indeed stringers. As I recall the Geological Reports to parliament were full of details about the coro goldfield, ore crushed, gold recovered. Which tells you the location of those smaller rich leader mines. Some would only crush a few tonnes for exceptional gold recovery. Those reports are hard to find to find these days, but they are out there. A few years back there was a full set on TM. I did have one, but passed it on. and cant remember whom to sadly.

Cheers Trev

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I did have a bookmark for The NZ Mining Handbook, 1867. But sadly lost it a week back when a lightening strike blew my modem and Puta. Its out there somewhere, put it in google which will take you to Hocking Otago University Gold Stuff, I can recall it was stored on a USA site(PDF) and I see that site mentioned there. So there is a lead (A golden One) to start with. It had quite a bit of info about the coro goldfield as I recall. Its actually a great historic read, plenty about the west coast Sth Island and Otago gold fields.

Cheers Trev.

Gidday Julian, A history of gold mining in New Zealand by J H M Salmon covers some coro sites. I will find the link to the PDF in the states that kiwigold mentioned, it is in my phone somewhere. They hold alot of our information over there it seems.

The New Zealand Mining Handbook 1906.
File # cu31924004114637.pdf
Cornell University Library.

ive got a book “thames gold fields miners guide” got a couple of very old maps in it