Public Fossicking Area Collaboration (5 mile Creek)

Please feel free to contribute to this tread,any information you would like to share on the public fossicking area (5 Mile Creek) 5 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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Quite tricky access to this creek,limited car parking amongst a series of blind corners.
Found best gold flakes on flatter part of stream 50mtrs above bridge,one of the most beautiful areas in NZ.
Anyone got gold here?


Can I just thankyou Mal, for all the work that you,ve done putting all this together. Great job.
Cheers X-Terragold


yep well done mal and some useful comments coming in about the various sites to.

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A bit more detail on this closeup map

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Headed up five mile for a long day today. Gotta say what a dead loss place this is. Nothing like our creeks on the west coast.

Lets start with the access track. There is none. Heres my tracking

What about walking up the creek. No chance - too many waterfalls and debris. Are there bitey critters?- some but not many. Is it easy to carry a detector and walk up stream. No.

So I got up the first few hundred meters. Found quite a lot of holes that people have been working. Went a bit further up and came across a pile of pipe. I assume someone has been dredging.

Some where around here I found an old head of a sledgehammer - I have left it there for the next person.

Went up a bit further and got a nice solid #4 hit on the Nox. Dug down a bit and ended up with a bit of iron. Oh well onwards we go.

What may be called a track ( I prefer to call it a shist hillside with bugger all stability I came to an end. Except for a bit of a cliff and a rope. Very tricky going down that with a detector and a pan!

Getting to about the 1km upstream point I decided to base my self there.

Tried the usual tricks. Detectoring. More iron

Digging to base rock. Nothing
Panning gravels and sands. Nothing (though I may have one wee flake but I can’t be bothered checking snuffer bottle.
Scraping out crevaces in rocks and trees stumps. Nothing
Panning out miners moss Nothing.
Deteckting - in rockpools, under water falls, under big rocks, under stumps, along the edges, up banks, Nothing!

This was pretty much untouched ground - there was loads of moss covering loads of stuff. But nothing.

At end of day I stil lhasd the detector on. Yet another hit - but bit different this time. A#12. Pulled out an odd green tag. And yet more iron

Then I got lost on a bit of non existent trail. And finally a get something. A pair of sunglasses lying in the underbrush.

And that was my day. I won’t be back. (I’m not even sure how gold gets down to the bridge. There are so many rocks and holes and waterfalls upstream for anything to fall into.

Good luck to others _ I reckon this is what you need. You might need to go five miles up the creek.


Yep it’s tough up there. Def gold up there tho. U didn’t go down the rope?

I pulled the sledgehammer head out of the creek the other week and didnt want to carry it back so left it for you to see as you walked by! to the end. Either go back or down. So I choose down

I’ve pretty much sniped that river from top to bottom over the years there can’t be much gold left. The very top of the claim gets interesting but it’s a long walk in unless you know the right people for access up top.


Hi Guys, Im down in Queenstown with some friends this weekend and might have time for a fossick.

Is it possible to access 5 mile from Pine retreat road?

Im thinking 12 mile may be the go but who knows.


im pretty sure its private road up there but worth a look

No you can’t get access, there is a track behind a house but the owner is a complete dick and will call police on you. P.s he is illegally taking water unconsented from the creek so if you do see him give him a wind up. Even if you get to that spot you’ll need a chainsaw to get close to the creek lots of wind fall all through the upper gorge section, easiest way to get to very top is moke lake road, find the station manager and walk the track. It’s still a long walk for potentially nothing - when I sniped the top the chunky gold was much further down.
Gold in the 5 mile is like the 12 mile and not eroding from river seams but enters from side terrace gravel deposits.
If you read the papers past report about 5 mile all the gold mined in the olden days came off the terraces to the GY side of the creek, that is now alpine retreat subdivision and impossible to access, the reporter likened the gold deposits to those coming out of Stoney creek and said it would of been one of the richest gold bearing grounds in the Whakatipu.
If you head down stream to the lake you may find colour, once at the lake you’ll see the old timber posts in the lake that once was the platform of the first commercial gold diving operation in NZ possibly the world?
The divers were dropping down the sheer wall faces trying to recover gold on lower shelf terraces, there’s not much information on how much was eventually recovered as the company went bust.


Now that you’ve sniped all the gold in 5 mile, and the area was very rich, did you make any amazing discoveries?

I don’t think I’ve found all the gold, half the gorge is blocked with trees and beyond saving without a trifor winch or something.
Pretty handy when it’s right behind my house though it’s one of those spots where you think you’ve done it all then go back and get more, I found several “treasures” up there including lots of old tools, a pick head still stuck in a rockface, spade heads ect…
My favourite apart from big nuggets obviously was inside an old shaft, I found a pocket knife that’s fairly good condition considering it’s likely 100+ years old.
Also a hidden campsite up on a horrible scraggly terrace with all the cooking equipment still scattered around, piles of old glass bottles and tins thrown in a cave face with some old hob nail shoes.
Sometimes these treasures are better than the gold for me.


Awesome thanks a heap for the heads up, went up 5 mile, detected with the GPX for about an hour, got one nice target, just turned out to be rubbish, heaps of hot ground. Didnt manage to get too far up though. Then proceeded to test pan about 5 bends and crevices, to not even a spec, we then punched a hole to bedrock sluicing in a really good looking spot, sucked off all the bottom etc, and got about 4 flakes so decided to call it quits. Went to Twelve mile the next day and didn’t get a single piece of dust, mind you spent most of the time detecting and this was way up, got some nice targets but all rubbish and then the most promising one the crevice was just too hardpack and too deep for us to clean it out before we had to leave. Hoping to try again in future as they are both some really cool looking streams.

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As a tip for researching public legal access you can use the Public Access Layer info layer on - handy for finding paper roads etc. that may cross across public property that you are legally allowed to use for access. Unfortunately there’s nothing useful for alternative access to Five Mile Creek…

I’ve been challenged before while crossing private land and have had no problems when I’ve mentioned I’m using the paper road / marginal strip / etc. but it’s not guaranteed as many land owners probably aren’t aware of the legal access. So be careful and friendly about it and hopefully you’ll have good results too.