Public Fossicking Area Collaboration (Arrow River)

Please feel free to contribute to this tread,any information you would like to share on the public fossicking area (Arrow River) Arrowtown .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!!

By all accounts there is still some gold in the Arrow,a local told me the a series of floods spread overburden at least a meter deep in some parts so you will need to dig deep.
Arrow area is an excellent place to hang out ,shops for mum,good motor camp near by,plenty of places to check out however make sure you don’t stray from the public boundarys as much of this surrounding area is claimed.


Still plenty of gold in the arrow if you know where to look


Seen a lot of fossickers come up with nothing can you give us a clue on how to find a little gold or are you going to tease us with these awesome pic’s of beautiful chunky gold …so cruel!!!

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Is that a bit of silver aswell?
Arrow & Shotover are notoriously rich rivers.

Mercury amalgam I’ve been told, I find a bit like that only in certain area

I think most people’s mistakes are made on arrival to a river, everyone is so keen to get the sluicebox in and dig to China. I prefer to walk and pan until something crazy happens in the pan, you notice areas that may contain more lead shot than others or magnetite ect.

A lot is luck as well though! the top pic I posted was 48 grams collected after work for a week just a couple of hours a day, A couple of us stumbled across a bank right next to town that just produced pickers instantly from get go, the total area of bank that was producing gold was maybe 5 meters long - either side nothing. We came to the conclusion that the council contractors had just used diggers to form the bank using the gravel in the arrow right in front of us and must of just hit a honey hole. I don’t quite know what the 2 other guys got out of it but one fella was there full time for a few weeks, I imagine he got quite a few ounces more than me, I’d say totally there may of been close to 200g out of that bank over the week. The most amusing thing to me was the fact that everyone who has ever been to the arrow has walked past this seemingly innocent bank, prospectors seem to get this urge to keep heading upstream to find the spot x, but everyone is thinking the same thing - “they’ll be nothing down the bottom it’s to easy to get to” so it goes unchecked for years.

It’s an interesting river to work as your pestered by Asian tourists and the like, being so close to town, I’d hate to imagine the amount of pictures I’m in with the sluice and shovel people were literally taking their trousers and shoes of to wade over to me and see what I was doing. I just give it the old cleaning the stones for the tourists speech now.


Thanks for that Gav,very interesting,wow I would have taken the week off I think…lol,yes I too had written off anywhere close to township and always headed upstream,just goes to show you never know.
So prospecting/sampling looking for clues by pan still the best way…makes sense.
Probably a good technique for all the fossicking areas.
Gavzilla the official Arrow town stone cleaner…crack up!

Spent a few days with the detector in and around creeks around Queenstown with no luck. So headed to the Arrow. First afternoon I just went for a wander up stream with pan and detector. Nothing.

This is a river that was totally hammered. Every where you look huge holes had been dug. There have been some very industrious people on there.

Next day went out with sluice and shovel. I headed out may be 500m from town - just around a few bends and away from likely tourists. Found me a spot of bedrock where people had dug either side so decided may as well give that a show. Set up my sluice and started digging.


Spent a couple of days digging down into the river. If I had been there longer I would have worked more up/down the edge. Managed to get a wee bit of colour each bucket.

So after two days, how do I rate it? Great! Loved how close to the car park spots are. A very easy walk to wherever you want to go. (Quite the contrast to useless 5 mile Creek in Queenstown). Lots of little river rocks. Yah - no need for the 2m wrecking bar to move these suckers. Bitey critters - there are a few and they just love the bits of exposed skin I had. Only negative is there si a fair bity of black sand - some bigger grains and a fair bit of wee stuff. So takes a while to sort at the end of the day. Overall a very nice spot.

And best of all I got some colour for 2 days work.

It was my best effort yet - so quite pleased with myself.

Overall - I’d rate this better than the creeks on the west coast.


You are right about the Arrow being hammered this year, I went in the same spot as you a few weeks ago and it’s never looked like that before. There was a creepy hobo guy living in the bushes who kept asking us if we were undercover cops! He did a massive rant about being locked up for 18 months for attempted murder, he made all the massive dams in your photos. We decided not to go back up and spent the rest of our time ebiking to brewery’s and wineries instead so not a wasted trip :slightly_smiling_face:. It not fair that with so little public areas available that nothing gets done about people like that.

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I might have met the same hobo. Or it was another. This guy got caught camping so was doing three trips to shift his hammock some way up the river. He’s there apparently for another three months and then he’s off to Auckland to go begging on the streets. He was gold hunting but no idea how much he found

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Yep that would have been him, he was camping just across from where he was digging. He’d been there for ages and showed us some of the bigger bits, reckoned he had got nearly 20g. My Mrs loves running the sluice up there every year but his creepiness put her right off! Looks like you got a bit for your efforts, that black sand is a challenge alright. Great work on putting where you have been on the forum, always a good read :+1:

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After 30 years panning the Arrow all I have to add is… the gold be where it be… don’t dig deep unless your on a good crack which may not have any gold in it all day until the last shovel which will make you fall backwards into the river. Look for irregularities and features in the bedrock that are natures riffles and follow them into the river esp into rapids…and always take a good magnet… some lucky finds have been made over the years with tourists obtaining some nice bits and first time panners striking it very lucky right out in front of the town and we cant forget 9oz nugget man Arrowtown gold nugget sells for $15,000 - NZ Herald
And Alan Hamilton found all my nuggets there pioneering sniping during the 1960s (see Hammy,s Gold)
Coming up this year is the NZ Gold Panning Championships, Saturday 24th April, probably at Butlers green will post confirmation when it arrives.


Well Lepresean - l have just walked in the door from nearly a week away in the hills with one of the genuine guys from here plus 90z nuggetman who will be with me for a week or two again shortly. You couldnt wish for better company than I have had these last days.

There is still plenty of gold in the Arrow. This is 1/6th of an afternoons take in the Arrow, 31.6 gram or one troy ounce, though not yesterday and it shows just what can be found there for those diligent enough to do their homework and work hard. There is more there and I have no doubt that there is better there.

My uncle also got 8 ounces in one afternoon just under the Main Road river bridge in the Arrow back in the 1960s. Unfortunately he was very open and liked to share his success with others so it was never a secret and as a result others were quickly indulging in the mining business.

For those who may be concerned rest assured - it was NOT taken from anyones claim!


He is still there just hiding deeper in the bushes, been there since before Christmas.

Do people bother heading downstream when they visit here? I’ve found bigger and larger quantities of gold at the very start of the fossicking area just in the park at the town, nice bedrock there to that a digger went through last week cleaning up the tracks


Does anyone know much about Bush Creek that comes into the arrow there at the fossicking area. Its the first little creek that you drive through at Butlers Green.

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It’s a private claim


I parked in eh China town area. So had a choice of going up or down stream. A 50/50 call. No info on this forum about downstream so up stream seemed as good an option as any.

If that stop bank is new, then definitely worth digging in front off the town. ( I had no idea how long it had been there for. That’s the trouble with not being a local.

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If you’ve outside the old China town area then your on a private claim is my understanding according to Gavzilla. Thats part of Bush Creek which has the permit on it.

I looked on the permit map on this forum and you can go up river a bit