Where to hunt for nuggets in NZ?

Hi there,
I know NZ is mostly for river/fine gold but where are the best areas for nugget hunting? Any places in general in the South Island?

Not asking for anyone’s favourite spot of course but just a general area would be helpful.

I guess it’s not like Australia nugget hunting at all but where would you head in general to hunt for the bigger stuff?

Any help would be appreciated!


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Most places where you can find fine gold will have the odd detectable size piece. Other than that follow the fine gold upstream and if you go far enough the gold will usually get bigger.

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KFC is generally a bloody great spot for nuggets. I get them now and again there.
McDonalds have got them as well - must be Scottish as they call them McNuggets.


Some of the West Coast fossicking areas are known for nuggety gold. There’s a lot of useful info about those areas on here if you use the search function.
The Wakatipu fossicking areas also have nuggety gold but the amount of iron rich rocks make them very challenging for detecting.


It isn’t hard to do a bit of research & even ask professor Google. Let your fingers do the searching. You will be surprised what you can find out. Here is an example.

JW :cowboy_hat_face:


Of course it isn’t hard to do research but i support that KFC has some good spots

Start with known gold bearing areas and aim for old sluice faces as weathering has concentrated the heavies on the surface.
Where rain has exposed soil and surfaces on hillsides, where sheep have been rubbing against banks.
Look for cracks in the bedrock and freshly eroded banks that has exposed fresh bedrock and has unlikely been targeted before.
Dig every target to start and if you are finding lead and shot etc eventually one of the targets will turn up yellow.
Good luck


You find most places under claim
Stick to public fosking areas

Not very adventurous…but yes do seek permissions and due diligence etc…but as one cop told me in the doc area I was gold panning and detecting in(not scientific) “no one is going to care as long as your not being irresponsible”.
His main concern was poaching of a different sort.
So go for gold :sparkles:

Most claims, dredging, & all public fossicking areas involve creek/river water ways. Detecting gives you the advantage that you don’t need water & can go miles away from creeks & rivers & so avoid being on someone’s claim. Also a much better chance of finding more nuggety gold. Public areas are a lot of hard work & often for stuff all.

JW :cowboy_hat_face:


Thanks for all the info!

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