Where to Find Gold in New Zealand

'Every person shall have the right to mine for gold in a gold fossicking area by means only of non-motorised hand held tools’—Crown Minerals Act 1991, 98 (3)

Download a map of New Zealand showing where gold can be found (88kb Adobe Acrobat Reader *pdf file).

If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader, download a free copy.

Detailed regional maps can be found in our book, Gold for the Taking, and many essential details about how to get to Public Fossicking Areas.


Although the Coromandel region is gold-bearing, there are no Public Fossicking Areas.


Nelson-Marlborough :
AorereRiver, Baton River
near Motueka, the
Wangapeka and Rolling Rivers, the Rainy River, Owen River, Sherry River, and Tadmor. Only the Aorere has a Public Fossicking Area.

Aorere River Golden Bay, North-west Nelson
Two areas of the Aorere River are available for fossicking. One near the confluence of 15 Mile Creek and the other near Walsh Creek.

Whakamarina River
There are no Public Fossicking Areas on this river, however, the Pinedale Motor Camp, a few kilometres from the Canvastown turnoff, has a licence for recreational fossicking with a gold pan ($3 to hire) and sluice box ($10).

Glenhope Scenic Reserve (the Howard Goldfields)
There are two Public Fossicking Areas in the Louis and New Creeks of the Howard Valley, and New Creek.

West Coast Fossicking Areas
Lyell Creek
, Stony and Britannia StreamsSlab Hut Creek, Moonlight Creek, Nelson Creek, Jones Creek, Waimea Creek, Shamrock Creek, Waiho River .

Shantytown, at Rutherglen near Greymouth, is an historic gold town. It offers gold panning for a fee, with gold to take away.

No Public Fossicking Areas in Southland 

Five Public Fossicking Areas have been designated by Crown Minerals in Queenstown: Twelve Mile Creek, Five Mile Creek, Arrow River, Shotover River-Queenstown Lakes District, Gabriel's Gully (2005). The maps of Gabriel's Gully are in the 2010 edition of the book and can also be downloaded from this site  here and here.

Be aware that you should keep to Public Fossicking Areas. What we have said about the occurrence of gold is for background only. If you want to make a claim, that is outside the scope of this website, book and DVD

Area Location Size (ha) Facilities
Nelson-Marlborogh and West Coast
Aorere River A 15 km S. of Collingwood 9 Picnic, swimming
River B
30 km SW. of Collingwood 41.5 Picnic, swimming
Lyell Creek 30 km W of Murchison 2.2 Picnic, camping
New Creek 5 km W of Rotoroa 9.9  
Louis Creek 4 km W of Howard 4.95 Interpretation panel
Moonlight Creek 27 km NNE of Greymouth 14 Camping
Nelson Creek 26 km ENE of Greymouth 5.25 Picnic, camping
Jones Creek 0.5 km SW of Ross 3.47 Picnic, camping, walkway, visitors centre
Waiho River Franz Josef National Park 17.5  
Shamrock Creek 14 km NE of Hokitika 8 Picnic, camping, shelter, fireplaces
Slab Hut Creek 7  km SW of Reefton 3.85 Picnic, camping, walking tracks, fireplaces
Stony and Britannia Streams 17 km NE of Westport 6.4 Picnic, camping
Central Otago      
Twelve Mile Creek 10 km W of Queenstown 11.5 Picnic, historical gold workings, camping
Five Mile Creek 5 km W of Queenstown 9.9 Swimming, walking
Arrow River Arrowtown 10
Shotover River 2.5 km from Franktown 9.6 Wildlife reserve
South Otago      
Gabriels Gully 3.9 km from Lawrence