Travellers flock to the Australian outback for many reasons, one of them being the fossicking opportunities! The Northern Territory is renowned for having a wide array of high-quality gemstones and minerals just waiting to be found. Not only is it a fun way to see the area, but you may find amethyst, gold, garnet, or one of the various other treasures here. Here are some of the top fossicking locations near Alice Springs.
Located around 100km east of Alice Springs is the historic town of Arltunga. Arltunga is best known for the discovery of alluvial gold in a dry creek bed there in 1887, and now attracts plenty of visitors who want to fossick for gold. The fossicking area is located just outside of the reserve, and you must obtain a permit beforehand. When you tire of panning for gold, you can also explore the remains of old mines, miners camps, and preserved stone buildings.
Head north-east from Alice for around 150km, and you will find yourself at Hart’s Range. The central Hart’s Range fossicking area is home to the abandoned mica mines of Mount Palma. There are plenty of mullock heaps to search for garnets, pegmatite, and other gems. There are several mines in this area, and each one is home to an exciting array of unique discoveries. Head to Benstead Mine for smoky quartz, Painted Canyon Mine for blue quartz, and Spotted Tiger Mine for muscovite and garnet, to name just a few options.
Harts Range West is another popular, mineral-rich fossicking area. Enjoy the spectacular view of the mountainous backdrop as you hunt. The main find here is Almandine Garnet – a deep red form of garnet. Here you may find well-shaped specimens, measuring up to a few centimetres in diameter.
Mud Tank Zircon Field also lies in the Harts Range area and is well known in the fossicking community for its zircon – a semi-precious Australian gemstone. Discover zircons in an array of different colours, including orange, light brown, pink, purple, and yellow. Apatite, magnetite, and martite can also be found here.