All that glitters is not gold - there's also crystals, topaz, emeralds, sapphires... With a little know-how, you can find beautiful gemstones in south Queensland. For those who don't know how, try guided fossicking experiences for children and newbies.
By Didier Descouens - Own Work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8876953
On the Sunshine Coast, there's Opals Down Under. Located at the Aussie World section of the Bruce Highway, Opals Down Under is a sort of interactive crystal retailer. Visitors can purchase directly from the gift store or fossick for their own in the Opals Down Under scratch patch. Just purchase a container for $8 or $12 and start digging.
There are three fossicking scratch patches, each filled with different materials. The patches also conceal a 'gold nugget' - a chunk of pyrite (fools gold) that's worth $10 in the gift store. Opals Down Under provides educational material on the opal mining process, as well as a fun playground with turtles and dinosaurs.
The prehistoric lava beds of Mt Tamborine hide beautiful secrets at Thunderbird Park, the ultimate amateur fossicking venue. Visitors can purchase a mining license, pick-axe and bucket for either thunderegg (crystal geode) fossicking or crystal panning. Smash them open or have the staff cut them open for you for an extra fee.
Thunder eggs aren't the only thing on offer at Thunderbird Park - there's also a treetop challenge, rainforest laser skirmish, riding trails and wildlife encounters.
By USAID Guinea. - USAID Guinea., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1000
You're now ready to go fossicking in the wild! Before you can start fossicking, you will require a fossicking license and permission from the owner of the land you wish to fossick. The Queensland government has established a number of general permission fossicking areas, most of which are in south-east Queensland:
Deep Creek - approximately two hours north of Brisbane, visitors will have the most luck panning for gold.
Thanes Creek - Thanes Creek is about 40 kilometres west of Warwick and conceals a variety of coloured stones like chalcedony and jasper.
Talgai State Forest - also west of Warwick, Talgai is a must-do for gold fossickers, who can find gold by digging or panning.