Gympie gold for the taking - and how to find it
THE Mary River crocodile was no problem for two Mount Isa blokes, Tim Cole and his son Harry, when they got in some gold panning practice this week.
"Harry's not a bit afraid of crocs,” Tim said.
"Being from Mount Isa, he's had plenty of practice dodging them.”
Gold panning proved to be an excellent summer sport for both of them.
As with fishing, it involves cool water and the prospect of winning on your own terms against an unforgiving world.
Another thing the two activities have in common is that they are legal, almost anywhere, as long as you have the necessary permits.
"You can't go on private property without permission,” Destination Gympie Region manager Andrew Saunders said.
But you can go almost anywhere else.
You need a permit, but fortunately they are cheap and available.
Mr Saunders says fossicking for gold and gems is one of the tourism drawcards of the region.
And Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham says everyone is welcome to have a go.
He says Queensland has issued 4561 fossicking licences in the past 12 months. "The first step to fossicking is jumping online to purchase a licence.
"A month-long licence costs a family $11.55 and it is only $8 for an individual.”
Mr Saunders says a lot of Gympie residents go to the public fossicking area at Deep Creek, off Brisbane Road.
"Some people go to Kilkivan,” he said,
Dr Lynham said fossickers should bring plenty of water and wear long pants, in case of snakes.
Fossickers also need to leave the area safe for others. Information is available at Gympie's Visitor Information Centre on the Bruce Highway at Lake Alford.
"We love seeing fossickers strike it rich,” Dr Lynham said.
1. Get a permit
2. Look for hills of shale rock and gather the mud between the rocks. Shale formations act as a natural sluice box and trap gold over the years.
3. Look for deep spots in creeks, holes where gold may accumulate.