Fossicking rules and responsibilities

Where you can fossick

This page explains where you can fossick in Queensland and what permissions are required. Remember, no matter where you fossick, you must have a fossicking licence and follow fossicking rules.

Specified fossicking land

Specified fossicking areas have been created to allow easy access for fossicking. In these areas you don’t need to obtain special permission from the landowner.

These areas include:

  • General permission areas - areas where landholders have given general permission for fossicking and camping on specific areas of their properties. Make sure you follow the rules and pay the fee if required.
  • Designated fossicking lands and fossicking areas - areas established by the government in cooperation with local government and landholders. They are signposted and publicised as part of a statewide network to promote local tourism. Commercial mining tenures are allowed in fossicking lands but not in fossicking areas.

Find out more about specified fossicking land:


A boundary watercourse does not require permission to enter. However adjoining owners to a boundary watercourse may have rights over the land to take water or trespass rights. You should contact them for permission before fossicking.

If a watercourse is part of another land tenure, for example a land lease or freehold lot, you’ll need the landholder’s permission.

Also note that additional rules and responsibilities apply when fossicking in watercourses.

Other land

You will generally need the landholder’s written consent before fossicking on any land that isn’t specified fossicking land. Table 1 below shows some common land tenures and who to contact for permission. The next section explains how to find information about land tenure and landholders.

If the land is unoccupied (for example unallocated state land), you don’t need permission to fossick unless:

  • there has been a native title determination over the land
  • the land has been ‘vested’ in another agency and used for a particular purpose.

Researching land tenure and ownership details

Land details

You can get information on a land parcel’s tenure and lot on plan number by using GeoResGlobe. Use this list of abbreviations to help you interpret the information.

  1. Wait for the map to load, then click on Layers.
  2. Click Add layers.
  3. Browse through the list of layers. Click to the right of a layer to expand the selection. Select the tickbox to the left of a layer to add it to the map. Useful layers include Cadastre layers (for land tenure and land parcel information), Native title and Administrative boundaries (to find the local government).
  4. Zoom in to the area of interest using the + tool and/or your mouse.

If in doubt about the tenure of the land, contact the local mining registrar.

Ownership details

Once you have the land parcel’s details (e.g. lot on plan number), you can obtain the landholder’s details by requesting a current title search.

The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations has contact details for native title bodies.

Table 1: Who to contact for permission to fossick

Land tenure

Who to contact

Freehold land


State land leases, licences and permits to occupy, e.g.

  • Freeholding lease
  • Grazing homestead freeholding lease
  • Grazing homestead perpetual lease (GHPL)
  • Land lease
  • Non-competitive lease
  • Pastoral holding
  • Rolling term lease
  • State lease over a reserve
  • Term lease for pastoral purposes

Leaseholder, permit holder or licence holder

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander land

Trustee or leaseholder

Forest plantations

Licence holder

National parks, conservation parks, wildlife reserves, state forests and state timber reserves

Fossicking not permitted

Rail corridors

Department of Transport and Main Roads


Department of Resources

Reserves in the Wet Tropics area

Wet Tropics Management Authority

Resource reserves

Department of Resources

Road reserves

Permission not required for collection. No digging allowed.

If road is a stock route, contact local council

Stock routes

Local council

More information

In this guide:

  1. Personal protection and safety
  2. Where you can fossick
  3. Responsibilities of fossickers
  4. Permitted activities and materials

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