You might not know it, but Victoria is in the middle of its second gold rush. More and more gold is being produced each year, but it's not just professional miners taking advantage.
A growing number of people are exploring the state's beautiful rural areas in search of gold, and there's plenty out there to be found.
A visit here to Sovereign Hill, near Ballarat, will always be a great day out.
But there's even more gold-related fun to be had in regional Victoria.
Recreational prospecting is the perfect activity if you're looking for a new hobby or family activity. Importantly, it's also bringing visitors to regional Victoria, boosting local economies.
Before you start searching, there's a few things you should know.
You're permitted to search for gold and other precious gems in our state forests and regional parks, and the same goes for some national parks, state parks and waterways. Just make sure you check though, before visiting an area.
You can also fossick on private property if you have the owner's permission.
As for the equipment you'll need, you can use metal detectors, hands and hand tools while exploring. But you can't use mechanical equipment or as you might've guessed, explosives.
Prospectors are also expected to take care not to damage the vegetation or disturb any Aboriginal or culturally historic places.
And here's your Miner's Right Permit sir.
Most importantly, you must be carrying a Miner's Right Permit with you.
Now, the name "Miner's Right" actually dates back to the Gold Rush Era, and they are still required to this day by adults searching for gold and gems.
Children must be with an adult who has a Miner's Right. And you can purchase your Miner's Right cheaply and easily at earthresources.vic.gov.au/fossicking.
Victoria is home to an enthusiastic community of recreational prospectors. Many of which are members of the Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria.
They're always happy to help show you the ropes and share stories of their eureka moments.
Before you start your search for gold, learn the rules and make sure you're doing the right things in the right places. Earth Resources Regulation, whose officers regularly check on prospectors and can issue fines for not following the rules, they have produced a new guide to help fossickers.
As well as what you need to know, the guide has some handy tips and advice to stay safe and be successful in your search. If gold fever is taking hold of you, take a look at the guide and play by the rules.
And most importantly, have some fun looking for gold, and make sure you enjoy rural and regional Victoria.
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