Golden prospects over Melbourne Cup weekend 18 December

At a time when many of us are thinking about a golden cup, this weekend is a great time to get out in the Victorian bush to search for a hidden nugget on the back of a recent large discovery in western Victoria.

Last week a nugget weighing 119 grams was found just below the surface between Inglewood and Wedderburn by two prospectors using a metal detector. One of the men was trying his hand for the first time.

In February a prospector using a metal detector discovered a 4.6kg nugget in Victoria’s Golden Triangle in the state’ central west. The find was valued at around $240,000. A gold nugget worth about $200,000 was also discovered in the same area in 2019.

In Victoria, hobby gold hunters must possess a miner’s right, allowing them to keep any gold they find. There are over 83,000 active miner’s rights in Victoria and the rush to get involved shows no sign of slowing with almost 10,000 purchased during 2023. A miner’s right can be purchased for $27 from Services Victoria.

With more Victorians hunting for gold, it’s important that prospectors are doing the right thing, keeping safe and protecting the environment. The Earth Resources Regulator’s inspectors frequently check that prospectors are licenced, panning in permitted areas and complying with environmental safeguards.

It is important prospectors understand the access requirements of their location, keep up to date on weather forecasts and are aware of local road conditions. They should always tell someone where they are going, when they will return and should always be beware of any old mine shafts in the area.

Fossicking and recreational prospecting is permitted in state forests and in designated areas of some national, state, historic and heritage parks. The use of mechanical equipment or explosives is not allowed, vegetation and Aboriginal objects must not be removed or damaged.

Prospectors must also obey all other public land rules, including driving only on public tracks or roads, taking all rubbish home, and immediately restoring the area by backfilling any holes and replacing leaf litter.

The Earth Resources Regulator has produced a Guide to Recreational Prospecting in Victoria and a helpful video, both can be accessed by visiting

Quotes attributable to Earth Resources Regulator Executive Director Anthony Hurst

“Recreational prospecting has a long and rewarding history in Victoria and can result in Eureka moments, with valuable finds made in recent years.”

“Recreational prospecting is a great way to introduce friends and family to the state’s historic gold regions and the enjoyment of searching for gold using metal detectors or hand tools like sieves and pans – and it could result in a discovery or just good fun.”

“Buying a miner’s right for $27 could be the best investment you ever make!”

/Public Release. View in full here.