Fossicking for precious stones is a pre-occupation for many people hoping to strike it rich. There are a number of opal fossicking sites throughout Queensland's Outback, particularly Opalton, Quilpie and Yowah. You are able to fossick either in a tour or by obtaining a fossicking permit. If your luck is in, you might find some boulder opal or one of the famous Yowah Nuts. For those with less time, you can walk round specking for colour on top of the ground - the locals call this ‘emu bopping’. Talk to the locals to get some advice on where and how to fossick, and what tools to use.
Other gemstones can be found in the north west of Queensland’s Outback. There are a number of general permission fossicking areas around Cloncurry where you can find amethystine quartz, amethyst, alluvial gold or maltese crosses. North of Hughenden, peridots can be found at Chudleigh Park and feldspar ‘moonstone’ can be found at Moonstone Hill.
Mining activity of any kind comes under the control of the various Acts administered by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Although many miners allow tourists to prospect or ‘speck’ over their areas, you should remember that unauthorised entry onto anyone else’s mining claim or lease is trespassing. Always gain permission before entering an area held under mining tenure. For other areas, a Prospecting Permit is usually required.