Fossicking is allowed in most NSW State forests with a permit.
You can apply for a 12-month state-wide permit from Forestry Corporation online for $27.50 including GST. This allows small-scale fossicking for recreational, tourism or educational purposes in State forests.
A single permit may cover a family group with a maximum of 5 people covered by a permit (2 adults and 3 children under 18 years of age).
If you are fossicking in a group or club, each member/ family group must hold a permit. Alternatively, clubs may apply through the Forest Permit – organised activities system for a permit to cover single events.
More about Forest Permits
Fossicking regulations and guidelines
When fossicking, you must comply with all relevant legislation and adhere to rules about what techniques and equipment you can use. When fossicking please respect the environment and other visitors and leave the forest how you found it. For more information, download A guide to fossicking in New South Wales [PDF].
Where an approved native title determination under the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993 provides that native title exists on the land the subject of this permit, the Permittee must obtain the consent of the relevant registered native title body corporate with respect to that native title, to carry out fossicking. More information about Native Title is available on the National Native Title Tribunal website.
Click here to access maps showing areas where fossicking is and is not permitted. These maps are indicative only and, while every effort is made to ensure accuracy, State forests are working forests and areas may be closed at short notice for operational or safety reasons.
Leases and other areas managed by third parties may not always be shown on these maps. Please follow all instructions on signs or from staff within State forests.
Note: these maps are provided via an online map service. Once you have clicked the link above, use the content and legend buttons to display the map and associated legends.
Before you visit
Fossicking is the small-scale search for, and collection of, minerals, gemstones or mineral-bearing material from the surface with hand-held implements only.
Under a fossicking permit you are not allowed to use any equipment powered by mechanical, electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic power, or any explosives.
You may not interfere with waterways or remove or damage bush rock and limits apply to how much material can be removed. Read A guide to fossicking in New South Wales [PDF] for more details.