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Yes, in most states in Australia you will need a Fossicking License or Miner's Right to go Metal Detecting or fossicking. hey are usually cheap, allowing the family to get into this hobby cheaply.

There are also some restrictions on where you can and cannot detect.

Each state has their own licensing requirements.

States that require a license:

States that do NOT require a license:

  • Northern Territory: No license required. Click here for info
  • South Australia: No license required. More info here
  • ACT: Most of the ACT is a national park where fossicking isn't permitted

When metal detecting or fossicking in Australia, regardless of where you go, you should follow a code of conduct.

We live in a beautiful country and need to take care of it.

Some basic rules should be followed, including:


As with other sports and hobbies, there is a code of conduct you must adhere to when metal detecting. Below are the basics to follow:

  • Always ask permission if you want to detect on private property. Private property can present some great opportunities but you MUST ask permission.
  • Fill in any holes that you dig carefully – Holes should be 'cut' into the ground and pulled out as a 'plug' if possible, so dirt can be placed back neatly after you have inspected a possible find.
  • Leave all gates as you found them. This includes fencing gates on private property, fire trails etc.
  • Do not disturb/destroy old structures. Take care of our heritage if you find old buildings and ruins. Leave tings as you find them and try not to disturb structures
  • Do not detect in National Parks or Heritage Listed locations - for more information on where you can and cannot detect, check the links above or contact your local Parks/Council.
  • Check with your local Council regarding detecting in Parks. Some Councils have by-laws prohibiting this and fines apply.
  • You must hold a relevant permit for your State when fossicking for gold, minerals or gemstones (fees and charges subject to change). Most Australian States and Territories and New Zealand have designated public fossicking areas. See links above on fossicking permits/miners rights that might be required.
  • Remember that when you are out with your metal detector you are an ambassador for the hobby. Don’t do anything that might give it a bad name and never miss an opportunity to explain your hobby to anyone who asks about it.


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