Australia has some of the largest deposits of crystals, nodes, and mineralised rock in the world. Some of the more common finds are amethyst, sapphire, crystal, and quartz, among others. They’re mostly found in geode rock scattered throughout the country.
Geodes are rounded hollow rock structures that contain mineralised content within their cavity. Once you crack open one of these spherical rocks, the display of beautiful glittering layers embeds in the body. They’re formed within volcanic or sedimentary rock when groundwater seeps into the rocks and bubbles the minerals inside. Over time, the minerals harden within the rock and form the crystalised lining we know as geodes today.
The value of these shiny stones varies and is determined by the type of crystal inside, how rare it is, and its size. This presents an exciting opportunity for geode hunters to form an extensive rock collection or to sell them off for some extra money.
Geode hunting has become a hobby for many enthusiasts and geologists alike, and interest has grown because people want to participate in discovering the nation’s geographical history. If you plan on joining the hunt, then there are several key factors you should be aware of that can help you get started.
Here’s a guide to planning for your geode expedition:
Where To Hunt
Australia is a treasure trove for geode hunters and travellers because there are plenty of sites around the country to choose from. Each of these sites can contain a variety of unique stones where the potential of finding something unique and valuable is always present.
One of the most useful tips when geode hunting is to start at the remote or rural areas of Australia. This is due to these areas being undisturbed by construction and development, which would mean a higher chance of having their original rock formations intact.
Some of the best places include:
- Crystal Caves near Cairns for crystal
- Killiecrankie Bay in Tasmania for topaz
- Inverell in New South Wales for sapphire
- Hearts Range in Northern Territory for garnet
- Oberon in New South Wales for gold
- Macquarie and Cudgegong Rivers in New South Wales for ruby
- Broken Hill in New South Wales for amethyst
Keep in mind that Australia has designated general permission areas for fossicking geodes and other precious gems. To stay on the legal side of things, always make sure the area you’re hunting is open for public access and doesn’t fall on private or protected lands.
How To Hunt
No two hunters and miners are alike, so searching for geodes and gems might be different for everyone. The way to hunt is also dependent on the surrounding environment of where you do and you need to protect yourself from the element.
As a common practice, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable yet rugged clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. This is because geode hunting is essentially digging through mud, rock, caves, wetlands, mountains, and rivers. The clothes can include cargo pants, leather gloves, and water-resistant boots. If you’re exploring underground or in mountains and caves, make sure you wear a hard hat and goggles to protect your head and face. Also, bring a torch for visibility.
For the hunt itself, most often miners will use a magnifying glass to search for the rounded geode-shaped rocks. Once a possible geode rock is found, you can break it open to look at the contents inside. For smaller rocks, you can use a rock hammer to chisel and chip away rock to hopefully find a gem.
You may want to use a spade to loosen and separate rocks so you can search them one by one. This can also eliminate the need for digging with your hands in unfavourable habitats such as swamps, cold rivers, and deserts. A newspaper or plastic bag will come in handy if you do manage to find any precious stone and want to store and preserve its pristine condition.
Geode hunting is becoming a favoured pastime for rock hunters and Australia is the perfect place to start. There are numerous areas available for you to try your luck in mining some true hidden gems. The most ideal locations are concentrated around rural and ‘off the beaten track’ territories.
These areas include rivers, caves, and rock formations that are open to the public and don’t sit on unauthorised lands. You can become a successful geode hunter by using the suitable equipment, tools, and traditional methods preferred by previously fortunate hunters. With time, luck, and commitment, your search for geodes in Australia can prove fruitful.