Agate fossicking at the Agate Creek Gemfields was so much easier – and more fun – than we thought. If your kid/s (or yourselves) are into pretty rocks, then plot your way to this place. Agates are easily found, in the dry creek beds and even just ‘laying around’, plus getting there is an adventure in itself. Disclaimer: The purpose of our Agate Creek fossicking trip was to give our rock loving son, and his mates, the chance to find some agates, which they did. I have no idea as to the quality of the agates we found, but we ticked the box for the boys.
We found them! Agates, agates everywhere, easy to find and lots of fun.
The Agate Creek Gemfields are south of Forsayth and about a 6.5-hour drive from Cairns, so it’s a long way but you can plan a whole itinerary around this destination, with something for everyone. We camped at nearby Cobbold Gorge; from there, the drive to and from the Gemfields took about 40 minutes each way, and you probably do need a 4WD. You also need a fossicking licence and this should be purchased in advance through the Queensland Government website – don’t panic it’s not expensive, just $12.92 for a 1 month family licence [in 2022]. The drive from Cobbold Gorge to the Agate Creek Gemfields is on graded dirt roads, which were in reasonable condition when we visited [September].
“I was not sure what to expect when it came to fossicking for agates at the Agate Creek Gemfields. We only found a few references online, with not many photos (and the photos weren’t great), so we took a punt and incorporated this into a camping trip to Cobbold Gorge. Now we’ve done it and the kids loved it! You don’t really need to dig and there’s stacks of agates literally just lying around. Pretty colours, lots of stones and not too difficult.” – Julie Johnston
Now this is a controversial heading and topic, just because every fossicker might be looking for something different. We literally hoped to find some pretty stones with the kids, we weren’t concerned about quality, size or composition. So, for us, the best places to find agates at the Agate Creek Gemfields turned out to be around the Black Soil Creek area. We drove down the ‘road’, which was ‘bumpy’ – you’d need a 4WD – and stopped at a few creek beds. The boys easily spent a couple of hours looking for and collecting agates, they also found some clusters of smoky quartz. It was hot, but the trees provided shade and we packed lots of drinking water. You did not need to dig, they were on the surface, but take a bucket to carry them.
After our initial session we cooled down in the car and stumbled across a place called ‘Fridge Door’, which is a fridge door leaning against a tree with a signpost. I had to stop and take a photo and when I climbed out of the car, there were agates everywhere right on the ‘road’, so we spent some more time here. Lots of pretty pink and red agates.
Fridge Door indeed, pink and red agates galore, just stop and pick them up right off the ground.
We camped at Cobbold Gorge, which is amazing! It has a bar, bistro, swimming pool, lagoon, excellent amenities and powered and unpowered sites. Not to mention the gorgeous gorge and range of tours, including scenic helicopter flights and Stand Up paddleboarding. You can also choose to stay at nearby Forsayth or camp at the Agate Creek Gemfields. If you are trying to decide where to stay, look at your options, I don’t think you can go past Cobbold Gorge.
As mentioned at the beginning, I have no idea about the quality of agates we found (and certainly no interest in any monetary value). We did this as a family adventure and for me, the best thing was that the boys (aged 10 and 13) could easily find agates and enjoy the experience. So, if this sounds like you, then I’d definitely recommend it – we are even planning another fossicking adventure next year, where we might do the gold prospecting tour at Georgetown and look for garnets, topaz and sapphires at Mt Surprise.
We went in September apparently April is good for agates too, the rains wash them down.
I think I’ve covered a lot of what you need to know about agate fossicking at the Agate Creek Gemfields above. Hopefully you’ve found it helpful, because it’s exactly the kind of information I was looking for before we went. There’s more information on the Cobbold Gorge website and the Queensland Government website Pack your bags, make a plan and go fossicking!
© I Love Cairns 2023