Northern Territory Government

Fossicking in the Northern Territory

Central Harts Range

Central Harts Range 

Central Harts Range Map PDF (130.1 KB) 


The Central Harts Range fossicking area lies due south of the Atitjere Community, and encompasses the abandoned mica mines of Mount Palmer.

Between the 1890s and the close of the Australia mica mining industry in 1960, almost all the nation's mica came from the Northern Territory.  Most was extracted from Harts Range.

The mine sites, besides providing the fossicker with mullock heaps to explore, are part of the Territory's heritage. The foundations of many stone-walled houses and bough structures (which once housed a community of up to one hundred men) remain, along with some mining equipment. Please respect them.

Scenically, the mountains have a grandeur and variation of colour as well as many strangely-shaped rock outcrops which will appeal to photographers. Mount Palmer, elevation 1136 m, caps the mountains and provides views of the whole range.

Most of the slopes and ridges within the fossicking area are dominated by Mulga woodlands and Witchetty Bush shrub lands. Creek lines are fringed in their upper regions by Inland Tea Tree and on their lower flanks by River Red Gums. In particular, Bean Trees with their winged leaves grow along the upper most parts of the Disputed Creek. Less undulating areas support open woodlands of Ironwood and Whitewood, often with an understory of Erect Kerosene Grass. Spinifex is fortunately not common in the area.

Geology of Central Harts Range area

The rocks of the Mount Palmer area of the Harts Range region are all part of the Harts Range Group which are lower to middle proterozoic in age.

Find out more information on the Geology of Central Harts Range area.


The following mines are found in this area and each has a variety of unique discoveries;

Beware of the many old mine shafts, some of which are unstable and dangerous. Two are covered, many have collapsed.


"Bush camping" is allowed. However, please note that there are no facilities on site. The Spotted Tiger campground situated at the entrance to the Mount Palmer area offers camping facilities. Fuel, groceries and general supplies are available at the nearby Atitjere Community store, along with a unique opportunity to view and purchase Aboriginal artefacts and paintings.

Campers on the fossicking area must provide their own water. However, bore water is available at the Atitjere Community store.

Campers must take their rubbish with them when they leave.

Please remember that the fossicking area lies within mt riddock station and care should be taken not to interfere with the movement of cattle or other station activities.

Travelling in the NT

Driving in the Northern Territory can pose unique challenges even to the experienced traveller, and road conditions can change rapidly. Check road conditions, rest stops and National Park closures prior to setting out.