Northern Territory Government

Fossicking in the Northern Territory

Benstead Mine

Central Harts Range Map PDF (130.1 KB)


  • muscovite
  • apatite
  • smoky quartz
  • microcline

There is a large quantity of muscovite on the dumps. Apatite crystals can be found on the dumps, but they are fractured and of poor quality.

Smoky quartz and microcline are present, but the crystals are small and of poor quality.



Travel 63 km along the Plenty Highway, east of The Gemtree Caravan Park (or 11 km west of the Atitjere Community turnoff), until you reach a cattle grid.

Travel south-west along a fence for 1.7 km, and then veer right, following the track for a total of 6 km.

Turn left on to an old track. Follow this track for a further 1.5 km; the track then forks. Follow the older (left-hand) track across the creek for 0.7 km. The right hand fork leads to Painted Canyon Mine.

Benstead Mine is located approximately 200 m to the south of the track.

Painted Canyon

From the fork mentioned above, follow the right-hand track south-west for 1.5 km; from this point follow the stream bed upstream for a further 1 km to Painted Canyon Mine.

Butcher Bird

From Painted Canyon Mine, travel a further 1 km upstream, then on foot to Butcher Bird Mine (approx 45 minutes walk).

Commence by walking south through a small gorge, turn east (left) then south into a more open area. Follow the creek south around its eastern meander, then turn into the major tributary which enters the creek from the south-east. This tributary then turns south-west (right) then east (left) into a flat, open area. The tributary passes Butcher Bird Mine at the eastern end of the flat, open area.