“We hit paydirt!”

Some may know it as a common catchphrase that means something very good and fortunate has managed to happen to them. But where exactly does that phrase “hitting paydirt” come from though? Well, first we need to know what precisely paydirt is.

Paydirt is a term used to describe dirt matter that has enough ore in it that would be worth extracting – in most cases, gold. Because of the extremely high value of gold, people try to get their money’s worth by looking through paydirt soil.

Paydirt is what gets involved when people do gold panning, the tedious and difficult process of sifting through the muck in the hopes of finding gold.

A lot of the time, it is very hard to find good, proper paydirt. That is why it is not unusual for people to buy paydirt online that has been sourced from other foreign regions.

There are, however, certain places and countries that just seem to have better amounts of rich paydirt soil than others, and you can consider yourself lucky if you are a gold hobbyist who happens to live in or nearby any of these places.

1. California


God bless America.

The United States has been very lucky with all sorts of things, booming economies, top-tier musicians, famous brands, and inventions – you name it.

They are also very well known for their beautiful landscapes and countryside, rich in paydirt soil and pure gold. This is why there have been so many various gold rushes during the history of the country.

One of the most famous places for the American gold rushes was California.

The famous “California Gold Rush” started way back on January 24th, 1848. Gold was found by a man known as James W. Marshall in a place known as “Sutter’s Mill” in Coloma, California. When this story got around, three hundred thousand people were brought to California, coming from other states in the US and overseas.

California still has a lot of tourism when it comes to its gold industry, and a lot of well-known paydirt YouTubers often source their equipment and materials from the state of California.

Because Sutter’s Mill was the place that is responsible for starting the gold rush, people still flock there today not only as a historical landmark but because they still manage to find decent paydirt soil!

2. Finland


The region of Lapland in Finland experienced the “Lapland Gold Rush” in the 1870s, and still is a place that is completely rich in paydirt soil.

Although Finland is not as well known as other countries on this list when it comes to historically massive gold rushes, people often underestimate the power of Finland’s rich paydirt content.

Lapland also had quite a reputation for having a relatively short-lived gold rush and is often mentioned as being an underdog when it comes to gold panning.

Rich paydirt started to be obtained from the valley of the Ivalojoki River in the year 1870 – and this did in fact last for a few years. The thing is, unlike places like California, you do not see a whole lot of tourists and foreigners coming to seek out paydirt and gold – it is the Finnsh people.

Sometimes folk from neighboring countries like Sweden and Norway, but again, it’s definitely the local Fins who seem to enjoy going to the river of Ivalojoki.

Compared to other Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Finland has been the winner when it comes to being the country with the richest paydirt soil.

3. Australia


The land down under has been immensely successful when it comes to gold rushes, in fact, it has had multiple. Australia compared to other countries doesn’t have a long history, and although occupied by the native Aboriginal people for a very long time, it was colonized only around 1788 and saw significant growth during the 1800s.

A lot of the reason for the growth of the land was without doubt due to the fact that it has had an unbelievable abundance of deeply rich paydirt soil, as well as massive gold nuggets and ores.

The beginning of one of the more notable rushes was in the year 1851 when literally hundreds of thousands of diggers came from all over the world – Germans, English, Americans, Polish, etc. This was the state of New South Wales and was the spark that started a massive change in the country’s identity.

It wasn’t until the town of Ballarat saw a massive influx of gold panners in the 1850s and 1860s. Record-holding nuggets were found, mass amounts of ore were extracted and lots of blood sweat, and tears were put into swinging the pickaxe.

Sovereign Hill is an attraction located in the town of Ballarat and is a popular place for tourists to visit. It is a replica town that has been built to imitate the 1800s gold rush atmosphere, with staff dressed in old fashioned attire and there is lots of activities for people to enjoy – particularly the gold panning; visitors can use pans and head down to the river and seek out real gold, with it not being unusual for flakes to appear.

4. Arizona


The second most popular American state for gold, Arizona is no stranger to floods of tourists. Paydirt is often sourced from Arizona and sold online too. In fact, if you’re after paydirt right this instant, Irwin’s Paydirt sells a gold adventure in every bag.

Arizona has quite a longer and more complicated history than the other states, with it originally starting out with Spanish and Mexican miners in search of copper and silver during the late 1700s.

Later, during the “wild west” times of America, Pauline Weaver, a “mountain man” discovered placer gold around the Colorado River in the 1860s, which started a gold rush around the river. The river still contains rich paydirt, albeit obviously nothing as much as when it was first discovered.

Gold panning has become quite a symbol for the pop culture side of Arizona, attracting many tours and guides.


Well, there you have it. If you are on a quest to find precious rich paydirt, you are lucky if you happen to reside in the United States: California and Arizona appear to be your best bet, as well as Alaska.

Aussies are lucky to have a tourist attraction in Ballarat, recreating the scene of the old gold Victorian gold rush – a dream for any panning hobbyist. Finland looks promising too, as an underrated Scandinavian location for those up North.

Wherever you may be, it is always fun to get out a pan and start looking for some gold. You never know, it could bring amazing fortune to your life…