Greg and Christine find a new (gold) lease on life
GREG and Christine Clark could be sunning themselves on a beach, enjoying their retirement.
Instead, the self-taught prospectors are battling the hot and dry elements in the outback in the hunt for nuggets of gold.
After leaving the construction industry, the Queensland couple cashed in their savings and superannuation to fund their gold hunting dreams near Kalgoorlie.
For nearly two years they have been combing the red dirt on their two-acre mining lease at Jack's Hill near Bulong, Western Australia.
"We just love being in the outback and working on our own without the pressures and problems of city life," Christine tells APN's The Guide.
"We knew it would cost a lot of money, but we were really confident in our ability and we knew we had the right lease. We were on to gold straight away.
"It was a huge gamble but it paid off."
The Clarks are one of three gold hunting teams currently starring in the new observational series Aussie Gold Hunters, which follows the highs and lows of the prospecting crews in WA's gold fields.
The straight-talking duo doesn't sugar coat the demands and dangers of their work.
"One week you're rolling in gold but the next week you barely get enough," she says.
"You've still got to fight to make a living out of it. You've always got someone waiting and watching and hoping that you'll fail. You've got to be on your toes. Once you open the ground up there's always the worry of someone coming in at night and digging out all your gold."
Greg caught gold fever after using a metal detector to help a mate find his wife's ring.
"I think it's better than a day at the beach," he says. "But it's not something you do once a week or a month when the weather's good. It gets up to 50C around Christmas time, but it's become a lifestyle for us now.
"The only thing I miss about being in the city is green grass under my feet."
Greg was working in Cloncurry when he answered an ad in a gold and gem magazine for an amateur prospecting trip. Brisbane-based Christine was also on the trip and they hit it off. They've now been married for 10 years.
"We spent a month together and we got on so well," he says.
"Chris is actually Victorian-born but I won't hold that against her. I've never seen a girl play sport like her."
The self-taught prospecting duo is considering offering guided gold hunting tours to the public in response to interest from the show.
"People would come out for seven or 10 days with us," Greg says.
"You'd get to strap a metal detector on and see what it's like to find a piece of gold; it's the most exciting feeling. The first piece of gold you dig gives you goose bumps."
Aussie Gold Hunters airs Thursdays at 6.30pm Qld, 7.30pm NSW on Discovery Channel.