GOLD panners from around the world are expected at the 17th Australasian Goldpanning Championships on this weekend.

Panning bays, loaded with gold, will be set up on the banks of Lake Wendouree for the event, organiser Gerard Tobin said.

“There are various categories in the championships to suit all levels of expertise and age,” he said.

This year a new event, Batea, is planned, involving a European batea pan, which is cone-shaped.

The popular Eureka Challenge uses traditional tin pans which are 40 centimetres wide and 10 centimetres deep with just one ridge Mr Tobin said.

The overall winner of the event will compete at the World Gold Panning Championships to be held in Poland later this year.

Ballarat’s golden chance lies with former Australian champion Lester Fisher who will compete in the men’s skilled event and the Eureka Challenge.

Registration for the championships are open from 9am Saturday at Lake Wendouree behind Pipers Restaurant