gemfields

Happy campers– not raining today

Travellers are by nature optimistic, if it’s raining, well it is a good day for a rest. Tomorrow may be fine. This is gem fossicking country and the rain will wash the dirt from the sapphires making them sparkle and easier to find

Washing the dirt away hoping to find hidden gems

A few days ago after the rain the creek behind the van park had been in danger of flooding and everyone was told to get their vans packed ready to move quickly if the rain didn’t stop. Fortunately it did stop and the creek is now going down quickly. This old couple had taken their bag of tailings down to wash and sieve it.

We decided to stay here another day to explore. We drove to Rubyvale. 20 years ago when we stayed here the land resembled a moonscape. No grass just heaps of dirt. The country was in drought at that time. It is so different this visit.

Plenty to see in Rubyvale

I like the name of this mine

Plenty of water, the dams are all full

Interesting facts

This person has a sense of humour

Camping out back is a friendly experience. The culture is of mateship, instant friendships are made over a beer or glass of wine, when they gather in the camp kitchen for “happy hour”. Travel tales are swapped and talk is of the gems that have been found.

Happy hour for the blokes

Categories: australian travel, camping, caravan park, gemfields, out back, photos, travel | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Rain and more rain…

It has rained for 24 hours and the creeks are in full flow

Last night we stayed in a very small township called Dingo, 130 kilometres west along the Capricorn Highway. It had been a beautiful day. intermittent showers but also the sun highlighting the bush. I wrote the earlier post on Word as internet connection was non-existent, so couldn’t post directly into my blog. How amazing is this WordPress programme. Tonight With the click of a mouse it was inserted, so that was yesterday.

We are now in the Central Queensland area travelling along the Capricorn Highway. This morning we woke to the sound of rain drumming on the van roof but it was warm and dry in Matilda so rolled over and had another hour before getting organized. I only planned to go as far as Emerald so waited to see if the rain would stop, but it didn’t, in fact it became heavier. How different the scenery is in the rain.

This is coal mining country. Blackall  oops that should be Blackwater, is the coal capital of Australia. The road ran along side the rail line most of the day and we saw countless long, long, extra long trains going in both directions. (we also heard them last night in the Dingo caravan park!!!) From Blackwater to the port of Gladstone. Then back to Blackwater for another load. I counted one and it had 99 wagons with a diesel engine at the front and another one half way along. I also checked the length of one stationary train as we drove by and it was 1.5 kilometres from end to end. It was still raining so did not get any photos.

The road was busy with trucks and big 4 WD Utes and work vehicles speeding by little old Matilda in a cloud of spray. Our wind screen wipers working to the max. But it was a good undulating road and we arrived in Emerald by 1-30pm, still raining. The town was busy and quite confusing street layout, we circled around looking for the tourist information office. Finally, after first stopping to top up our energy levels with a chinese lunch, we found it. This time leaving accommodation to luck did not work as a large, week-long Ag Fest was on and the towns accommodation was booked out…

OK, plan B, we drove on to the gemfields another 60 kilometres west. First I rang to check availability and managed to secure the last powered site in Sapphire. Blue Gem caravan park is a small but friendly and well run camp ground, AND it has 5 bars of internet connection. It is still raining….

Blue Gem caravan park, Sapphire

The site we were on was dryish, but lots of puddles to paddle around in to get to the shower and toilet block….

Horses sheltering from the rain in the BBQ shed

Sapphire is the only miners common land left in Australia and I have been told that horses, cows, goats and camels roam around freely. I hope it has  stopped raining tomorrow and we will get to see more of this interesting area.

Categories: australian travel, gemfields, out back, travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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